Note: This is a travel journal of the day 6 and 7 of our trip to France. Click here to view the photo collection (28 pictures) for these particular days. Or follow this tag for the related blog entries.
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easyJet from Paris to Nice – Jun 25, Friday
Till today, I am still amazed at Cynthia’s calmness and her being able to sleep through the crisis, taking life has it comes. Perhaps happiness is made of this. To recap, the French was on strike. And on the day before we departed from Paris …
- I inquired at the tourist information center at Versailles on the alternative means to Paris Orly Airport.
- I browsed through the online news in English and tried to access the seriousness of the situation (mostly speculative).
- I checked with the hotel’s front desk on the latest development (which they promised to give me an update and they did not).
- I booked a private shuttle from the front desk for 44€ (and the dude working on night shift initially shocked us that it was too late to book anything in this hour, but it was not).
Our flight was at 11.10 am. We have arranged a pick-up at 8 am. And …
- Our driver was late for 10 minutes and we met with a massive jam (to give him credit, he did try out alternative routes in order to beat the jam).
- We reached at the airport at 10.50 am (and Cynthia was sleeping throughout the car trip like a baby while I was nervously staring at the unending jam).
- I joined a massively long easyJet queue at the check-in area and after some brilliance reconnaissance work by Cynthia, she got us the correct queue. A queue that was short and did not take long for us to check in our luggages.
- And we made it! Arriving at the airport 20 minutes before departure.
Arriving at Nice, South of France
We drove in Spain last year. In a way, I am getting used to the European’s left hand drive. And I am mentally prepared for the roads in France, which can be narrow and packed with cars parked at the roadside. When we got out of the Nice Airport, we were terribly lost. Like hopelessly lost. We spent hours on the road and we had no such problem when we were in Spain. Could it be the language problem? Somehow, the roadsigns in France do not seem to be as informative. It could be just our luck.
By the time we have found a place to park our car (very expensive and very tight), we had to wait for another hour for a young German man to appear and deliver the keys to us. I had no idea that Cynthia had booked us into an apartment here in Nice. The German arrived in a motorbike seems friendly, with a likable smile. The apartment turned out to be extremely color coordinated, extremely shape coordinated. The floor was painted, even the bathing area was painted. Almost everything comes in the shape of a square. Such as the painted bathtub. It was a studio apartment with a bed hidden cleverly away from the cabinets. There was a TV that we could watch World Cup. There was Internet access. There was a kitchen area that we could make our hot drinks. Outside, at the balcony, there was a washing area where we could do our laundry. A perfect place to peep at what the dwellers inside the apartments opposite were doing. Some were lying on the sofa watching TV. Some were …
The flip side was that we have to return the apartment in its original condition. Or we could pay 50€ and have a maid to do the cleaning for us. We ended up doing housework the night before we checked out. It was also the first time we had to do any housework during our holiday. Bizarre! And there was no curtain inside the bathroom to cover the huge window next to the toilet bowl. French are the strange bunch.
In the late afternoon, after we have settled down in such a homely environment, we took a stroll along the beach of Nice. What a lovely place! Wide pedestrian walkway with the beach on one side and the beautiful buildings on the other. There were bicycles for rental. Inside the city center, the was a modern looking tram running through the squares. By the time we arrived, all the shops were closed. We looked for a restaurant and chose a table where we could watch the live World Cup broadcast of Spain versus … some other country. Next to our table was a couple. And the lady was cheering for Spain. So did Cynthia, the football fanatic. During halftime, we rushed back to our apartment. In any given day, Cynthia would have complained a great deal on the pace and the distance. But football did wonder.
Monaco – Jun 26, Saturday
Monaco is a tiny city-state, covers merely 1.9 sq km. But it is a beautiful city. I was almost in tears following the track used by Formula One. Driving through that signature tunnel I have found the scratch mark when one of the cars had recently hit the wall. Singapore track is special too. It is beautiful at night, with the light coming from the modern buildings along the track. But the Monaco track is beautiful, without the artificial light. There are F1 shops in the city, along the track. There are beautiful sport cars in Monaco. Surprisingly, they follow the crawling speed limit of 30 kph in town.
We had spent some time visiting the Palace (Palais Princíer) and the Napoleon museum (Musée des Souvenirs Napoléoniens). We love the palace, learned a little bit more about the history of the monarchy. Not so sure about the museum, though we have learned a little bit more about the softer side of Napoleon. We had visited the Cathedral too. For some unspoken reasons, Cynthia and I have skipped the Grand Casino area. We drove pass the area several times as we were attempting to follow the F1 track. And that was good enough for us.
Menton – A Small Town by the Sea Near to Italy
It is said that in the 19th century, Queen Victoria and famous writers and poets often holidayed in Menton. Menton is a charming town and like Nice and many coastal cities in the south of France, it has beaches. While we were there, we saw a wedding couple on a convertible car waving at the crowd. We waved back at them and took some pictures. And then we saw a bus got stuck at a mini-roundabout because of the illegally parked cars. We were looking for a bathroom and the only one we found was a public kiosk lookalike toilet that when you insert a coin inside, it opens up and after the usage, the toilet cleans itself for the next user. It costs as much as a cup of Italian coffee. So why pay for the toilet usage when you can have a cup of coffee and then use the bathroom for free?
We left Menton after 6 pm and I still wanted to visit one more place near Nice. Unfortunately we got caught with a massive jam in Nice due to an Iron Man event. So we have decided to call it a day, get some pizzas and chicken wings for dinner. And in the spirit of watching World Cup on TV, I grabbed a bottle of beer too.
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PS. Thank your for reading our journal and feel free to drop a comment or two. You may wish to view our photo collection for day 6 & 7 too.