Photos and Text by Emily Benson-Scott
One of the ways I know I’ve begun to feel at home in a place is that I start my jogging routine. When I say routine, I don’t mean really mean routine in the every day sense, I just mean being able to finally execute the idea of a run rather than just map it out in my head. Normally, my “routine” of running in Brooklyn is to jump on my treadmill a few times a week while watching Food Network videos, aka food porn, to dream about how much more I’m going to be able to cook and eat when I finish my loathesome workout. But on the Riviera, running feels like an exercise of prostration before a god, a willing sacrifice to worship the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. I pant and sweat and my heart pounds ominously fast but I love every minute of it. I start out around 8am. Well I’ve only done this twice, but for me twice is as close as I get to establishing a routine. In any case, I start out at 8 and gallop down the 600 stairs to the sea. On the way I’m so mesmerized I usually stop and take photos like the ones below:
View of Mediterranean from stairs
When I get to the beach there’s a choice to take the coastal path to Monaco or around Cap Martin and on to Carnoles. I always (twice) take the one around Cap Martin because it’s longer, and the views more dramatic. Jogging on this path in the morning feels like waking up to a new lover, caressing their curves, the gentle sound of the surf like their languid stirrings as they slowly wake to the morning light. The path follows a cliff overlooking the sea and tightly hugs the coast as pictured below :
Like a new lover, the path feels dangerous with many sheer drops to the sea, both alluring and lethal.
There are also tons of steps along the path like the ones pictures below which make for an especially challenging run. It’s far too expensive to rent a car for three months, so we go without one for the duration of the summer. We take some trains and buses, but mostly we walk. Trying to walk everywhere on the Riviera sometimes seems like being on a Stairmaster for an eternity.
Finally cresting the tip of Cap Martin is an exhilarating feeling. Suddenly, Menton and Italy spring into view, and I continue through Carnoles and along the cheerfully sleepy boardwalk of Menton, the festive expectant tables brightly eager for customers.