Saturday, November 12, 2005

November 11, 2005

November 11, 2005, Menton

Since the weather yesterday was absolutely lovely, Jube and I decided to take advantage of the holiday to go to the Friday market in Ventimiglia/Ventimille, Italy. The market is well-known (notorious, even) in France for its cheap
contre-façon--"counterfeit fashion." We left around 10:00am, stopping to get gas before taking the highway. We saw a sign that informed us of "serious traffic jams" ahead, so we exited at Menton. We stopped to take some pictures (one of them seen above), and then headed onward to the border.

Once in Italy, we had to decide which route to take to Ventimiglia--the high road or the low road. We picked the low one because it seemed faster (a tunnel through the mountain instead of driving up and down the mountain). However, halfway through the tunnel, we ground to a halt. It took at least a half an hour to get through the tunnel, and at least 20 more minutes to get into town. When we finally thought we found a parking space, an Italian man appeared out of nowhere and stood in the middle, shouting, "Bettina!" He wouldn't move for us (and we didn't insist very much, both Jube and I being rather nonconfrontational with strangers). So we tried to get back into town, and somehow took a wrong turn and ended up on the high road out of town! We passed a long line of tourists going into the city, and Jube and I had an argument about taking a U-turn and going back into town or not. We ended up back in Menton, where we parked the car and took the train into Ventimiglia. This was a very, very good idea! We paid about 8
00 for our round-trip tickets and didn't have to worry about parking once in the city.

By the time we got to Ventimiglia by train, we were ready to eat since it was about 2:00pm! We covered a lot of ground and finally decided on a relatively cheap pizzeria. Jube had a gorgonzola pizza and I had lasagna and steak. Afterwards, we headed to the market and checked out everything they had for sale. I was particularly searching for earrings and a belt for a wedding I will be attending on New Year's Eve, but found only the earrings. I decided against a fake
contre-façon Louis Vuitton bag for two reasons: first, I think that (fake or not) they are really ugly, and second, if you are caught by French customs, you have to pay the price of the original as a fine. (I have to admit that just the idea of breaking the law makes me want to buy a contre-façon wallet or something, though!)

Italian Earring

We also bought a bouquet of flowers, because as soon as we got home we left for dinner at Jube's relatives' house. Frances's grandfather was the cousin of
Belle-mère's grandfather, and they have somehow kept in contact through the years. We met their son and his girlfriend, and ate an unpretentious French dinner (apéritif, endive salad, lasagna, and store-bought ice cream). We sat down at the table at 8:30pm and got up from it at midnight. The three-and-a-half hours of sitting gave me a stomachache, which didn't disappear until about noon today. Despite that, we had a great holiday, and are glad that we took advantage of the wonderful weather since today it is grey and rainy.

1 comment:

Karina said...

luuuuuv the earrings! i am having such a shopping urge, a bad move when there isn't much money in the account but hey.
wish i could just pop over to italy, i guess being down south has its benefits!