Menton, Monaco & one photo

Are you intrigued by the title?

It is exactly that. I have only one photo from Menton and Monaco. Mom took it with her iPod Touch while we were spinning around a roundabout!

Please let me explain.

My mom is a fairly chilled-out kind of travellers. She is not at all obsessed about itinerary and also she is not very demanding. However, the way she is becomes a bit annoying when she decides to throw everything on my lap, typically saying ‘I’ll be happy to go wherever you choose and do whatever you want!’ Come on, mom. Won’t you help me with homework?

During our last year’s road trip, we visited Menton, a place which was right next to the France-Italy border and famous for their lemon.

‘Why don’t we drive to Menton first and then to Monaco and to Eze?’

Ok, I admit that I should have done more to find out about the place before we set off on A8 from Nice. I could have found out from the internet that Menton was a modern town, not a rustic commune like we imagined and their famous lemons were already harvested in the spring and therefore we wouldn’t be able to see them on the trees.

‘We don’t see anything to do with lemon, do we?’ Mom craned her neck to get a better view of our surroundings. Apart from the concrete lemon by the entrance of the town, we saw nothing to do with lemons!

It appeared that we were on Menton’s main thoroughfare but the weekend traffic was very heavy and all the roadside parking spaces were taken up by the locals. ‘Oh, this is not what I imagined!’, I scratched my head and mom laughed ruefully, ‘Oh well, it doesn’t matter.’

Eventually, Avenue de Sospel, on which we were travelling on, ended at the junction with Avenue Carnot, and we had to make a decision. ‘Mom, we are heading to Monaco now.’

Please don’t ask what we saw at Monaco.

Because we hardly saw anything other than road signs and endless underpasses!

It happened very quickly but I missed an exit at a roundabout near the city entrance and as a result, we ended up travelling on a one way system which led us away from the city.

‘We were in Monaco without seeing the place!’

The only thing we could do was to laugh at ourselves and learn from the mistake…

P.S. I’ve found a photo of subterranean Monaco from my photo album! Mom must have taken it while we were speeding away from the city…

LOL

Change of plan

I’ve decided to write about my “mother & daughter road trip” more intermittently.

Even though I do enjoy remembering about my precious time with my mother and writing it up really help to recall it in detail, sticking to it exclusively also has some cons, such as lacking spontaneity and making it more like a school essay. One should enjoy writing without any inhibition, right?

The entries may be short and the subjects may be trivial. Still, I should record them if I think they are worthy. At the end of the day, it’s my blog and I should do what I like with it!

You will see more of Bella as well…

Bella and I are at home since last Wednesday. I’ve been struck off with this horrible cold (lots of snot and chest clearly coughs) and she ends up being under house arrest because of me.

I miss a quiet meal time and a decent night sleep…

Kaori Creative Knitwear

So what has changed?

I am very sorry about neglecting my blog for a long time. I had been feeling guilty about it every single day but my mind was clouded by many unhappy news, domestic and international, and I was mainly living in the autopilot mode.

However, I re-examined my feeling towards the current climate after witnessing the screaming match between MPs in the House of Common. I realised my strong hostility towards the pro-Brexit voters, which I harboured since that fateful summer day, was not entirely a right thing.

During the past three years, I secretly hoped that one day we all would come to our senses and find a solution to this mess together. The solution to patch up the differences and rebuilt the nation as one. Sadly, my hope is dashed so far.

We should sit down together and talk properly and sincerely…

One Saturday afternoon, Hubbie and I had an early dinner at a pub in Dungeness. The pub had a large window and on a wall by the window, there was a large England flag displayed. As Hubbie ferried a glass of Diet Coke to our table, he shrugged his shoulder and muttered, ‘I bet they voted for the Brexit.’

Half way through dinner, I opened up to Hubbie, ‘This Brexit business is like a sectarian conflict, isn’t it? I don’t think it is ok to be like this.’ He looked up from the plate and nodded, ‘Yup, I agree.’

