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Watch Out for the Curveballs – Part Twelve

Watch Out for the Curveballs

 

Copyright © Robert L J Borg 2017

Part Twelve

 

An ambulance has been booked by reception for 10am Friday August 18, 2017 to take me home – not a moment too soon.

I’ve made a few of friends here, and I will certainly miss some of the nurses, orderlies, and physio therapists. All have been very kind and supportive, and surprisingly they also possessed a great sense of humour.

As for the friends I can honestly say that only three stand out. Francois, my current room-mate, who although, according to his name bracelet, is two years younger than me [he shares the same birth day and month as cousin, Ron: 15th May] looks as though he is ten years older. He is a pretty sick man and I feel pretty lucky what I had was only a hip replacement. I didn’t ask him what his problem had been, but he had a scar three times longer than mine running down the front of his chest, and he was obliged to wear a urinary catheter – poor sod. He and I got on quite well together. He certainly was tidier than Tomas, although his hygiene standards left a lot to be desired, which surprised me considering his condition. I would have thought that someone in his state of health would ensure to wash his hands every time he went to the loo, but I never saw him carry out such an important function. Nor did he ever use the hand cleansers that were dotted on the walls of the centre, including by the door of our little room.

On the subject of the room, number 127, it was located on the first floor literally opposite the lift. The room itself consisting of two beds, two desks with chairs, one armchair, two wardrobes and two TVs, had a very effective air conditioner [thank God] and two large windows. More often than not we would have one of the windows open which upset the air conditioner and one of the nurses who thought what we were doing was not environmentally friendly.

    

On the doors of every room was a nautical picture which made the corridors really pleasant. Ours was two sailing boats:

The second friend was Michel, a delightful old man in his late 80’s whose room I shall certainly be requesting [if available] when I next get admitted. It is a small single room located close to the main front terrace with a fabulous landscape view beyond Biot. He tells me he lives in the village of Malaussene located high in the hills behind Nice. By the sound of it you need a sturdy donkey or a 4X4 to negotiate the roads up to it. From what he says he has lived there most his life. By all accounts his presence at the centre was due to his hip breaking unexpectedly while he was gardening. He had some interesting stories to tell, but with my limited French and his mountain man accent they were somewhat hard to decipher.

Yesterday was August 15, 2017. It was a public holiday due to a religious day – which is amusing as France always professes to be a lay country, but when it comes to Christian holidays they’re up the front to celebrate them. Needlesstosay, as a public holiday everyone was away [no physio] except the domestic staff, who eventually showed up to clean the room at around 11.50am. Seeing the same cleaner in the restaurant later at lunch time dishing out people’s meals I silently prayed she had washed her hands after seeing them around the rim of our toilet!

Anyway, as usual I’m changing the subject. So going back to Michel, I walked by his room and stopped to chat to Nurse Coo Coo who was handing out medications. Michel invited me in and was grateful when I accepted. He was seated at his chair so I lowered myself onto the bed, which made a farting sound as I did so – he giggled and said it was an air mattress. I followed through by saying what a bit of luck – he could always blame the bed should he let one slip if he had company.

Not being very pious I had no idea what the religious festival being celebrated was, however as a keen historian and writer the only significance the 15th August had for me was the invasion of southern France, code-named “Operation Dragoon” in 1944. Michel told me he was fourteen years old at the time and still remembers it as though it were yesterday. It truly must have been a frightening and memorable day. For me personally, I am excited at the prospect of seeing my book “Dragoon Serenade” being released on October 26, 2017. The story is set in France during this time. If you’re interested you can read the blurb on my pen name’s blog at: https://louiserobertsromance.wordpress.com/dragoon-serenade/

So onto Pierre – a character larger than life and such a comedian, that without his sense of humour would have made my life at the rehab centre unbearable. We sat next to each other at meal times, with Michel sitting opposite me and the dreaded Tomas opposite Pierre. Francois sat at a nearby table next to Michel in the company of three women. Pierre was [is] everyone’s friend, but especially with Michel, and despite his bravado and good humour at breakfast today [17th August], when he said if he had a black arm band he would be wearing it, because this morning Michel would be leaving the centre to return home, you could sense that he was genuinely saddened to see Michel’s impending departure. Perhaps his light comment was more serious than he let on.

