Elevation Leg 2: 2001, Europe


'Something of a blur...'

Nice. Day off.

Waking up to everybody speaking French felt like some surreal role-playing joke. I kept expecting the hotel staff to burst out laughing and go 'Hola!, just kidding.'

I staggered out of the hotel in something of a blur, in search of some little cafe to hide in with the newspaper. Nice is very touristy, so just picking a place at random could be very hit or miss, but fortune smiled on me and I struck gold in one attempt, finding a little cafe not unlike the one I had in my mind. I ordered a salade nicoise (when in Rome, etc.) which was amongst the best I've ever had and even got a decent cup of tea out of them too. Result.

Read in the Herald Tribune that Pina Bausch had died quite unexpectedly which is a great shame. It's been a big week for celebrity deaths, but Pina Bausch is by far the greatest loss to the arts world. If you don't know who she is (or even if you do) look up her 'Rite of Spring' on YouTube. It's remarkable work and commendably out there.

Some of the women in our touring party have opted to get a rental house for the duration in Nice, rather than stay at the hotel. We're here off and on for about three weeks, so it makes sense. Tonight they invited us all down to see their place (dubbed 'Villa Vixen') and to have some food and drink. It turned out to be a really lovely evening and it was so good to see everyone under relaxed circumstances. It might have been the Riviera light, but I couldn't help thinking how clean everybody looked, compared to the month we spent schlepping round a crumbling concrete stadium. Drinks by the pool, good food, mad conversation and a great sense of relief to have moved on from the first city... I guess we're really on tour now.

Saturday, 4th July 2009. Nice. Day off.

Something approaching a real day off, much of which I 'wasted' through being asleep but I wasn't going to beat myself up over it. I'm making a valiant attempt to get back onto a semi-normal daytime schedule, interspersed with the odd afternoon nap.

On surfacing I went back to the little cafe I found yesterday and set about the Saturday crossword in the Herald Tribune. The chap that runs it was pleasant and chatty as we conversed in a savage mash-up of French and English. I felt myself relaxing a little before heading back to my room to sort through some long outstanding chores. There are receipts to itemise for refund and some other paperwork to deal with. Exciting stuff, made slightly less dull by being carried out on the sunny little balcony of my room.

In the evening I ventured out to nearby Villefrance-sur-Mer, to see a lighting designer friend of mine whose involvement in Mamma Mia has bought him a nice little pad there. Socialising with civilians comes as a breath of fresh air after a month in captivity, so it was a very welcome break. Warm evening, sea view, no complaints.

Related Topics


26 July, 2009
Glad to see some normality...
..returning back to your schedule,Willie. Thanks for giving us here in America a one of a kind tour to look foward to,the end of Sept. can't come soon enough!!
25 July, 2009
Just too real
All the glitz and glamour giving way to the reality of life on the road. Thanks foryour insights Willie - just brilliant!
Newer comments    1 - 2 of 2    Older comments

Latest Willie's Diary

31 Jul, 2011
'I’ve loved it. Just loved it.' Homeward bound Willie grateful for an 'extraordinary tour'.
18 Jul, 2011
'I'd agreed to see the Alexander McQueen show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.' Day off in New York City for Willie.
15 Jul, 2011
'It was a beautiful night and I enjoyed  strolling, people-watching, window shopping.' Willie has a day off in New York.
06 Jul, 2011
'The booths, the counter, the old boy on the stool with his gruff greeting...' Willie discovers a special food establishment.
05 Jul, 2011
'Soldier Field is a great-looking stadium and sits right in the centre of the city.' Willie in Chicago.
  • First
  • < Previous
  • 1
  • Next >
  • Last