It can’t be right to scorn or discredit each other only because we don’t share the same opinion. However, feelings associated with the Brexit seem to be so raw and basic, and as a result, they bring out the strongest emotion amongst us.

This isles will turn to a no man’s land if we don’t find a solution…

Would it be ok for me to hate those diners, who sat by the England flag and tucked in their dinner, if they voted for the Brexit?

My answer is “No”.

It is true that we have our differences, but those differences should never be a border wall which separates us. Instead of shouting to each other and wagging fingers with hatred, can we approach calmly and discuss our differences in a civilised manner? A proper, constructive and sincere conversation is what we need.

Hate and scorn will never solve problems. But love and respect will. I will try to love my neighbour so why don’t you give it a go too?

Museé Picasso Antibes

One of the reasons why we decided to visit Antibes was because the town had an association with Pablo Picasso.

He moved to Côte d’Azur from Paris in 1946 with his then muse, Françoise Gilot and he spent his next ten years in French Riviera.

This is a portrait of Françoise. Picasso created a series of paintings and lithographs of her as La femme-fleur – a flower-woman.

When Picasso, then 61 started a relationship with Françoise was just 21.

Even though Picasso once described a period he spent with Françoise in Antibes as “La Joie de Vivre”, her account of life with him was not so rosy. She recorded in her memoir, “Life with Picasso”, which was published in 1964, their stimulating but also tumultuous life together.

On the wall of the Musée Picasso…

A stone structure which overlooked the Mediterranean Sea was originally a Roman fort and in the 14th Century, it was rebuilt as a residence of Monaco’s ruling family, the Grimaldi.

The stronghold of the royal family became Antibes’s town hall in the early 18th Century and from 1925, the place was called the Grimaldi Museum, housing archaeological artefacts.

During the late summer of 1946, Picasso arrived to the town and he was invited to use the former guard’s hall on the second floor as his studio. Even though his stay wasn’t lengthy – only two months, he produced 23 paintings and 44 drawings.

In the studio, Picasso worked mainly in the night while Françoise stayed in their abode in Golfe-Juan which was 5.5km away from Antibes.

When Picasso was leaving, he donated all the works he created during his stay in Antibes to the museum on one condition that the works would remain in the museum permanently.

I found the gallery space very relaxed and intimate.

The amount of the exhibits may not be abundant like the one in Paris. However, the space was very unique because it was where the famous occupant created more than a few of his iconic works.

Picasso must have looked out of the window and saw the same scenery.

Picasso, he is an enigma…

His vision, his creativity, his personality, everything about him is a mystery to me.

A man with an insatiable thirst for self-expression. That is Pablo Picasso.

Now, let’s go and find the old town centre where Picasso and his friends must have had seen and lived…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Antibes & Parking

Our next destination was a town called Antibes.

We left Aix-en-Provence after breakfast and took A8. The sky was a little overcast but we were grateful because it was not raining.

As I mentioned before, the general weather in France during our holiday last year was volatile to say the least. In Northern France especially, they had lots of flooding and also sudden hails brought about lots of damage to the vineyards in Southern France. During our last night at Aix-en-Provence, we heard through an open window, the rain drops hitting the leaves of the lime trees lining the street while watching an evening news. ‘Oh god! Look mom!!’ The scene on TV was extraordinary – the flash flooding causing havoc to Paris metro! The murky water was gushing into the entrance of the station and some of the unfortunate passengers who caught up in the event were taking off their shoes and trudging up the stairs. Mom and I both agreed that we were very lucky regarding the weather so far.

As we got nearer to Saint-Tropez, the passing vegetation changed to palm trees…

We came off A8 at Les Moulins and followed D35 towards Antibes. At one of the roundabouts along the route, we saw a rotunda-like apartment building…

It’s so 60’s like, don’t you agree? A very groovy looking building. I liked it very much.

Locating the entrance to a public car park was a little troublesome. We ended up driving around aimlessly along maze-like streets…

Eventually, we managed to untangle ourselves from the labyrinth and found the approach to the underground car park.

The car was parked at a bay number, 2082!

Mom and I were very happy to be out of the maze…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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