Since the end of last week Pierre had been teasing Michel saying how the village band would be in the streets welcoming him back with a fanfare of trumpets and trombones. Flags would be flying and people would be waving at him from their windows. During lunch yesterday the entire tableau had me in tears from sheer amusement generated by my three dining companions.

The main meal consisted of white haricot beans [Heinz style but without the yummy tomato sauce], a grilled pork steak, and some green beans cooked in curry.

Michel looked at his plate then at us and out of character announced that who would need trombones – after eating this lot I would be making my own music!

On the other small table Tomas was cutting at the meat so vigorously that the entire table was shaking so badly it was as though we were in the middle of an earthquake. Pierre on the other hand had stabbed at the piece of meat with his fork and with his knife was cutting a small hole in its middle with the precision that would make any surgeon proud of his cutting technique. Then placing the blade through the newly made hole he lifted the meat well off the plate, and declared that the soles of his shoes were tenderer than this piece of merde! Actually I don’t know what he was on about, as I found the meat the tastiest thing on the plate. The only problem was by the time you cut away the bone and fat there was no more than two small mouthfuls.

Ironically I have an appointment at 2.45pm today with the dieticians – they don’t know what they are in for. I shall divulge the outcome later on in this little memoir. Before I see them however, I will be visiting reception to get my discharge papers, medical file, and most importantly the return of my cheque. I also need to pay them for my phone line.

The ambulance has been booked for 10am to take me home tomorrow Friday 18th August – it can’t come soon enough. Meanwhile I’ve just checked my watch – it’s 11.40am better make my way downstairs and see what delights the kitchen is dishing up today!

Lunch was oddly enough quite edible except perhaps for the starter: Cucumber sliced finely and floating in milk – sorry “crème” – to my eyes it was still more like milk. Adding some mayonnaise improved it a bit, but I shan’t be serving it up at any dinner party I might have!

Nothing is ever plain sailing for me – I went over to reception after my meal and paid my dues. They returned my cheque which I immediately cancelled and collected my discharge papers. My medical files however are to be delivered tomorrow morning when the nurse does her rounds – I just hope she’s not too late as she sometimes is.

Needlesstosay in the mood I was in the dieticians got more than they bargained for, but as they nodded their little heads I could see my words pass through one ear and drift into oblivion from the other. They did agree the yoghurt that is provided isn’t very nice, but that it’s because of the budget they have to work to. What did I say earlier?? I told them it would be better off not serving it up at all as half of it gets wasted. It would be better just to have a piece of fruit. They left soon after whether any of my suggestions will be implemented I’ll find out on my next visit when I get my right hip replaced.

When I went to the physio clinic after lunch with my HP Slate tablet in hand to take a couple of snaps, the therapists were suspicious and demanded to know “why”? I told them that as I was leaving and I had just spent practically every day of the last four weeks at their mercy, I wanted a souvenir of the chamber of torture.

  

Joking aside the team did [and still do] a wonderful job, but apart from offering guidance and manipulating your leg for about five minutes, the remaining fifty-five minutes is hard exercise left up to you to do. All the same, it was the routines that made the difference and the guidance will be locked in my brain on how to look after my legs moving forward.

Thanks to Mum and Lesley who have found a physio therapist in Golfe Juan conveniently located I shall be continuing my sessions as of Monday afternoon next week [21st]. I just hope the doctor here remembers to include a script for it in my medical file.

The daily ice packs have also been a great help. Talking with one of the orderlies about them she told me I can buy something similar at any pharmacy. So I guess that will also be a place to visit next week. Meanwhile though, for this weekend, Lesley said she will loan me a freezer block [the type you put in an Esky].

Reception just phoned for me to come downstairs to see them. Now what? I thought.

Ah! They needed my address for the ambulance driver. So much easier to call me down rather than access my file online and obtain the details that way!! Despite me repeating my street name three times, she still managed to write it down wrong. Thank God I’ll be in the ambulance [I hope] so that I can direct him.

 

To Be Continued…

RLB – Tomewriter

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Watch Out for the Curveballs – Part Three

Watch Out for the Curveballs

 

Copyright © Robert L J Borg 2017

Part Three

 

It’s Friday 21st July – 6.20am. I had a fitful night; in and out of sleep, relieving myself into that horrid bottle at least five times. At one point I had to buzz the nurse to empty it just so I could fill it again.

It was a long night.

