Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Nice, France

We left Switzerland somewhat earlier than anticipated. We had planned on spending the night there, but after it being so expensive ($2 to use the bathroom!) and general unfriendliness of the locals, we decided to head to France. Exhausted and drenched due to the pouring rain, we made it to Lyon, France around 10pm.

We were beat. We stayed at the nearest hotel we could find - about 10 yards from the train station at the Novotel. Our priciest stay during our trip, but we were warm, comfortable, had hot tea, and wifi. Life was good.

Waking up next to the train station proved to be no help for us to make the trains on time. On Saturday we missed the train to Switzerland due to Jonaid's long shower - on Sunday we missed the train due to my long shower. We concluded no more showers.

Luckily, we had the train pass, so we could take any train any time. This combined with no hotel reservations (yes, some thought we were crazy - we didn't want to be tied down though, we wanted the ability to stay longer or leave earlier as we pleased - and not once did it prove to be a problem in finding a room or a train) allowed for easy changes of plans. We left the rain in Lyon (Li-yon) and arrived in Nice (Neice), France. The sunshine and Mediterranean Sea were simply stunning.

We walked around town for a bit. We saw the luxurious hotels directly on the sea. A few blocks back, standard Quality Inn rooms could be obtained for about 100 euros a night. We stumbled on a door that read "Hotel de la Buffa," 58Euros a night. It was cheaper than a hostel, and one block from the water.

JLo and I agreed we'd go in and check it out. As we entered the dark lobby we nearly turned around and walked out. I held my breath and asked if we could see a room. Two were still available for the night. JLo sat with our luggage as I went upstairs.

First, the lights in the whole place turned off. I froze up and as usual my imagination got to the best of me and I convinced myself I would be axe murdered. The receptionist mumbled something in French and hit the switch to turn the lights back on. I later learned they were set to a timer, not a sensor. She opened the door to the first room.

If that were the only room available I would've walked out then and there. It was dingy and just plain creepy. I held my tongue although I wanted to preemptively say "Nevermind!". We walked down the hall to a vibrantly colored room.

The room smelled musty, but the walls were a bright shade of sunshine. To the left was a bathroom that was maybe, on a good day, 1 yard x 1 yard. Jonaid dubbed it the "smallest bathroom in the world". He seriously struggled in there. The water pressure was miserable. The bed was comfortable but I tried not to think about it too much, in terms of sanitation.

But the view, the view! You could [barely] see the sea from it, but you could. Windows taller than both Jonaid and I went to the ceiling and opened completely so you could lean outside. The breeze and the sun invited themselves in and I was sold. Many a happy moment in Nice was spent sitting by that very window, watching the world, experiencing the breeze, and sipping the wine.

Although as usual, I was worried about ghosts. I'm learning it's a chronic thing. I'm glad to report no ghosts and no thefts and no break ins.

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