A 45 minute train ride and a subsequent 20 minutes by bus gets you from Antibes to the Medieval town of Eze. The town’s position and general appearance are eye-catching as you arrive after a 20 minute upward-winding bus ride.
It was my mission, this past weekend, to get my ass into gear and do a little exploring. After almost two months of living in Antibes, I can say I know almost every port between Cannes and Imperia, Italy, and not much more. In my defence, the main objective has been to find a yacht job and then, well, do it. But luckily for me, and something that can’t be said for everyone, I get weekends off. This, I’ve decided will be perfect for keeping my travel blog alive. I had worried that getting into the industry would limit the amount of time and opportunities I would have for travel blogging. You may cruise the Mediterranean by luxury yacht but holding a stewardess position often means not even seeing the sun, let alone the sights on land.
Its super easy to get into a rut in life and living abroad is no different. Come Friday everyone is out on the town, then Saturday is a write-off until Saturday night and so on. This particular weekend, after promising myself a day-trip somewhere, I made a conscious effort to miss out on the Saturday night happenings so there would be no chance of me being too tired or hungover to opt out of my plan. I do pride myself in my lack of FOMO (fear of missing out), so this wasn’t too difficult.
Sunday morning I managed to round up a crew and we (eventually) headed for the train station. Some of us bought tickets, others decided to skip the 10 Euro return fee and ride it for free. South Africans love to take advantage of the fact that tickets are hardly ever checked. But I almost got caught once and that was enough to make me do the right thing from then on. The train takes about 45 minutes from Antibes to Eze-sur-Mer, it follows the coast and you get off only a stop or so from Monaco. Once arrived in Eze-sur-Mer you have the beach to the right of the tracks and to your left a rocky mountain.
Where we were headed was up, up, up away from Eze-sur-Mer (Eze by the sea) to Eze village not quite off the beaten track (read ‘touristy’) which is perched atop the hill on top of the mountain. I didn’t manage to get a good shot of the place from a distance, so here is a stolen one from Google.
As it was the ‘in’ thing to do during the Medieval times, the town is built atop a hill. For reasons similar to why we have our walls built high and electrified in South Africa…. to keep the baddies out. Whats left of the castle at the very top can only be seen if you pay 6 Euros. Included in the price is the opportunity to experience some of the best views of the Mediterranean as well as meander through the Jardin Exotique or Exotic Garden which offers areas of relaxation, history and art. Now, when you don’t do your research before even just a small excursion like this one, you will make the mistake of not paying the 6 Euros and not getting to experience the highlight of the town. Because, well, we’re on a budget. I blame my father for my being a stingy traveler. As it stands, I have to return to Eze with 6 Euro set aside and my eye on the prize- going all the way.
But what you don’t know won’t hurt you and we were quite happy meandering through the maze of cobbled streets filled with restaurants, cafes and art galleries. The fact that we weren’t willing to pay a fee after coming all that way only means one thing… that we felt the rest of the town was cool and quite literally, stunning enough, to just walk around it instead. Honestly, we were constantly looking for a view that would satisfy us because we had been told ‘you’re missing out’ and ‘it’s worth it’ by people at the entrance of the Jardin Exotique where we stood ummming and aaaahing about whether or not to go in.
Turns out Eze is a very popular attraction for the Rich and Famous and I’m not surprised, what with its close proximity to Monaco, its spectacular-ness and of course the breathtaking winding road rich people get to drive their Ferrari’s on. No jokes, we saw 6 different red Ferraris amongst other fancy cars I don’t know the names of. What a bonus for the petrol-head people I had forced to come with me as they got to drool over all of them while I chose to fall in love with the views.