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We landed at Nice Airport and travelled down the coast to Le Dramont just north of St Raphael by train.  It’s a small and relatively underdeveloped place with about half a dozen hotels, a pharmacy and a spar shop.  As you walk under the tunnel at the station you arrive in a square with what looks like and is in fact a World War II landing craft.  On investigation it seems the 36th Texas Infantry landed on the beach here on the 15 August 1944 to begin the movement North from the Med against the occupying German forces.  I had no idea that there had been a southern push into France but they are obviously very proud of their role and the local bar at the harbour has lots of photos taken at the time.

US landing craft in Eisenhower square Le Dramont

US landing craft in Eisenhower square Le Dramont

The harbour is small and there is a small island off shore with what looks to be a folly built on it.  It is supposedly the basis for the island in ‘Tintin and the Black island’  The original book art work  –

250px-tintinblackisland

And the island itself just off the harbour.

harbour-and-island

As you can probably see the weather was fabulous.  Although it was only early April, it was warm and sunny and we did spend one day on the beach – though Stephen didn’t really do the whole sunbathing thing!

Stephen sunbathing

This is just a short post – we’re busy getting ready for France.  We fly out on Saturday morning from Leeds Bradford Airport to Nice.  We’re catching the train to Agay down the coast from Cannes. We’ll be there for three days walking in the  Esterel region which is by the coast.  Then on the Tuesday we’re heading back to Nice to catch the Chemin de Fer du Provence which is a narrow gauge railway up to Digne Les Bains.  There we’re picking up a hire car and driving down to Castellane – for the rest of the week.  We’re going to do some walking down, in and around the Gorge Du Verdon which is the biggest canyon in Europe.  I’m really looking forward to a good break and some interesting walking.  I don’t think it will be much warmer than here and some of it is quite high so we’re taking lots of warm clothes.

On a separate note, the first Conference Post is on Inclusive Learning.  We have a twitter stream and hash-tag for the event – #jiscrscnw09.

After a break of nearly five months I’ve eventually come to a decision regarding this blog and the way forward.   I am going to continue to post on here but for personal stuff.  I’ve started a new work based blog on Inclusive Learning which is also on WordPress.  I discussed the separation of work and home identities on a recent podcast with James Clay on eLearningstuff.

On a personal note, now living in Leeds is great and I’m really looking forward to a walking holiday in France at the beginning of April.  The maps arrived today – St Raphael, Cannes/Grasse among others.   We’ve got the cats sorted – with a very fussy lady coming to feed them while we are away.

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that we had just returned from Nice.  What a fabulous place and it is easy to see why the rich and famous and not so rich or famous head there.  We arrived to a rather cloudy overcast day  but at least it was warm – about 26 degrees.  The hotel was right on the Promenade des Anglais and our room overlooked the sea.

View from Hotel room

View from Hotel Room

The following day we decided to walk round the headland to the West of the town from Villefranche sur Mer.  We stepped off the train and within a few hundred yards were on a superb little beach with a diving pontoon and a swimming area bouyed off from the boats coming out of the marina.  It sort of set the tone for the whole holiday.  Walk a bit, head round a corner, ‘Oh that looks a nice beach’ swim, sunbathe, potter on a little further.  Walking in the Dales is nothing like this!

The old town of Nice is a warren of small streets full of restaurants, bars and shops.  We ate there a couple of times but it is not cheap – £7 a pint of lager!

Vieux Ville

On the Saturday we took a trip to an island just south of Cannes.  It’s called Isle St Marguerite and is just 4 Km long and about one Km wide.  It has no vehicles and is even no smoking!  The trip took about an hour and was quite bumpy across the bay.  We walked along the coast stopping every so often then on the South side found a fantastic little cove.  It was about 15 ft wide and just exqusite.  I swam out of the cove with Stephen’s camera, which is waterproof to take a photo of ‘our beach’ and will post the photos along with loads of others onto the flickr site when they’ve been downloaded.  It was just idyllic and I could have spent all day just taking photos of yet another beautiful view.  The island is covered in pine and eucalyptus trees making the air scented and delicious.

Isle St Marguerite

Isle St Marguerite

It wasn’t all sun, sea and beaches though, we did visit the Museum of Modern Art and the Matisse Museum which are all free.  The Matisse is held in a beautiful 17th century mansion surrounded by olive trees in a park to the North of the city and is worth the visit.   I also managed to get the timer to work on my phone camera so here are the happy couple on the steps of the Museum of Modern Art.

Lisa and Stephen

Lisa and Stephen

All in all a fantastic holiday the best ever!

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