October 25, 2022

Wow the weather! Talk about winter sun 🌞 It's not a myth. It was basically 23C every day. Bliss 👌 I had the pleasure of spending 5 days in Cannes with my girlfriend (Mairi) and her family. Mairi and her mum were participating in a Swim Run event organised by Ötillö and they decided to make a holiday of the trip.

Swim Runs are a niche endurance event quickly gaining popularity. They consist of multiple swims and runs. No transitions. The participants wear a short sleeve wetsuit, their running shoes and socks, and will often carry a pull buoy. It's a sport that is almost exclusively done in pairs. Each pair tethered together with a cord. It's typically an adventure race and much more off the beaten track compared to a triathlon.

Day 1

The first day was spent getting to Cannes and settling in to our accommodation. We took a gentle walk through the streets of Cannes to get a feel for the city. I don't think I've ever seen so many designer brands in one place before. The wealth contained within this city was very clearly on display.

Day 2

Our plan was to take the train round to Théoule-sur-Mer to do a nice hill walk. However, the train times weren't being so favourable in the morning so we opted for a smaller walk in a hilltop park within Cannes called La Croix des Gardes. The walk was very pleasant and offered some nice views over the city.

Later in the day we went to the beach so Mairi and her mum could test their kit out in the water. There's quite a bit of kit for these swim run events so it was necessary to give it all a once over to make sure they were comfortable and all set for the big day in two days time. It was fairly windy down at the beach and I was kind of glad I wasn’t the one getting in the water.

We treated ourselves to some waffles after, so it wasn’t all bad 🧇.

Day 3

On Friday we ventured over to Île Sainte-Marguerite. The largest of the Lérins Islands. A short 15 minute ferry ride off the coast of Cannes.

It was another lovely day! Warm, sun shining and bright blue skies. We started the day with a walk around an old fortress prison, (the Fort Royal), in which the so-called Man in the Iron Mask  was held in the 17th century.

We made our way around the island to a small beach where 30-50 meters off shore we were able to dive down and see some extraordinary underwater sculptures created by the artist Jason deCaires. The sculptures are part of Cannes’ underwater Echo-Museum. Made from ecological material, the statues are hoped to encourage the return of underwater flora and fauna.

The water was crystal clear and a lovely temperature for swimming. The area was cordoned off with buoys to prevent ships from entering the area, keeping it a safe zone for swimming and diving.

Day 4

The day had finally arrived. Ötillö swim run Cannes. 650 participants took place in what was an incredible event. I may have only been witnessing it, but it was a pleasure to watch. Mairis’ dad and I were tasked with being the camera men and (moral) support crew.

Mairi and her mum did really well! It was a tough event. Running around in a wetsuit with wet, sandy shoes on in 23C heat isn't easy. At one of the aid station I saw several men and one younger lad get out of the water writhing in pain after getting stung all over the neck by jellyfish. I could visibly see the large red welts covering their skin. They definitely weren't having an easy race. Fortunately, Mairi and her mum didn't encounter the jellies but they did get a little torn up on one of the off road trail running sections.

I was super proud of them both and it was great to see them cross the finish line together with smiles on their faces.

Day 5

On Sunday we made it round to Théoule-sur-Mer to do a hill walk. It was lovely to be able to hop on a train for a short 10 minute ride round the coast and be at the base of some stunning hills. Perfect for hillwalking, trail running and mountain biking. Cannes really had it all for outdoorsy folk like myself.

We made our way up and over several Cols, including the Col de Théole. All offering lovely views over the neighbouring landscapes and sea. Along the way we got talking to a french couple who were picking an odd looking red fruit off a tree. They explained to us that is was called Arbouse. After some searching we also managed to get a few off the trees. They were actually quite nice. Somewhat sweet but pleasant to eat in small quantities. The french woman informed us that the fruit was only available in the hills from September to October and it wasn’t commercially available. It was nice to try something new.

After the walk we made our way back down into Théole-sur-mer where we happened to stumble upon the annual village fête. We ended up doing some wine tasting for only €3 and got a little tipsy. Probably shouldn't have done it before our lunch though.

We finished our day back on the beach in Cannes with a quick dip in the sea. It was lovely to get back into the water and have a swim.

Day 6

Home time ✈️. For Mairi and I anyways. We spent our last day in Nice where Mairis’ parents would spend their final few days. We did the typical tourist stuff and walked around the city to see the main attractions. Nice has a very long promenade, the Promenade des Anglais, where you can go down an enjoy the views of the ocean or a sunbath on the pebbly beach. We got some good views over the city after a short walk up to the Parc de la Colline du Château.

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