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Monday, September 17, 2012

The Journey to Vence

The Journey to Vence:  via New York, Munich, Dusseldorf, and Nice

Mary Alice (MA) and I left Houston on September 11th.  Since then we have traveled far and had some challenges.  So here we go!

Our first flight was to New York and then on the Munich getting in fairly early Wednesday.  We quickly located the S-Bahn red and white train that whizzed us on into Munich, in fact 3 blocks from our hotel.  These things do not happen “automatically”. I may be the family photographer but M.A. is the travel planner in charge of planning ahead!

The next flight from Munich to Nice would be two days later on Air Berlin. We were seriously warned on their website not to show up with any checked luggage weighing over 50 lbs or your ONE and only ONE carry-on no more than 13 lbs.  This meant a very small bag only for my camera and one of the three lenses.  The other two were carefully sitting in my vest pockets. 
Anyhow back to the beginning, the flight to NY was uneventful except for the approach to the airport which takes you down the Hudson with the Big Apple on the left.  My camera was in the overhead so no pictures but it’s a wonderful sight to behold.  The beginnings of the new World Trade Center tower are becoming very visible from the air.

The flight on to Munich was good; MA slept most of the way.  I watched movies like the “Hunger Games”.  Our daughter-in-law Sue and two oldest grandchildren have read the book and raved about it.  I, of course, was cheering on the young woman who could shoot a bow better than any man and I liked the ending.  The other movie was “Dr. Strangelove” a classic Stanley Kubric masterpiece about an Air Force general launching a nuclear attack on the Soviets.  The plot is dramatic but the movie is actually a comedy.  The most memorable scene is when Woody Allen (President of US) tells his AF Chief of Staff (Geo. C. Scott) who BTW is wrestling with the Russian Ambassador, anyhow the President announces: “No fighting allowed in the War Room!”

It was raining in Munich, most of our first day there.  Munich customs was nothing.  We got our passports stamped and we were out the door.  As it was 11 am in the morning and we could not check in until 1 pm so we decided to leave our bags at the hotel and see some of the sites. 

We love the Hop-on Hop-off bus for getting a grand overview of a new city but as it was raining we just rode around and did not hop-off.  On the 90 minute tour in the rain I did not take a single photo.  I would make up for it the next day.  We got back to the hotel around 2pm and got checked in, got up to the room and I lay down and took a good long nap.

We were given a great recommendation for a restaurant for dinner, Park Cafe Hofbrau, so we walked there and back and called it a night for almost 10 hours of sleep. The next day we grabbed the underground and headed for Marientplaz where those famous musical clocks perform.  MA found the Apple store while we waited for the clocks to begin and she was delighted to have all that free WiFi.
Holy Spirit Church: Munich

The next day we were up and at it by 5am, train to airport; find Air Berlin with our 50/13 pound bags.  All our concern about the carryon was for nothing.  MA even asked the agent if she was going to weigh the bags and she didn’t even glance at them, nor did the check-in agent at the gate, nor did the flight attendants.  So on we went to Nice via Dusseldorf.

The landing approach to Nice is truly a sight to behold, the beaches, the yachts, the fancy hotel buildings, absolutely stunning.  We were meeting MA’s son Jim at the airport because he was arriving nearby on a train from Geneva.  His wife Sue was already in Nice staying with MA’s sister Nola.  No problem finding Jim (He’s 6’5”).   However, our luggage failed to appear and truth be told, I was more than upset.  For one thing, to keep carryon weight down I had reluctantly packed my precious laptop in one of the checked bags.

MA had arranged for a rental car through Hertz about a month ago.  After waiting in line the Hertz gal said she had only and economy car left as all the others had been rented.  I asked her what kind of car was it and she said it was very "French" and it got good gas mileage.
Citron CV2, great gas mileage!

I’ll shorten all this, the bags were delivered a day later, everything was just fine, and we changed out of the clothes we had been wearing since we left.  Everyone met at our hotel and on we went to St. Paul de Vence, and charming and very old city.  From there back to Vence, dinner at La Victoire and we all called it a night.

Second day we headed toward the center of Nice, had a great lunch, got our feet wet in the beautiful blue Mediterranean, drove on to Ville Franche, and portside city, back to Vence, steak dinners, and now it was Sunday.
On Sunday we were guests of our dear Air France friends Chantal and Michel who had recently purchased a lovely apartment 3 blocks from the beach at Juans les Pins. We had snacks there, went out all of us for lunch, then loaded onto Michel’s boat for a ride over to Antibes where all the big yachts are.

This morning we got Jim and Sue to the train station and waved them adieu on to Paris where they’ll spend about 14 hours and then on home to the their much missed children.

MA and I checked into our apartment which we will call home for the next 20 days or so.  We spent a lot of time in the local supermarche buying groceries for our stay, reading labels in French, trying to figure out how to say things like “bacon”.  We’re taking it day by day from this point on so I will close by saying the weather is beautiful, 75 degrees, blue skies, just how we remembered it.

Won’t be so long-winded next time, lot to catch up on for our memory book!  Later, WW
View from our apt.


  1. Wayne, You have worn me out. Good man though, making room for the cameras. Hope for better luck for you guys in your travel.

  2. Wayne and MA,

    Glad you guys got your baggage back and all was well. Everything you have experienced thus far sounds great (except lost baggage).

    I am looking forward to the continuing updates and photographs - take plenty.


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