The ice bag lost its effect somewhere around 2am. I found that I was willing myself to exercise my leg for fear of developing any DVTs [Deep Vein Thrombosis – a blood clot]. For some reason only known to French medical professionals they don’t like using compression stockings [TEDs] after surgery. When I was in recovery yesterday I asked for one to be fitted and was told they don’t use them until I got up and walked – D’oh!!

A few years ago I was diagnosed with a medical condition known as Factor V Leiden by Dr Christopher Ward who is a haematology specialist at the Royal North Shore Hospital at St Leonards, Sydney. I had first experienced a blood clot in my left leg which was approximately 12cm in July 2007. In May that year my wife, Sandra and me had traveled to Alice Springs to celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary. We then traveled by coach to Uluru a journey of six hours. It was a lovely holiday – but it came at a price: the blood clot was a result of my leg being immobilized for all that time, even though there were some short breaks to ‘stretch’ our legs. Anyway the ‘cure’ was to take a course of Warfarin – not a nice medication, and one which forces you to continually have regular blood tests to make sure all is okay. Five years later, I experienced another blood clot this time in my right leg, one that was 15cm long!

Nowadays, whenever I travel any distance greater than 3 hours I always put on some TEDs, and especially when I fly regardless of how long the flight is. Australian hospitals always put them on patients when they are admitted.

So coming back to the present, as obviously the French don’t follow such procedure I found myself massaging my calves below the knee as far down as I could reach, and flexing and rotating my feet just to get the circulation going.

This is certainly an experience I don’t want to repeat so I may have to put up with the pain in my right hip for a few more years.

The night nurse knocked on the door at 5.30am and emptied my bottle so I could fill it again and then played around with the drips. I asked her if I could get up this morning as I desperately needed a shower and go to the loo – not necessarily in that order. The last time I shifted my bowels was Wednesday morning, the day before surgery. Again I was surprised that not one nurse had asked me the question since surgery of this bodily function. I’m also keen to have a decent shave – I hate looking scruffy.

I’m amazed at the number of patients all recovering from orthopaedic surgery of one sort or another. Despite living in such a beautiful part of the world, there are still a lot of sick people around.

Going back to my request to get up today so that they can also change the sheets as they will no doubt be diving into the laundry basket by themselves the moment I vacate the bed. I was told I would have to wait the surgeon’s visit at around 8am. At this point in time I only have an hour and fifteen minutes to go.

Daylight has revealed itself and it looks like it’s going to be another beautiful day. I doubt I’ll be allowed to venture outside yet, this being day one after surgery – but one lives in hope.

I shall resume quill to paper after the doctor’s visit.

*

It’s 7.55am and the morning nurses have shown their lovely faces just now; and I seriously do mean lovely. Had one of them shaved me yesterday I don’t think I would have been able to control Mister Doodle!! One of them took a sample of my blood. She said if the platelets were okay I might be able to get up. I thought to myself “if you’d put TEDS on my legs that would ensure the platelets would be okay reducing the risk of developing DVTs” Instead I smiled and for once kept my mouth shut – especially as she was the one holding the needle.

Her colleague had entered the room behind her and was patiently waiting to attack my body – wishful thinking on my part; but attack it she did with a syringe full of the drug Lovenox straight into my stomach. She then changed the spent fluid drips with new ones, and left me an anti-inflammatory pill. I questioned her about the Lovenox wondering when I could revert back on to the Pradaxa – at least it is a pill, so much easier to administer and no regular blood tests necessary. She told me it was still too dangerous a drug to switch back to.

Medical practitioners – you love them but you can also hate them.

When the threat of DVTs had been finally controlled in Australia and I was taken off the Warfarin by Dr Christopher Ward. He told me it would now be safe just to take an aspirin a day to ensure the blood would remain thin. The nice thing about aspirin it is a safe drug and if you have to come off it to allow for surgery or a tooth extraction then you can do so without the need of any substitute.

Since leaving Australia early last year I have noticed how the pain in my legs had increased to a point where my walking was being impaired. I was beginning to shuffle rather than walk and it was making me extremely tired. I’m sure it has nothing to do with my new geographical location but everything to do with the reduced amount of walking I was doing. In Oz I was still working, and hence commuting. When you live out in the suburbs and work in the city there’s a fair bit of walking involved as I’m sure a lot of people would agree. In other words I was more active than now, where being retired to a small village-type town where everything is so close, the need for walking great distances has been drastically reduced.

