Today was tres tres chaud! The hottest day of my Europe trip is here in the south of France!
Actually, it began last night. My hostel has absolutely no AC and the rooms are even worse than the hallways. Basically, when I left this morning it was 27 degrees in Nice and that was a welcomed relief compared to whatever temperature my room was.
I started walking down the main street, Ave. Jean Medecins. It was a lot more alive than last night and I ducked into a few stores. From there I explored the old town and was trying to make my way to the Modern Art Museum. It was under construction, had a very sketchy entrance, and I think, closed on Mondays. I might try again tomorrow…
From there I walked down to Nice Port and walked along the coast. Nice is absolutely breathtaking. I was stopping every couple metres to take photos of the ocean, the coastlines, the boats, the hills behind me, monuments, kids jumping off of cliffs, etc. I really want to take a boat somewhere! I looked into taking the ferry to Monaco but it’s pretty expensive and you have to book in advance.
I went back to the touristy strip of the old town and an antique street market was set up! It was a lot like the one I visited in Paris so I was excited to look through the stuff. I found two rings that looked pretty cool. They also had really awesome big vintage posters I was tempted to buy. If only I had a way to get them home!
I ducked into a restaurant for a quick pizza lunch. Of course, in Europe, you eat everything with a fork and knife (including open-face sandwiches and hamburgers). But I don’t like crusts so my pizza looked a little funny…
After lunch, I headed back to the beach! I decided, because of my pale skin and averse reaction to sunlight, I needed a lounge chair and big shady umbrella. Unfortunately, the tourist department of Nice has gotten smart and they charge for these things. The cheapest on the beach was 14 euros for a chair, side table and umbrella at a private space on the Plage Opera. I coughed up the money, but made sure to get my worth by staying for about 5 hours.
The beach was heavenly! I read my book, ordered the most delicious sangria (sorry mom, I still like yours!), and just lounged under my umbrella. I napped a little and when I got too hot I went down to stand in the water. As the beach got less busy, I switched to a chair right at the water’s edge. The beautiful blues of the ocean and loud crashing of the waves were so pleasantly distracting I could hardly read a few pages without having to stop and give the ocean my full attention. I kept smiling and thinking to myself, “I am on the beach in the south of France. Two weeks ago I was on the couch in my pyjamas. How did I get this lucky?”
Eventually, I made my way from the beach back into town. I grabbed some take-out for dinner and walked back up the main strip. I stopped and chatted with a guy who had a friend in Montreal. It was kind of funny because we were both pretty horrible at the other’s language. Every time I managed to successfully answer him in French, he’d go off and I’d have to remind him I still didn’t understand most of what he was saying. He tried to give me directions to an English movie theatre but I gave it up and headed back to my hostel.
I stopped at the front desk of my hostel before going to my room. The front desk of my hostel is also the front desk for the Best Western Hotel next door. I asked the guy if they had any fans or control over the temperature (negative). I explained that one of the showers was out of order and the other had a broken light. He sympathised and promised to leave a note for the management of the hostel. Exasperated, I rashly asked how much it would cost to stay at the Best Western….
Taking pity on me (and noticing from my scary beach hair how desperately I needed a shower) the conceirge called his boss and was able to get me an amazing deal on a room. I was hesitant to spend the extra money, so he gave me the key to go check out the room first. In a few short minutes I was back in the lobby eagerly handing over my credit card (sorry mom and dad)!
But: I got an amazing deal! A regular single standard room is 110 euros/night in the summer months. He offered me a slightly smaller room for 80. His boss changed that to 75. And on top of that, they deducted what I had already paid for my hostel from the price. So a room that should have been 220 for two nights, ended up costing me 99! Ecstatically I packed up my stuff, moved into my new room, and blasted the AC. Absolutely heavenly!
So, right now I’m basking in the awesomeness of having my own room without a bunkbed and with AC, wifi and a well-lit shower area! I have yet to plan what I’m doing tomorrow. I’m tempted to check out this bus to Monaco, or another cool museum I heard about here in Nice. Though at this point I’d be equally happy standing in front of my AC unit all day.
I forgot to do this on my last post:
Paris Round Up:
Best Experience: picnic-ing and reading in front of the Eiffel Tower and walking along the Seine
Worst Experience: my first hour in Paris trying to figure out train tickets and the metro!
I wish I had known… more French!
What I will miss most about Paris: the beautiful architecture and scenic views from almost everywhere. All the history and culture! The way it feels like you’re walking in a postcard!
Next time I visit Paris I want to… have enough money to do Paris luxuriously! Shopping, eating, staying, etc.