Wednesday, July 8, 2009
This week Paige and Frenzel made their way into town. They came in on a Wednesday, and unfortunately, didn't stay that long, but we had a good time anyway. We went out to some nice typical French meals when they got here, and I even got them to try some foie gras (which I believe only Frenzel took a liking to). And because it was 4th of July weekend, I had that Friday off, so we used it to our full advantage.
Our first mini trip was up to Albi. That is a small town only about 45 minutes from Toulouse. It gives off the typical quaint French feel. We took a tour of the massive church there, as well as visited a famous art museum there (featuring Toulouse-Latrec).
Our next trip was up to Nice to watch the Tour de France. I have a friend that lives in Nice, so it was convenient for us to take a train up there for the weekend. After spending the first night in Nice, we spent the next day walking up the mediterranean into Monaco. Monaco s its own separate country surrounded on three sides by France and by the sea on the fourth. It also happened to be the starting point and first stage of the 2009 Tour de France. It should also be noted that I introduced both Paige and Frenzel to Pastis as well (and again, it was only Frenzel who took a liking).
After our long walk from country to country, we found a spot to watch the first couple of riders launch out of the gate. We took the trip to Monaco with a couple of cycling enthusiasts, so it was nice to hear more about the sport during its most popular event. Once we scoped out our location, we were immediately star struck by Lance Armstrong casually riding by during his warm-up. We were able to see him 'launch' off the starting block before we spent the rest of the day meandering around Monaco watching all the different riders. It was a very fun day, and Lance only finished 40 seconds back of the pack (he was temporarily in first when he finished). Although I didn't get to see much of Nice besides the Tour. I wouldn't mind going back at some point.
We headed back to Nice after the riding was over and got ready for stage 2 of the Tour/4th of July. Walsh had an apartment on the street the Tour would be riding down, so we brought down a table, did some picnic shopping, and had ourselves a fourth of July cookout right on the street in Nice. This cookout was complete with the watching of Joey Chestnut down 68 hotdogs in 10 minutes. What an incredible athletic feat. In honor of this American victory over the Japanese Kobayashi, we wrote all over the streets of Nice in celebrtory bliss.
The Stage 2 tour was over very quickly. During stage 1 in monaco, we were able to walk around and soak in the Tour. Stage 2 was a blur. The riders had come and gone within seconds. Although they did try to make a big spectacle of it. Before the riders came through, they had all the sponsors drive through in parage fasion (although at about 5 times normal parade fashion speed) and throw things to the crowd. So we caught as much 'swagg' as we could while we feasted on grilled sausage and watermelon. As the Pelaton came and passed, so to our time had passed in Nice. It seemed short, but I will always remember watching the Tour de France. Paige, Frenzel and I took a sleeper train back to Toulouse were it was off to work the following Monday...