peterbirks: (Default)
I went for two walks today, although I hadn't planned to.

The first one was just through an area of Nice that I hadn't walked through before. It wasn't very interesting to be honest, but the only way to get to know a city is to walk it. I am forever baffled by people who move to London from foreign climes (you know, Lancashire, Yorkshire, etc), live there for five years, and never bother to learn the place's geography -- relying instead on the London Underground map as if it were geographically rather than merely topographically accurate.

 First_Walk.jpg


Anyhoo, the walk was at least good exercise, as it took me up to Cimiez, a rather posh semi-suburb. As I walked north from Dubouchage, as soon as I was heading to the railway tracks the area became less salubrious. This would continue for some time until I began the ascent up Av de Brancolar.

The pictures as I reached the top were vaguely interesting (would have been more so if it hadn't been a day of light cloud).

 view from Cimiez 1

 view from Cimiez 2


I then descended through the hospital district. This is a strange part of town. The hospital Pasteur covers a wide area, and the only area available was a narrow part between two cliffs. That means the route through the hospital is an extremely steep road that has to double back on itself about four times as one descends from the rear part of the hospital to the front part.

I caught the tram back home.

++++++++

In the afternoon I decided on a whim to catch a bus to the new Allianz Riviera stadium. This went slightly wrong. The number 9 bus actually stops about 1.8 miles south of the stadium. I was not wearing my walking boots, just ordinary slip-ons, but, I was determined.

I also took a slight wrong turning and ended up walking through rather more of a retail estate than I had planned.

When I arrived at the stadium itself, well, my first thought was that the infrastructure sucked. I mean, the best I could say was, I hope they don't think it's finished. But looking up the web site, they seem to think that the system they have in place will be sufficient. Personally, I just can't see it.

This was one of my first sights of the stadium. It really is in the middle of nowhere, about six miles west and north of Nice Centre. A special bus 95 runs there on match days. There is a railway station to the north about half a mile away. From what I recall of it, the logistics are on a par with Alexandra Palace, and you all know my views on that place.

 Allianz stadium 1


 Allianz Stadium 2


 Allianz close-up


 Allianz 4

 Allianz 5

I am also not impressed by that massive number of steps. Looks like an accident waiting to happen. When you consider what a great job was done with the Emirates stadium (and in a far tighter space), I would have thought something better could have been achieved in such an open space. Sure, it LOOKS great. But as a functioning stadium, it seems to have made a number of mistakes.


On the plus side, I did get to see some snow!

 Snow in Alps

I then turned on Runkeeper to check how far I had walked. This tracks my walk back. (the Allianz stadium is at the top).
 Second walk

Below is another example of how they have got it wrong. This is the beginning of the "official" walk up to the Stadium (or the end if you are coming south). Looks good, huh?
 end of walk 1

Unfortunately, this is in the middle of nowhere, only about half way down to where the more frequent buses terminate. And below is the view looking south. Yes, the pavement vanishes. You have to cross the (busy) road.

 Allianz End of Walk 2

Here's the road that has to be crossed, from the other side. I really can't see how this will work when there is a busy game planned.
Allianz End of Walk 3

Finally, as I got on my bus, I saw a large number of young types heading towards another stadium, about the size of Wembley Arena. I checked up to see who was playing, and it was this nice chap -- his name is Stromae.
http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/feb/19/stromae-europop-belgium

 Stromae-008.jpg

I think I have seen him on Jools Holland, but he's not that well-known in the UK. Clearly he is enormous in France, selling out a significant venue at £40 a ticket.

When I got home I treated myself to fresh ravioli and bolognaise tomato sauce. I've always thought it rather stupid to call it a "sauce". I mean, that's not really what it does, is it? Although I suppose that in some of the cheaper restaurants in Italy it is more a case of lots of pasta and not very much bolognaise.

Anyway, I was hungry after all this exercise, and I think I ate my meal too quickly, and I felt a bit sick afterwards. Feel ok now though.
peterbirks: (Default)
An odd Sunday and Monday, really. Yesterday (Sunday) I was clearly still exhausted. Got up after seven hours sleep. Had breakfast. Read book. Went back to bed. Two hours later, got up again. Was determined not to slouch around the flat all day, so I went for a walk, not least because the weather was a considerable improvement on Saturday!

 Sun in Nice


I had half-intended to do my "normal" first walk of the holiday, a short stroll along the coast to the east of town, then up 200 steep steps before getting the bus back.

However, as I was walking down Segurane I was tempted by the road route up to the old citadel (not to be confused with the far newer Vielle Ville) -- a road that I had not walked before.

On the way I encountered the new Central Park (Parc de Paillon, I believe). It being fine weather and a Sunday, it was packed with locals and also with police in various uniforms. The plan is clear; they will do absolutely everything to ensure that the dossers don't take over the park. A similar strategy is adopted on the beach, where anyone attempting to sleep overnight (not a goer in March, but quite feasible between June and September) is moved sharply on their way.
That does not mean that there is not a homeless problem and a vagrancy problem in Nice; there is. Cities with this kind of climate always have to decide how to deal with it. A walk along Hotel des Postes this evening revealed a small area where about half a dozen middle-aged men were bedding down for the night in sleeping bags and cardboard boxes.
What the Nice authorities absolutely stomp on is any attempt for this "underclass" to impose themselves on the myth of Nice as a pleasant haven where everyone can enjoy themselves at no risk to personal safety and without having to encounter the alcoholics or the mentally ill, or both.
It's a strange dichotomy. The police aren't harsh on the homeless or the poor; they just ensure that they travel down strictly delineated narrow channels. Thus there is a homeless centre right in the middle of the old town (unadvertised, you ave to know where it is) that does remarkably cheap lunches. There are parts of the town where the homeless are tolerated and allowed to bed down. But there are other parts, and the new central park is one of them, where their presence is not permitted.

 Move along now, sir

This particular guy (above) could have been an innocent tourist caught up in the rules -- but sitting down on the grass to eat a lunch was not within the unwritten agreement. No signs saying "keep off the grass", but a clear indication that there were benches to sit on and grass was for looking at. It wan't a picnic area.

+++++++

The walk up the hill to the old city was mild enough -- compared to the steep steps on the other side. Once again, it was very crowded. I managed to get some shots of Nice from angles that were not normally available.

 Nice Port

Above is a shot of the road to the north of Nice Port (you can see the edge of the port to the right),

Here I am (below) by a musical car:

 So play me a tune


Oh dear. Am getting weary. More tomorrow.

August 2017

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