So, as I said earlier in this saga, I got to the point of wanting to do something about the hips once and for all. So what better way to start the New Year than to deal with the offending problem? I was told by a friend, who runs a small hotel in Golfe Juan – http://www.hotel-leprovence.fr/ that she was to have one of her hips done by Dr Bohic later this year and that he had in fact successfully replaced her partner’s knee. Therefore armed with her recommendation I made an appointment to see my General Practitioner.

As usual, before I had a chance to make my request for a referral letter, he examined me. Took my weight: too heavy at 90kg, blood pressure: a bit low, heart beat: too fast at 130 beats/minute and I was at rest at the time [at rest the pulse rate should only be around 60-70 beats per minute].

He picked up the phone and called to make an urgent appointment for me with a Cardiologist.

Hang on!! I only came in here for a referral letter, said I. The hips can wait, the heart can’t, said he. That will be €25 thank you. Sod it!! Oh yes, a note to my fellow Australians do you remember when we all whined about having to pay $5 to visit our GP?

So before I knew it I was stripped to my underpants lying on the cardiologist’s examination table with electrodes all over me while he performed an ECG test. Yup! Definitely too fast AND it skips, said he. Yours would too if all you wanted was to have your hips fixed and now someone is saying you are at risk of having a major cardiac event, thought I. I had told him of my past cardiac events, of the angiogram that went horribly wrong in 1999 – but that’s another story. If you’re interested you can find it on this blog at https://tomewriter.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/pinpoints-of-light/

In this instance however this guy, Dr Houssem MASMOUDI told me something too technical for me to comprehend and then proceeded to conduct a full ultrasound at which he confirmed that my valves weren’t coordinating properly. In other words they weren’t closing when they should because instead of having two electrodes in my heart to coordinate the valves I apparently have a few extra ones sending out confusing signals. Nothing is ever straight forward with me is it? I can’t wait for the future when we all evolve into bodiless beings. He said the best solution was for a surgeon to stick a laser through a catheter in my groin and cauterize the offending electrodes. Sounds too much like an angiogram to me – “No thanks” said I, the last one almost killed me. I’ll wait and let nature take its course.

Having re-dressed I sat in the chair opposite him in his office while he wrote out a couple of prescriptions for medication I would need to buy and start using without delay. They certainly like to put the fear of God into you these people!! That will be €160.42 thank you. WTF!!!

I left his office stunned in more ways than one and went across the road to the pharmacy to purchase the necessary drugs. €130 Thank you… no wonder people are having heart attacks at these prices – I really must sort out my medical insurance a.s.a.p.

And so began treatment for my heart. Aspirin was immediately stopped and the Pradaxa and Amiodarone started; the former twice a day and the latter once a day. I then went around the corner to my insurance broker and took out a policy for health cover with AXA. The premium was/is €59,57 per month, and worth every cent of it [no I haven’t got it wrong, unlike any other normal country that puts a dot after the dollars or pounds followed by the cents, in France they use a comma after the Euro followed by the cents – don’t ask me why, it’s just the way they do things here – they also use it in percentages].

The only snag with Pradaxa however is [once I began to read about it] that once you’re on it you can NEVER come off it completely as there is no antidote for it. What you have to do is apply a similar drug which has an antidote capability such as Lovenox. I used to have to self-administer them in Australia after surgery, but I can’t remember the name of the drug. All I do remember is that it leaves some nasty bruising, and it was the same this time around.

My GP was still refusing to give me the referral letter unless I got approval from the cardiologist. This done I got the letter and here we are…

Okay, coming back to the present – I hope I’m not confusing you too much with my time-hopping, but it’s the only way I can explain to you why some things are happening to me right now.

So, no Pradaxa then… I didn’t get any of my other daily meds either. I expect they’ll bring them later with breakfast [if it appears] – I could murder a cup of tea, but I’d be pushing my luck if I asked.

The Lovenox went in without a pinch – it’s good when you know what you are doing. Unlike my own attempts on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning; the injection has to be administered twice a day, but on Wednesday I thought bugger it; if they want it administered in the evening they can do it. They did.

Hello! As I’m writing this I’m suddenly becoming light-headed. Perhaps it’s the stuff in the drip she’s just administered. I’m going to stop writing for a while.

 

To Be Continued…

RLB – Tomewriter

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Baking Day

Anyone following my blog will know that as of the 2nd March this year [2016] I have been living in the south of France.

