The man with the basil

It was hot and sunny when I arrived in Antibes (typical summer weather in fact, nothing to be surprised about or even mention really), so I thought that an insalata caprese would be the ideal dinner. This is the well-known salad you have all had with tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and basil.

I got good mozzarella from a supermarket but wanted to go to the local fruit & veggies lady, who is Italian by the way, for the tomatoes and the basil. Usually one can find excellent basil plants in her shop.

Not so this time. While the tomatoes were stunningly red, smelt lovely and felt just right to the touch, the two or three basil plants that were left looked more than sad. They wouldn’t make any insalata caprese.

I tried another fruit & veggies nearby, but the basil there was even worse, just some dried stems that were offered to me for free. I politely declined though. I wasn’t that desperate. Those few dry leaves definitely wouldn’t make any insalata caprese.

Should I have to change dinner plans? No!! I decided to try a third fruit & veggies, a very small shop. “Can you come back tomorrow?”, the man asked. He hadn’t brought the plants in from his garden yet, but tomorrow they would be ready for sale. I explained my dinner problem. “I will help you out”, he said and left the shop. He returned with a huge bunch of the most beautiful fragrant basil which he had just cut in his garden. He asked 90 cents for it.

The little shop now has a new faithful customer.

Bus number 10

From downtown Antibes, take bus 10. After 10-15 minutes get off at the stop F. Léger in Biot. Don’t forget to say Merci, Au Revoir to the driver as you leave the bus (the locals all do). Then walk for about 3 minutes and you will find a lovely little museum, in a park, with works by Fernand Léger, including mosaics and stained-glass windows. If you plan on having lunch there, make sure you go to the little outdoor bar early as they may run out of sandwiches!

Then go back to the bus stop to take the bus all the way up to the village itself and find for instance this door that just sits high up on a wall and take a stroll before getting on the number 10 bus towards the coast again. And may I remind you to say Merci, Au revoir to the driver when you get off.

The umbrella that thought it was a projectile

The little boy, I would say 6 years old, had just got a marvellous gift: a huge inflatable ring, brightly coloured, to bring to the beach! His parents asked to have it inflated in the shop (it was a do-it-yourself shop downtown Antibes), a procedure which took 8 minutes (yes, I timed it). The boy then couldn’t get his ring out, he was too small, the door was too narrow and the ring was too big. Eventually his parents stepped in.

Not only children have inflatable devices on the beach: people of mature age can be seen floating around on huge flamingoes. Not me though. I went to the beach with a brand new parasol, anti-uv and all. It was just that it wouldn’t stick in the ground on the pebble beach. It was also a little windy, so twice it took off at great speed towards the neighbours, scaring them greatly but causing no harm. I have now, a couple of days later, learned to harness this wild item. Or maybe is it just that the wind has calmed down?

After exhausting hours on the beach, chasing the parasol, I thought I deserved a really nice dinner, so I went to the Café Milano, to be taken care of by Luana and Davide. There are always other Swedes in this tiny restaurant when I’m there. If this is because there are lots of Swedes in Antibes, or because Swedes are particularly fond of Café Milano or because of pure coincidence, well, that I don’t know. But I don’t really believe in coincidence.