Matt Richardson

On Travels... France - Nice & Monaco

January 16, 2005 | 5 Minute Read

I think I’ve been avoiding this for long enough, so it’s about time that I actually got started and got something down about my France travels. Especially seeing that I’m just about to head to France for a second time.

So, I believe that when I put this scintillating narrative down last time, our brave, dashing hero was bunking down at Berlins Schoenefeld airport.

[Our dashing hero] Got woken up at about 4am (not good when you get to sleep about midnight), by the staff coming in to work. Rather odd - they didn't seem to think anything strange about us sleeping on the chairs there. I s'pose they must see it quite often. I will note that the chairs were surprisingly comfortable. I was jealous of Amy and her sleeping bag, but I’m glad I didn't have to carry it around. 

Seeing I had time to kill, I thought it'd be a good idea to ring the bank about the fraudulent charges on my visa. Now, when you've got a flight to catch, don’t go and ring a bank. Managed to nearly miss the flight. That woulda been stupid. But, managed to climb onto a flight at 7.30, and traveled sedately at horrific speeds inside a steel tube at stupid heights. Despite gravity's attempts to drag us down into a very hard thing called the ground, we managed to get to Nice safely.

Was quite excited to be in France. Nice is right on the coast, and curves around a pretty cool looking bay. Managed to make our way into town (the airport is surprisingly close to town - its built on land reclaimed from the sea), and found our hostel really close to the railway station.Only problem was you have to watch were you're walking - the French and they're poodles... Oh, yeah, our hostel charged for the showers - very short showers. Damn annoying.

Had a nice time just wandering around, exploring the place. Found a little place called Johnny's Wine Bar (happy hour!), with a cool old dude playing a guitar (at least I think it was a guitar). Had a bit of a chat with him - damn he'd had an interesting life. When he gets bored, he just moves on to a new place and plays in bars for money. Cool guy to meet, and coupled with some nice wines... Well, it was a good night :)

Following day, the weather made itself known, and promptly decided to rain on us. So, we did a bit of wandering, but ended up sitting at a café for ages, drinking coffee, playing chinese checkers, and trying to speak French to the café staff (lots of blank looks - need to work on that).

Also climbed up to a hill overlooking the town (La Colline Du Chateau (castle hill)), which used to have a fort on it. Nice views, and a nice waterfall (which Amy and Lauren climbed the fence and went in behind), but nothing very exciting.

I've just realised that you probably have no idea who Lauren is. She's a girl that Amy met in Prague, who was also traveling around by herself, and had similar plans to us, so joined us for the trip.

The next day we all got up early, and went expeditioning. We headed down to Villefranche - a very cool little town, built around a narrow bay. Very nice - very relaxing too. Someone had thrown some bread in the water, and there were schools of fish eating it - looked quite odd until I figured it out. Explored the town, and randomly wandered for a while, taking random photos, and then it was time to head onwards.

Next town on the day trip was Ville d'Eze, which is a town which is sort of split in two, with a long walk uphill in between. (I’ve got a feeling that the town down on the waters edge was Ville d'Eze Sud or something). Even though it was a pretty painful walk, it was worthwhile. The views on the trail were pretty darn cool. At the top town/village, there was an old castle with lots of nooks and crannies, and little winding lanes. Lots of things to take photos of <IMG alt=":D" class="emoticon" src="/images/emotions/emotion-2.gif" border=0>. Very cool. It seemed to have been taken over as an artist’s community. Lots of cool art and arty type things.

And then, it was all the way back down to the village to the train, for the piece de la resistance, Monaco. The playground of the rich and famous, full of expensive yachts, expensive cars, rich good looking people, and now me.

We wandered up to Monaco’s fort, which also holds the Princes Palace (Monaco is a principality), all pretty cool. About this point, Lauren was feeling pretty tired, and Amy wanted to see different stuff, so we split up. I went to the Musee d'Oceanography - very very very very cool. One of the best aquariums I’ve been to. Could've sat there for hours, just staring. They also had lots and lots of old stuff, charting the history of ocean science. Very cool. Could've spent a day in there.

After that, did a lot of wandering around, trying to become rich by osmosis (or something), but just generally exploring. I managed to find the Monaco Casino (not too shabby), and also found the Monaco Grand Prix track (by asking a doorman in abominable French). Just to rub it in, to my friend Paul, who's into Grand Prix racing, I took a photo of me on the race track <IMG alt=:P class="emoticon" src="/images/emotions/emotion-4.gif" border=0>. You'll have to take my word for it that it is the race track though, cos you can’t really tell. People looked at me a little strangely when I did that.

Other than drooling at all the very nice, very expensive yachts there (I want one!), that was about all I did in Monaco. So, it was back on the train, back to nice. Which leaves us on the 10th of November, I believe. And that’s enough for this post.

Tagged: On Travels