On Wednesday (our last day in Europe), we landed in London around noon, then got on the Gatwick Express train to Victoria Station. Erin had to go to work, so we took her bag and house keys and grabbed an Uber to the apartment while she went to work. Brie and I got sushi on Portobello Road, then took the Underground to the Imperial War Museum, which is one of the more enjoyable museums I've ever been to. We were there for over 3 hours and only made it through 1.5 exhibits (WW1 and most of the Holocaust) before it closed. Experienced rush hour in London on the way back to Erin's apartment, then headed out for our last meal in Europe. Had Spanish tapas and wine, then grabbed some dessert at the grocery store and headed back to Erin's apartment for good.
Views of the Alps from the flight from Nice to London. Some of them still have snow even at the end of July!
28 July 2015
Enjoyed our final dinner at the house with the whole family, including eating a Spanish prosciutto made with pigs fed only chestnuts. Must have been quite expensive to serve that to 10 people, but it was delicious and appreciated. At the end of dinner, for the 3rd night, a family of wild boars made a visit to the backyard, seemingly unphased by humans. The piglets were very cute and were colored like deer.
Tuesday evening we packed and said our goodbyes, then hit the road for the 2 hour drive back to the Nice airport. Little did we know beach traffic would be so bad that after over an hour in the car, we had only gone about 2 miles. We had no choice but to push our flights to London to the next morning, at the cost of about $100 per ticket. But hey, we get another night in Saint-Tropez so who's complaining?! Walked around downtown for a bit and grabbed some cocktails and a bottle of Rosé at Le Tigrrr, an Asian restaurant at a hotel up on the hill, with a great view of the city and bay.
The whole crew enjoying our last lunch at the table outside on the back patio.
Went to the beach again to hike the other direction along the coast, and probably walked 3 miles before coming to the end. Walked past some amazing estates, including the owner of Louis Vuitton, Gucci, etc. the coastline is so beautiful that I couldn't stop taking pictures, and we didn't even feel like we were exercising.
On Tuesday, we went back to the Saint-Tropez market for some gift shopping, but it was cut short because Ollie couldn't find parking then his VW Golf broke down. Luckily he got it working again and we were able to make it back to the house.
View of the front of the house
27 July 2015
On Monday after hanging around the house and pool all morning, I once again showed off my grill skills by grilling the leftover burgers and sausages for lunch. After lunch we drove to Ramatuelle, a different part of Saint-Tropez with some quasi-affordable (relatively speaking) beach clubs. Walked along with beach for 30 minutes or so, then went to Moorea, a beach club where 90% of people were drinking from magnum bottles of Rosé. We picked up our own bottle (€105) and shared a table with a couple of friendly Belgians (who spoke neither French nor German, but rather Flemish, so communication with them was based on the little English that one of them knew). Ended up buying a 2nd bottle, then being joined by Ollie's cousins, who bought a 3rd one. Needless to say, after a couple of hours of drinking Rosé in the sun and dancing, we were all pretty lit but had an amazing time.
26 July 2015
Sunday night we had a barbecue at the house, where I (being the only American male) grilled burgers and hot dogs, made caramelized onions for topping, and Erin made 2 salads. It felt good to actually be able to contribute, considering every other meal to this point has been paid for by the parents and prepared by Gunnar the chef. We had rosé and aperol spritzes by the bonfire, saw a family of wild boars run through the back yard, and it was a great night had by all.
25 July 2015
The first of many sessions of poolside relaxation
Walked through the marchet d'poisson (fish market), where they were weighing the head of a giant swordfish.
Went downtown again on Saturday morning to visit the Saturday market and grab coffee at Senequier, apparently THE place to see and be seen in the morning on Saint-Tropez. All hundred or so of their iconic red tables and chairs outside were taken, but Ollie knew the maitre d', who got us the next available table. Had 2 cappuccinos, 2 cafe americanos ("regular" coffee for Americans), a croissant, and 2 pain au chocolat (croissant with chocolate inside, basically), and the bill came to €40. If we had a cocktail, they are around €22 each. Glad we went, but not a place I would want (or could afford) to spend much time.
Here are a few views of the house from the backyard, taken on Saturday morning.
24 July 2015
Arrived at the Sanna home in San Tropez, met Gabby (Ollie's mom), Carlo (Gabby's long time boyfriend) and Hugo (Ollie's dad), as well as Gunnar and Rohan, their butlers/cooks/housecleaners. Had a wonderful dinner of pasta with Genoese pesto, green beans, and potatoes, plus salad, bread, tomatoes, and smoked cheese. Then headed to downtown Saint-Tropez to see the nightclub-meets-yacht party that happens every summer night in Saint-Tropez. I've never felt poorer or less attractive!
Stopped at a gas station on the way to Saint-Tropez, and even the McDonalds in France have macaroons!
Landed in Nice from Venice around 3pm, met up with Erin who flew in from London and Ollie who drove his car in from his office in Genoa. Drove to downtown Nice, past all the iconic mid-century hotels and beaches that you can picture Audrey Hepburn or Frank Sinatra frequenting. Downtown Nice felt more Italian than French, which was explained to me that it used to be part of Italy until the 19th century. Met Anne-Sophie (the Lyall's French exchange student with whom Erin became best friends), who was out tour guide and got us 3 Nicoise specialties--pan bagnat (basically a Niçoise salad on a brioche), pissaladiere (a caramelized onion tart topped with anchovy and olive), and socca (chick pea pancake). Did some shopping then got in the car after 2 hours and headed west for Saint-Tropez.