Nice is Nice

Nice is nice. I’ve thought a lot this week about the crazy world we live in and the senseless violence transforming innocent city streets into war zones. One friend said to me that she’s perfectly content to spend the rest of her life travelling around New Zealand – the risky places she’ll leave to others. She has a point. On the other hand we have very different plans ahead.

Nice is nice because it’s usually very warm in the summer and it offers budget tourists the first proper glimpse of the Mediterranean Sea after travelling overland across the European continent. I have some not so nice memories of Nice. One of sharing a 10 bed dorm with sweaty backpackers. We couldn’t open the room’s only window without the noise of the Gare de Nice-Ville, one of the busiest stations in Europe, flooding into our sleeping sardine can.

I vowed I’d come back when I didn’t have to enjoy quite such cramped conditions.

The atrocities in Nice affected me more than any other recent attacks. I think that’s because I’ve been there on that promenade. It could be my family, my friends, or my children’s pushchairs strewn across the road or dragged under the wheel of a truck.

But life must go on. In the words of the director of Le Tour “we believe that the race must go on and we shouldn’t give in to the pressure of the people who would like us to change our lifestyle”.

Our sabbatical must go on too. We may be more conscious of our destinations, taking more care to plan how we travel. But in the end we can’t live in terror, even if the unknown is always a little scary.

And so, nice Nice, I will enjoy your promenade, remembering those who were lost. We will pay far too many Euros for the privilege of lounging near the tideline on a striped deckchair. Our girls will plead for Ice Cream when the heavily accented man chants about his wares as he passes with an icebox suspended from the thick straps around his neck. We will explore the casino of Monte Carlo, pretending we are extras in a Bond film. We will watch out for medusa when we wade with the children in warm sea currents. The show will go on.

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