I retired from my 45 year career in the field of commercial credit management at the end of January and decided it was time for a sea change. As my personal circumstances changed at the same time it seemed logical to leave Australia that has been my home for the past 28 years and return to Europe.

Although I have been writing on a part-time basis, mostly as a hobby on an as and when I have time basis I have now decided to turn my hand to writing full-time. However with my move to Europe has also come a period of adjustment. For a start I am temporarily living with my mum and elder sister in their flat at Golfe Juan located close to Cannes on the Cote d’Azur. It’s a wonderful part of the world and the view from their apartment is spectacular. The view across the Mediterranean Sea is breath-taking. There is always so much to see – huge cruise ships on the horizon, exotic yachts of every size entering and exiting the port of Camille Rayon, sailing boats filling their sails as they skim across the bay of Le Golfe Juan, and occasionally, as moments ago, a show of fire fighting seaplanes practicing their skills in the event of the return of the bush fire season.

Fire Fighter Planes 002 Fire Fighter Planes 006 Fire Fighter Planes 009

Apart from carrying out a bit of research for my next book and a short blog from time to time I haven’t done much writing. My excuse is that I am unable to concentrate. I have bought a flat but I don’t finalise exchange until 7th June 2016, and I am waiting until I move in before I dedicate the lion’s share of my time to writing.

Until then I am killing time playing scrabble with my mother [a note on this: mum is 91 years old, has limited vision due to macular degeneration, but when it comes to playing Bridge and Scrabble she is champion]. I do manage to win sometimes though.

I have also spent time reading – never have I read so many books in such a short time – I have been averaging two to three a month depending on the book. In addition I have completed a hundred or so crosswords and I have been watching endless TV quiz shows… in French: It is a great way to improve my language skills. French isn’t my first language although I have known it since my youth – I am more comfortable with Italian and English [obviously], but since I have chosen to live in France it only seems sensible to improve my mastery of French.

So onto Baking Day…. As another diversion to keep me occupied I have offered on a few occasions to offer to cook for my family. I have prepared omelette; meatballs in a tomato sauce served with pasta; Ivory Coast Beef with rice; a salad or two, and today I experimented in preparing a fruit tart: a first for me. There were some cherries, grapes, a few prunes, and a couple of nectarines looking sad in the fridge. My sister suggested we have a fruit salad, but I said I would do something better. So this morning I nipped down the road to a local Spar supermarket and bought some short crust pastry then returned home to attack the fruit.

The photos speak for themselves [yes that’s me, Koala apron included]:

Baking Day 010616 001 Baking Day 010616 002

Ready for the oven:                                        Baked:

Baking Day 010616 006  Baking Day 010616 009

Presentation:            And of course, ready for eating:

Baking Day 010616 010  Baking Day 010616 011

Served with custard it was quite good – not bad for a first attempt.

I expect the next time I cook anything will be at my new flat.

It’s an exciting prospect.

RLB – Tomewriter

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Valbonne, south of France – Travel Log 25

I had heard so much of Valbonne from a friend who had visited it earlier this year. He was catching up with friends who own the Auberge Provencale. I thought, as I was staying with my mum and sister not too far away at Golfe Juan-Vallauris, that I too should go and take a look at the place and see what all the fuss was about.

A food and craft market is held there every Friday, so my sister and I set off on that particular day to have a browse and kill a few hours.

Ironically at the time I hadn’t realised the Auberge Provencale was the place my friend was referring to and as I snapped away with my camera the restaurant came into frame [it’s the building furthest in shot behind the orange building:

DSC00236

We didn’t visit as we only stopped for a coffee in the square, but in the spirit of friendship I’m adding their website herewith: http://www.auberge-provencale-valbonne.fr/ Trip Advisor gives it a four star rating and it does look nice so perhaps on another visit we might make a point of going there for a meal.

DSC00240

Valbonne is a small town that is located about 14km from Antibes and about the same distance from Cannes. As with most of the towns in this part of France they are all quite old dating back to the times of ancient Greece and Rome. Valbonne was occupied by both civilisations.

The market and local shops are quite diverse and some good quality products are on sale. Whilst my sister checked out and purchased a variety of olives, cheeses and other delicacies I had a look at clothing. However not finding anything for me, I did end up purchasing a beautiful pashmina scarf for my wife [she did love it].

