05 February 2010

Non C'è Due Senza Tre

Much as I enjoy visiting the Cannes flat in summer, the charms of the town in winter are somewhat more limited. The cooler weather means no sunbathing, many of the bars close for the winter (meaning you can only have a cocktail if you are willing to pay 15 euros for it in a hotel) and a lot of the shops and restaurants do their refurbishments during the town's quietest time of year.

We came across our first fail on Wednesday night. Having just arrived, we hadn't done a full shop and so the plan was to go to Pizza Jean-Jean--a takeaway pizza van in our hood (Palm Beach), which apparently serves very good pizza. We tried calling Jean-Jean to place an order but only got through to his voicemail, in which he helpfully said he was closed on Mondays from November to March but didn't mention anything about Wednesdays. So, the Brother and I were dispatched to Jean-Jean's regular parking space. After all, he could have been so inundated with orders that he was too busy to answer the phone. Alas, Jean-Jean wasn't there at all. Plan B was to walk back along the Croisette to our favourite Italian restaurant, Vesuvio, which also does take out. Alas! Vesuvio was closed for refurbishments. Plan C was to acquire an onion from the Casino with which Mum could whip up some delicious pasta sauce (along with whatever was in her larder).

Nice as the pasta was, once I have been thinking about eating a nice pizza, nothing else will really do, so we had to go to Italy where--surely--we would be able to find some decent pizza. Of course, it started pissing down last night and was still chucking it down this morning. Nonetheless, the plan had been made so to Italy we went. It was very scenic driving through the misty mountains above Nice and then along the winding, coast road, through the tunnels and into Italy. Stop one was the picturesque village of Dolceacqua, full of pretty, narrow lanes, an old castle and an ancient bridge. There wasn't a single other person to be seen and the few pizzerias we found were all closed so it was a relief to come across Il Borgo, which luckily did gorgeous, coal-fired pizza with thin, crispy bases and plenty of prosciutto on top. Delicious.

The rain worsened over lunch and the Italians in the restaurant were bemused by my reiterations of the phrase non c'è due senza tre, which, of course means "it never rains, it pours" (but not in the literal sense), which was interesting for my family but probably made no sense to the Italians. I was very happy to parlare italiano, though. On the way back home, we stopped at Ventimgilia, near the French border, which was seriously boring on a rainy Friday afternoon. The shops were full of cheap, discount crap, fake designer handbags and duty-free booze. It definitely wasn't our kind of town so we drove on home, which meant the sun came right out, producing a gorgeous rainbow over the Alps. And it was a good pizza...

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