It's been a long while since I was last able to spend time with another TGirl but this weekend it happened.
Roz flew all the way from Scotland and I met her at Nice airport on a warm sunny evening. I hadn't seen her since my visit to Britain in spring 2019 and five years of living full-time as female has made her a very confident and good-looking woman. I am quite jealous of the F for female in her passport. Hurrah for living in one's right gender!
As Roz loves trams, we took one from the airport to a hotel in a typical old building in the very centre of Nice, just off the main square. We enjoyed an evening meal at Jach, a Lebanese restaurant, sitting out in the mild evening air, and then took a stroll along the famous seaside Promenade des Anglais and the tangle of streets in the old city.
|Place Masséna, Nice|
The next morning we enjoyed breakfast at a typical brasserie, Maison Margaux, and had another little stroll round town in the sunshine.
|Promenade des Anglais, Nice|
We then took the train to Italy that passes through Monaco. It's slow, stopping at every little station, but the coastal scenery is beautiful. And mobile phones go mad as you pass from one country to the next: "welcome to France, your tariffs are...; welcome to Monaco...; welcome to France (again)...; welcome to Italy..."
|Menton, France, "city of lemons", sandwiched between Monaco and Italy, is a typical riviera town|
Over the years, several previous attempts to have Roz come to stay have been thwarted by serious last-minute problems so it seemed like a miracle when we were actually home and she had unpacked. Living on the side of a mountain gives me some beautiful views over the sea and she loved that.
The nearest town to me is Sanremo (or San Remo: there's a longstanding dispute as to whether it's one word or two) so I took her down the mountain into town. It's a pretty place with a vibrant social life and café culture. It's best known for its casino and the Ariston Theatre (where the national song contest that spawned the Eurovision song contest is held), but there are other attractive things to see like the Russian Orthodox Church, the harbour and a tangle of medieval streets rising up a steep hillside.
One essential thing to do there, though, is to stroll down the main street of an evening, have an aperitif at an outside bar table and watch the world go by. A small fluffy dog, preferably carried in a handbag or basket, is a regular sight, especially with older women and gay couples.
We had authentic and huge Neapolitan pizzas at the Napul'è restaurant by the old fort... and it's just as well the walk home took half an hour so we could work it off!
|Fort St Tecla, Sanremo|
The next day was wet. I haven't seen a full day's rain in this area since last December and, much as the land needed a good soaking after this summer of drought, it annoyed me that it happened when someone had come all the way from rainy Britain to the supposedly sunny riviera! But we weren't going to be put off. We saw the remains of the Roman villa, the harbour with its famous (or infamous) yachts and some of the old town with its steep, winding streets, city walls and colourful houses. We had a nice bowl of pasta for lunch at one of the small but excellent restaurants in the town centre, Nuovo Piccolo Mondo.
Sunday, however, was a more normal day here, with dry sunny weather, so we enjoyed our sightseeing better. There's a particularly well-located restaurant, Salsadrena, on the promenade where we enjoyed a relaxed lunch. Two years ago it won an award for being one of the Top 50 pizza restaurants in Italy, which is quite an accolade. I can assure you the pizza is excellent, as are the other dishes, and the view of palms and seafront is beautiful.
|Salsadrena restaurant, Sanremo|
We don't normally eat out this much! So much so that we decided to eat at home that evening. There was time for a bit of sunbathing on the terrace and then I made a proper effort with my hair, makeup and everything and we ate in and had a good chat about trans life and other things. Have you tasted my spicy bacon pasta sauce with my home-grown herbs and chillis? I think it's pretty good and my guest, who loves chilli, seemed to agree. I'll save details of girl time at home for a forthcoming post, including pictures of the two of us.
Sadly, yesterday, it all had to end as Roz needed to return home. So we took the coast railway back to Nice, where the nearest airport is, and I saw her off. I know she got back home safely to Scotland in the evening.
I feel sad she's gone but I have some very nice memories of a good weekend. And a sensation, too, that life might be returning to normal. More importantly, I feel much more alive and positive this morning as I have had so little face-to-face contact with any close, long-term friends for three years now. Good company is what has always made me happiest.
Next week I have another close friend from Britain coming to stay, so I am sure there will be more sightseeing pictures from this part of the Med in due course. And more positivity as a result - yay!