DSC00238 DSC00242 DSC00243

After walking around for a couple of hours it was time to head back to Golfe Juan. We took the same route back as coming along the D3, D35, and D135 skirting the town of Mougins before heading back through Vallauris. The route is extremely picturesque through some beautiful high-forested areas and as you approach the south the glistening Mediterranean comes into view from behind the tree line beckoning you to it.

RLB – Tomewriter

 

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Saint-Paul de Vence – Côte d’Azur : Travel Log 9

One of the nicest things in this part of our delightful world is the numerous medieval fortified towns which are dotted about, usually perched high on the hill tops of the Southern Alps. Saint-Paul de Vence is one such place.

We travelled east from Golfe-Juan on the main road to Nice (Route Nationale 6007) until we arrived at Cagnes-sur-Mer following the signs for St. Paul taking us inland along the Avenue des Alpes (D336). On arrival access into the town is barred to unauthorized traffic, but there are several car parks available on the outskirts.

As you approach the walled town you are confronted with a large area of compounded earth making up a terrace for petang players. This is edged by a large café on one side and a road on the other.

You enter the town through an archway and are delightfully confronted with a network of tiny laneways and passages whose pathways and steps are all cobblestoned. Its numerous shops, boutiques and galleries are a tourists’ heaven, and you find yourself uncontrollably photographing almost everything in sight. On occasions you may also come across one or two artists capturing some aspect of the town on his canvas using rich oils or subtle water colours.

   

As we walked passed the Atelier Galerie D’Art I found myself drawn by a spectacular life-like oil painting of a couple of racing sailing yachts. Stepping into the gallery all the paintings facing me were absolutely breathtaking. The richness of the colours and subjects were wonderful. The artist, Michel Degav, was on hand to talk about his works and as much as I would have loved to have purchased the painting which had captured me, the 850€ price tag made me settle for a signed print* copy of the same, even though Michel had offered to sell me the painting for 150€ less. I told him I may consider it at some later date – perhaps when I manage to sell enough copies of my novels. His website is http://www.degav.com or should you ever visit Saint-Paul des Vence make sure to call into his gallery.

* The print is a limited edition # 9 of 25. I’ve had it framed [by In The Picture located in Hornsby, NSW – they always do a great job] and is now on the wall in the study.

From the gallery we carried on with our slow walk up to the summit of the town where the Mairie (Town Hall) was no more than a doll’s house of Lilliput proportions across the street from the church with its impressive bell tower. Inside, the church was dark despite the large stained glass windows behind and above the altar and one felt compelled to kneel at a pew and offer a small prayer.

 

On the south side of the town a small cemetery and the chapel of Saint Michel overlook some spectacular views over the countryside. From here we walked in a westerly direction around the perimeter of the town and at one point we could see the Bay of Angels in the distance; the glittering sea beckoning us to return home.

There’s not much more that can be said about this town as words cannot really do it justice; seeing it with one’s own eyes is the best way to appreciate this beautiful little ancient settlement.

RLB – Tomewriter

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Golfe-Juan – Côte d’Azur : Travel Log 8

Situated on the Côte d’Azur and tucked in between the towns of Juan-les-Pins and Cannes lies the small town of Golfe-Juan which is located 25 kilometres east of Nice airport. From the airport take the number 250 bus, which is an express service stopping only at Antibes and Juan-les-Pins before arriving at Golfe-Juan. The fare is a mere 8€.

You can also get to the town by train and of course by car either using the Auto-routes (A6, A7 and A8) or the National routes 6007 and 6098 (previously the 7 and 98) depending from which direction you are arriving from.

Accommodation varies from rental apartments to hotels depending on your preference; there are several available in Golfe-Juan and in nearby Vallauris. Please see the following website link for assistance: http://www.vallauris-golfe-juan.fr/-Hebergement-.html

Golfe-Juan started life as a small fishing village and only came of note on Wednesday 1st March 1815 when, having escaped the island of Elba in a flotilla of seven ships loaded with around 100 horses, arms and a few cannon, Napoleon Bonaparte together with some 1,100 loyal soldiers, landed at this insignificant piece of French soil. Once on the shore he gave a solemn speech to his followers and local fishermen. From here began his march to Paris, which although had been wrought with difficulties and setbacks, due to the loyalty of his officers and his exceptional strategies, these were overcome resulting in his successful re-entry into the capital on 20th March 1815.

