We really didn't sleep at all well last night; the noise from the road had been terrible from about 05:00. The morning though was lovely, warm and sunny. Perhaps at last the weather was finally on the turn. After scrubbing up and breakfast we were on the road, though I deliberately didn't want to start the journey until about 09:00 to give all the maniac Spiks a chance to get to work first. We had just a quarter of a tank of fuel, and so due to the price we decided to get about €50 worth and then look to fill the tank up properly further afield, when hopefully the price would have dropped.
Down on to the toll road then, where soon afterwards we got a view of the snow-capped Italian Alps before we changed roads and headed south on the E25/A26. This was to be the road that would take us down through the mountains to the Mediterranean where we'd turn right and travel along the coast. That road was so much quieter, and we settled down to enjoy the scenery. The first unusual thing we noticed was that so many of the fields were water-logged, we knew we'd have an awful lot of rain last night but surely not that much.
As time went on we could see that this was a deliberate act as the edges of the fields were dammed and there was an irrigation/drainage system in place. We originally thought they were paddy fields then quickly dismissed the idea. The Chef suggested that perhaps they were growing spaghetti (oh she's such a wit). Eventually it got the better of us and she leaned up above her head for the 'Italy' guidebook off the bookshelf. After a bit of thumbing through, she found - they were paddy fields. They do actually grow rice here, and an awful lot of it given the acreage given over to it.
The journey down to the Med was a delight, the scenery was really lovely, the only downside was that I wanted to top the tank up rather than having to keep checking my fuel gauge, so in to the garage we went - €1.65 a litre! Five cents more than back at our 'digs'. Never mind says I, this is the last day the Spiks get to screw me.
At the 'bottom of the hill' we turned right and headed along the toll road travelling high above the Italian Riviera, and very nice it looked I have to say. I was getting peckish, and just when I was about to instigate my cunning plan The Chef asks "Shall we pull in to the rest area coming up for lunch?.....................Perhaps you can get some pizza" The woman knows me too well!
One thing that fascinated us along the coast was the location of some of the rest areas and TruckStops. They were in prime sites with fabulous views across the sea, the kind of real estate a multi-millionaire would want to buy and build a villa.
Parked up then in we go, Pizza for me it is then. There wasn't much selection and I ended up with a rectangular piece of Margarita, ham and cheese really. It was heated and then almost folded in half before being wrapped in a couple of serviettes. The pizza was just like the little bit of Italy I'd seen - disappointing.
Back on the road we passed well known places including Monaco, which we didn't get to see anything of thanks to the huge number of tunnels we were passing through and concrete barriers. Following our not-so-trusty satnav we arrived here at Camping Hippodrome in Villeneuve-Loubet (GPS: N43.641882º E7.137931º), in good old Froggy France. We were lucky enough to bag a good pitch on this very small campsite. We are about a 10-15 minute walk to the beach set in a large bay, from which we can see Nice in one direction and Antibes in the other. This campsite was selected because of its proximity to Monaco, Nice and Cannes with local buses and a train station to allow us to visit all of them. We were originally going to stay here for about four days without paying the extra €5.40 a night for electricity because we don't need to use very much, but having now had a nice walk all around the area we have decided to stay for not less than a week and have the electricity as well. It has all we could wish for. A lovely marina with posh yachts, an area beside it with hotels and a bit of cafe culture, a beach which isn't too busy, though for sand read large round pebbles, and to top it all a huge fabulous 'Casino' supermarket about a five minute walk away.
It is going to be lovely to just relax for a while, we've earned it.