The Moth podcast story I listened to today was told by a woman from Nice, France. How odd is it that I started to write about my trip to Nice just this morning? It felt like a little nudge for me to get moving again on my blog postings… so to Nice I will go.
I am not particularly fond of travel days, especially ones that take all day with multiple means of transport and border crossings. But this travel day was exceptional in that I had great company and I did very little to prepare for the journey itself. After saying goodbye to Tuscany and our lovely villa we took a morning train down to Rome for our flight to Nice. It meant a car service from the villa to the SMN train station in Florence where we boarded a train to Rome Termini. Once in Rome we caught the airport train to FCO and then from FCO we flew to Nice. Yes, that’s planes, trains, and automobiles all in about 8 hours of total travel time. I’m always skeptical about making several connections in one day (Switzerland, Japan, and Korea excluded). I tried not to but I was a bit worried.
Fortunately for me, Christiane and Jean-Paul were headed to their house in San Raphael for a few days before returning to New York so we booked the same flight to make the trip together. Along the way I indulged a little (why, you’re offering me a glass of wine on the train? well then, don’t mind me if I do) and even had a nice lunch at Obikà Mozzarella Bar at the Fiumicino airport with a bottle of Amarone. Because each leg of our journey was relatively short, we were constantly moving and there never was a dull moment. We were reunited with the guys at the gate (they had a whirlwind tour of Rome in 24 hours) and our party continued to France.
I’d scheduled and planned everything up to Tuscany, but left the rest up to the guys to figure out and decide. So for once in my life, I had absolutely no idea where I was staying or how I was getting from point A to point B- in this case, going from the hills of Tuscany to Nice, then to Barcelona. All decisions were made for me and I just followed. Kevin told me they used a travel agent to reserve the hotels before the trip began but it wasn’t until Wednesday that they decided to fly to Nice on Saturday. Yikes! It was a good thing I kept myself in the dark; I probably would have stressed and worried over all the lack of pre-planning. There are those who turn up in a new city without a single reservation or an onward ticket. I just know that I am not that kind of a traveler. What can I say, organization keeps me relaxed and happy.
Everything worked out just fine, of course. We arrived in Nice on a gorgeous day and it continued to be so for the remainder of our stay. Sadly and reluctantly we had to bid farewell to Jean-Paul and Christiane at the airport. With my favorite couple’s leaving, our party was now comprised of 7 guys and me. As the lone female and the oldest of the group, I hoped I wouldn’t cramp their style too much…
Our hotel, Palais de la Méditerranée was right on Promenade des Anglais and the beach, perfectly situated to enjoy the beautiful French Riviera. The guys (well, I guess it was their travel agent and Marco) picked very well.
A welcome gift of macarons (one can never have enough macarons) along with a bottle of wine and fancy fruit preserves awaited us in our rooms. The next day I cut myself pretty badly trying to open that bottle of wine with the hotel provided cork screw you see on the table in the photo. I honestly don’t know how I managed to do such damage to myself. It’s not like I’ve never used a cork screw before but let me just leave it at that. Oblivious to the possible medical emergency ahead, I spent the rest of the afternoon sitting out on the balcony looking at the ocean. I was beginning to really enjoy this strange new feeling of “I didn’t plan any part of this trip yet I feel quite relaxed without knowing what I’ll be doing in Nice.” And when Peter took charge of figuring out where we’d go for dinner, I felt even better. Given the size of our party I think it would have been difficult to find nice places to dine together, period. Without prior arrangements? Fat chance, I thought. Peter said we couldn’t get into the restaurants of his choice but with some help from the concierge, we ate very well for the next few days. The first night we dined at La Table de Trois. I really had to search my memory bank for the name of the place since I didn’t take any notes, had done zero research on Nice, or take a camera to dinner. The photos below were taken by Mr. P. Merelis. As always, thank you Mr. M for documenting what we ate and drank.
All in all, a fantastic travel day without any hiccups. But the next day? I had no idea what I was going to do…
Obikà Mozzarella Bar: Rome Fiumicino Airport – Terminal 3, Gate D (+ multiple locations in various cities, including New York)
Hotel Palais de la Méditerranée: 13 Promedade des Anglais, Nice, France
La Table de Trois: 10 Rue Dalpozzo, Nice, France