 

A re-enactment of the Napoleon landing in full period costume takes place annually on the 5th March at the old port at Golfe-Juan. From there ‘Napoleon’ on horseback followed by his soldiers march along the ‘Route Napoleon’ all the way to the town of Grasse. The latter is re-known today for the creation of essences for the perfume industry.

Only after Napoleon’s landing did Golfe-Juan begin to flourish. In 1862 the first train arrived at the railway station at Golfe-Juan linking it to Cannes and the rest of France. Small industries started to become attracted into the area mostly pottery and ceramics.

In 1896 saw the construction of a port, which is known today as Quai Saint Pierre. Almost one hundred years later, in 1989, the Port Camille Rayon was constructed together with the creation of the Plage Du Midi, and in between the two is an open air theatre, the Théâtre de la Mer.

  New Port

Today Golfe-Juan is a thriving port and holiday destination to foreigners and French alike.

At the Port Camille Rayon and all along the Avenue des Frères Roustand is dotted with numerous cafés and restaurants catering for all tastes – including traditional French, Vietnamese, Italian, and Lebanese. I can personally recommend La Stella di Gigi and La Fourmigue;both have exceptional cuisine, great service and are reasonably priced. And for entertainment why not join some of the British ex-pats for quiz night from 7pm on Wednesdays at the Rio’s Banana Café and at the same time enjoy a cool refreshing drink.

La Stella  La Fournigue

During the first week of July is La fête de la Saint-Pierre, who is the patron saint of fishermen and of Golfe-Juan. At this time the local fishermen offer to all residents of the town a banquet of grilled sardines and wine. Tables are placed along the entire quay and music is provided by local musicians.

For me Golfe-Juan is a home from home as my mother and elder sister reside here so, when I can (usually every two years) I journey from Sydney to spend some time with them, and to catch up with the many friends I have made at the Rio’s Banana Café and the Hôtel le Provence.

Rio Banana Cafe & Bar  Hotel La Provence

RLB – Tomewriter

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Cannes – Côte d’Azur : Travel Log 6

From Golfe Juan take the number 200 bus at the Square Nabonnand; it will cost one Euro for the trip into Cannes. Ensure you get off at the top of Rue Meynadier just as the bus enters it from the Place du 18 Juin.

If you are travelling in on a Sunday note the buses run 30 minutes apart on the hour and half hour. Also most shops in Cannes are closed and only a few gift shops, cafés and restaurants are open. However, on Saturday’s and Sunday’s there is a craft market at the Allées de la Liberté which runs from early morning to early afternoon.

Cannes Market

During the week most shops are open and for shop-a-holics the Rue D’Antibes is a ‘must’ as is a healthy bank balance and credit card.

Caveau 30 is a restaurant located at 45 Rue Félix Fauré, and their menu and service is excellent. Their Menu à 25.50 € is exceptional and comprehensive with a vast choice of Entrée, main course, and dessert. You can also opt out to have a 2 course menu of either entrée and main, or main and dessert for 17.50 €. Note this offer is not available on Sundays and bank holidays.

Cannes is a town re-known for its prestigious hotels such as the Carlton, Martinez, and the Grand all of which have their own private beaches. Also for its apartment blocks, superb restaurants, excellent beaches and numerous year-long festivals, congress meetings and musical performances. Visit the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès de Cannes website for up to date details of events:   http://en.palaisdesfestivals.com

For the sightseers, a visit to the Suquet historical district is a worthwhile trip. It is quite a steep climb up the Rue du Mont Chevalier beginning from the Place Bernard Cornut Gentille near the police station. At the summit visit the Musée de la Castre and the church of Notre-Dame de L’Esperance. The view from here is spectacular. Nearby is a memorial to the heroics of the resistance fighters during World War II.

Cannes - view from Suquet  Memorial to Resistence

Descending from the Suquet using the back streets you come out at the Boulevard Jean Herbert and the Plages du Midi. The Italian Caffé has a cozy ambiance and a traditional Italian menu. I can highly recommend the Salade du Chef.

Nearby there are ferries available to take you to the islands of Saint-Honorat and Sainte-Marguerite. The latter was made famous by the legend of the man in the iron mask being held at the fort – now a museum.

Gamblers will be delighted to know there are three casinos in the town. The Casino Croisette is located at the old port (Vieux Port) next door to the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès. The second one is to be found on the eastern end of the town at Palm Beach close to the yacht club. The third, Le Prince, is located at the hotel Raddison at the Croisette.

RLB – Tomewriter

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