Nice is Nice… Nice, France that is…!
Nice Travel Blog› entry 19 of 45 › view all entries
Bonjoir. Je sais, je suis derrière encore une fois, mais vous devez me pardonner, j'ai été très occupé!
Still on a massive high from our Christmas celebrations, it was such a lovely and special time! So, as I was saying last time, headed to Milan to get a connection to Nice, France. It seems strange to me to have to go from Switzerland to Italy to get to France, but that was the cheapest way, so why not. None of us had managed to see Milan yet anyway, and it sounded like the kind of place where there’s not much to do other than window shopping when you’re on a backpacker budget. We only had a few hours in between trains, so wandered around the city until we found a great little Chinese restaurant where we could actually afford a decent meal, and spent the rest of the time just meandering around. There really is not much at all to do and see other than a few interesting buildings and stuff, so didn’t feel like we were rushing through unnecessarily, I think to spend a night there would be a waste of time (unless of course you have a few more Euros in your pocket than we have!)
Our connecting train was ok, pretty comfy and there was a nice Swiss lady in our carriage with her daughter, so we all chatted to them for a while, played some cards, wrote journal entries and checked out the scenery constantly flying by the windows. Everything was fine until at one point the train stopped and we sat at a little station for about half an hour wondering what was taking so long. Then a man came and told us in Italian that we had to get off the train. We weren’t sure whether we had crossed the border yet or not, only assumed that we hadn’t because the announcements were still in Italian. It seemed that nobody spoke any English at all, but everyone was ushered off the train to wait on the platform in the freezing cold at night time and we all just stood there for the longest time. Eventually we all got onto a different train, we just followed everyone else although we really had no idea whether we were even heading in the right direction or not, and where we should be getting off the train…
Somehow we ended up at the right station and then found ourselves sleepy, grumpy, hungry and completely disoriented in the streets of France. There was supposed to be a bus that headed in the direction of the hostel that we had booked, but we couldn’t find it anywhere, and after walking around and around the streets, we gave up and hopped on a tram instead. From what we could see on the map, it looked like a really long walk from there to the area we were headed, and we didn’t really know exactly where the hostel was, so just started walking. And walking. And walking. And then, we kept walking. A million wrong turns and backtracks later, we figured that we had to start walking up a colossal mountain (ok, it wasn’t quite a mountain, but it sure felt like it…) And when you have all your luggage on your back it doesn’t make things any easier (did I mention that in Rome we weighed our luggage, my pack alone was 25kg, then my handbag and daypack together were 10kg… The boys each came in at a much more sensible size of 17kg or so!) So anyway, after a tortuously long walk up and endless incline we finally found the hostel. When we were checking in they nearly fell off their seats when we told them we’d walked up, and then they explained that they have a free shuttle bus service from the tram line. UGH!!! Oh well. Life goes on, and the more positive side is that we’re all gonna be so much fitter when we get home! Sat and had some food and beer at the hostel, settled in and got a fairly early night. Had another random meeting with another backpacker we’ve met a few times already, met him in Ljubljana, then in Venice, then in Rome, and now in Nice!!! Backpacking is such a small world.
The next day we slept through breakfast, but eventually got up and went to check out the town. First we headed down to the beach, port, and a beautiful lookout for some amazing views, then walked around until we found the old town (yeah, Nice, like every other European city, has it’s very own old town). It was a beautiful place, and the people were really friendly. I guess that people often believe the stereotypes about different people and cultures around the world, but all the way through my travels I’ve found them to be wrong for the most part. The people were all polite, friendly, and accommodating, despite the language barriers. Ordering French Fries in France turned out to be a comedy of errors… Apparently they don’t call em “French Fries” there!!! Spent pretty much the whole day just walking around taking pictures and gazing in amazement at our surroundings. Then in the evening we hung out at the bar at the hostel, everyone kind of gathers there cos they have cheap meals and beer is one Euro for a half litre, woohoo!!!
The next day was pretty much the same thing, the three of us checking out the city being massive tourists, taking pictures of everything in sight. Sat by the ocean for ages, it was nice to have some warm weather after the snow in Switzerland, so we just lazed around staring out across the water. More beer at night… Nothing new!
New Years Eve we decided to head to Monaco for the day, it’s just a couple of bus rides away, and you can stop in a beautiful old town at the top of a mountain. So, we got the bus to Eze Village and spent a while wandering around the maze of streets, taking in the spectacular views and endeavouring to find the restaurant that we had read and hear so much about with it’s famous panoramic views. If I ever hear the word panoramic again, well, I don’t know what I’ll do but it’ll be drastic (long story, had to be there!) but eventually we found it and after a draining wait for a table we made it out onto the terrace and sat drinking severely overpriced coffee and enjoying the surroundings. But I guess it wasn’t so bad, I mean, we got our money’s worth - we stayed up there for ages, so long that we didn’t actually make it to Monaco!!! Went back to the hostel to relax a little before we started partying, had some dinner and some wine and chilled. The hostel was having a massive masquerade party at night, and we’d all bought matching spiderman masks that we’d then destroyed with black texta (marker for the Canadians!)
The party was good, we all had a blast and drank way too much, but that’s really what New Years is about, right? Anyway, yeah, we all had a really good night and partied with so many people (I think that everyone ended up with loads of pictures of people they don’t know (I definitely did anyway!!!) and there were lots of sorry looking people hanging about the next morning (well, the next afternoon!!!) Next day we had to change rooms (AGAIN!) and were supposed to be out of our room by 10am. As if that was ever gonna happen! I think that we all woke up at about 9, but there was no way we were gonna get organised and pack that early, so lazed around for a while then finally crawled downstairs to join the rest of the hungover backpackers gathered around doing nothing for the day. We literally did absolutely nothing for the day. Like, nothing. We somehow scammed a food run from one of the guys working at the hostel, and spent the rest of the time sitting around watching family guy, writing journals, feeling sorry for ourselves and nursing our sore heads. Anyway, you get the point. I’m sure that most of you were feeling the same.
The following day, must’ve been the 2nd January I guess, we made another attempt at reaching Monaco. Made it there ok, and spent the day wandering around. To be honest, there’s not really a lot to do there other than walk around, find some bits f the road that are used for the Grand Prix track, do some window shopping, look at the casino (only from the outside, because you don’t actually have any clothes in your pack that are nice enough to get you entry) and take the typical tourist pictures. It’s a really nice place, and man, you should see the cars. The poor people drive BMW’s. Everyone else drives Porsches, Maseratis, Ferraris, Mercedes, you get the point. When we were done with Monaco, we got the bus back home and spent the night the same way as every other night, hanging out in the hostel bar, cooked some dinner and drank some beer.
There’s still plenty more of France to see, but headed to Spain from there, will return later.
So, until I eventually finish my Spain blog, au revoir, will be in touch soon.