Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Nice, France (pt. 2)

After getting settled in the hotel we headed to the pebble beach and touched the Mediterranean. On the water you can get wine bottle service - six glasses for 10 Euros. Best deal on the block and the wine was fantastic. For a few Euros more you could pick wines from nearby regions - Loire Valley, Bordeaux - all at prices that were unreal to me.

By the way - some places in France served their red wine cold. Any ideas why?

Because it was Sunday when we arrived nearly everything was closed. A small stand next to our hotel was open and I asked if I could purchase a glass of wine. She sold me the whole bottle for 4euros - and opened it for us too. I was expecting Boone's Farm but it turned out very tasty. I'd open the window and would enjoy the city and my wine. 

Wifi was only in the lobby so I'd also bring the bottle down there as we'd check our email. As we'd sit there, the two main employees, a man and a woman, would chat with us. They were incredibly entertaining and were full of antics. I'm not sure what the woman's story was, but the man was a retired steel industry worker. JLo ordered pizza one night and we brought it to the lobby, offering some to the male. He replied, "My wife would kill me, but I do wish I could eat some." He was flattered at our gesture.

The room next to us was occupied by a female patron who would crack open her door and watch as we'd come and go. We would look up at her staring at us and she'd hawhaw and shut the door like she wasn't watching us. One day, I saw her walking around the city. She waved at me like we were old friends. I learned the male employee did not like her and was ready for her to go.

On Monday we went to make reservations for the train. Although we had the rail pass, some trains you still need to reserve a seat for. The man at the kiosk told us the trains were suspended because of a stabbing. The conductors went on strike. We booked a later trip to Paris, and shrugged it off. Woe is us, spending more time at the French Riviera. We hiked back to Hotel de la Buffa, told them we'd be staying. The man grinned and booked us for another night. 

The rest of the time in Nice we spent eating baguettes (0.25 euros!!), eclairs, raspberry tarts, and drinking wine. We sat on the beach where clothing was optional and went in the water. We went from the snowy Alps to the sunny beach in merely one train ride. Incredible.

That night, a group of sixteen from Texas joined the hotel. We chatted with them in the lobby. Later, they saw us walking around. "Hey New Jersey!" they yelled down the street. "Hey Texas!" We hollered back. 

I think us getting "stranded" in the Riviera was a blessing in disguise. So much of our trip was running from one place to the next that being forced to just "be" was appreciated. The best parts of our journey was in Germany and in Nice where we made friends, became acquainted with our surroundings, and got to enjoy the community, not just the tourism.

A full moon over the Mediterranean - what luck!

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