Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Travel: Nice- Day Four

Well! So we got up early, had breakfast, and packed everything up and checked out. JUST as we were leaving the hotel, this scouse lady came up to us. She said “I couldn’t help overhearing that you were English- have you seen the news atall?” And we were like “No, why?” then she said “Well, theres been a volcanic eruption, we’re supposed to be flying to Newcastle today but we got an email in at 4:30 in the morning telling us that theres a high possibility our flight would be cancelled, my husband and son have gone to the airport to check what was going on”. We thanked her for the heads up and headed onto the airport, hoping that maybe we would be O.K, considering by that time they had only cancelled flights from the northern parts of the country, and we were going to Bristol. So when we got to the airport after doing all the checking in stuff we then sat down and bought THE MOST EXPENSIVE BEERS EVER. Like as I have said before, food and booze is double the price in Nice, but the airport bar was mental. 10.80 Euros for a pint and a half??? Ahhhh! And it wasn’t even nice beer- it was Kronenberg.

I have recently got into beer. This is a particularly good change in my tastes, as it means both me and my partner can have the same drink, and its easy to order in French as well, lol. Along with beer, I have also suddenly started to like spicy foods and tea, which is funny because I really used to hate them all. So I have started to figure out which beers I like and which ones I don’t like. So far the only beers I’ve figured out that I don’t like is this Thai beer called “Elephant beer” and Kronenberg. I can’t believe how popular Kronenberg is. It’s gross. The nicest beer I have had was in Nice actually. It is called “Pelforth”- it is really flavoursome and refreshing, slightly sorta floral taste to it, even with the darker variety of it. Its logo is a white pelican holding a flower, and it is really nice, next time your in France really have a look out for it. Heres a picture of me having a pint of it at a bar at some point, can’t remember where. It looks massive but its just the way the pictures taken.

So this part was ridiculous. Whilst we were waiting in the departures lounge (is that what you call it? Not sure) it said on the screen with all the flights on eventually that our Bristol flight was “Delayed”. However, Nick checked out the Bristol Airport site and it said our flight was cancelled. So, eventually Nick decided he would go back through the metally detector checking area thing (what do they call those?) to the EasyJet desk to try and find out what was going on. He left me on the other side with the bags, and I ended up chatting to this really nice woman from Cornwall….oh wait, was it Devon? I dunno, something like that. She was really nice actually; she was in the south of France because she worked for a really rich insurance company that basically fully insured the uber expensive houses in Monaco/Monte Carlo etc.

It’s funny how many people you end up talking to when things go wrong. It’s like, we have this whole British awkwardness/ reserve, but it fades away when mistakes happen. If you were waiting at the bus stop you wouldn’t talk to any of the people around you, but if it got cancelled or it was really late- you so totally would. So anyway, it had been like an hour and a half, so I said the woman “I am going to check out what’s going on, shall come back and say once I’ve found out”. So I went through and found Nick at the Easyjet desk the front of a queue that he had been for the last hour and a half. He was explaining to the French woman on the desk that his flight said it was cancelled, and so she was like (pretending she was speaking like a british person) “right, so I order your bag back up” (I had already checked my bag in- Nicks is small enough for hand luggage) “and I will cancel your flight tickets” and I will book you a hotel, with flights to Stanstead tomorrow”. And so after she did all that, and then suddenly she went (even though we totally mentioned it) “Hang on, you are on the Bristol flight, I thought you were on the Luton flight” (a Luton flight had been cancelled a couple of hours ago) “ On our screens it says your flight is delayed- not cancelled” we explained to her that on Bristol’s airport information it said our flight was cancelled, but she just said, well, you have to wait the other side, it is still flying according to them. So we had to frickin re-validate our tickets, send our bag back on the right track (which I was worrying about would be lost, cause its easy to lose bags anyway, let alone when its being moved around all the time) and go back through the metal detector place.

We then had another expensive beer and waited around for an hour for our delayed flight to arrive. When we heard the announcement we were thinking it would be “We are ready to board you now” kinda thing, but no, it was “The flight to Bristol has been cancelled”. So I said, OK, quick, come on Nick, and we went as quick as possible to get to the Easyjet desk before anyone else. Massive queue of course. I mean, we ended up queuing up again for 3 hours (I tried talking to one of the French EasyJet blokes, saying Nick had already queued up at this desk for an hour and a half only to be turned away with incorrect information, and that this wasn’t fair, but he just said we had to queue up again). It was funny, there were two young (ehh, early twenties I reckon) girls ahead of us, blonde, fairly scantily clad, and we ended up chatting to them. They had been travelling around Spain and then France, and were supposed to fly yesterday, but Easyjet screwed their flight up and so they delayed it for today. Felt well sorry for them! If only Easyjet hadn’t screwed their flight up the day before, they would have been back in Blighty, but now me and nick expected that they were stuck at least for a few more days.

Anyway, so you think we had it bad? I took a picture of the Easyjet queue. Absolutely mental, we were fairly at the front I guess, and it took 3 hours to get to the desk. And there was only 2 people working on the desks for all these people, each person or couple taking about 10-15 minutes to sort out (accommodation, new flight etc.). So if you look at all these people, the queue going much further than those blue signs over there right at the back. Me and Nick figured out that people would have been queuing until at least 10pm or something, (it being about 11ish at the time).

Woman sorted us out a near-airport hotel for the night, and a flight to Paris early morning the next day. So we checked in, had our free EasyJet provided lunch (chicken and chips…..I realise I don’t even like chips. Only chips that are really soggy, like the ones at Fish and Chip shops. Or covered in cheese, Haha) and we decided we would check out the site in Nice that so far we hadn’t managed to find- Some Russian Cathedral or something. Well turns out it wasn’t that far away. Although I mean, it’s not in the nicest of areas compared to the other sites. The area around the church and its garden it a bit slummy in my opinion. Anyway, this Russian Orthodox Cathedral was really beautiful. Quite a sad story behind it as well, this very rich woman had a young fiancĂ© that she loved a lot, but he died before they got married, so she put forward the money to build this Cathedral in his honour, and also this building housing his body, which is placed in the same position that his old house was. Really sad but very beautiful. Nice little garden surrounding it as well, would be good for a picnic and we saw many a sunbather.


We walked back to the area near our hotel and found a nice café with tables outside. We felt like we had done everything in Nice, so we just wanted a place to sit and drink for a while until the restaurant we wanted to go to opened its doors. It took us three drinks until we realised what the bar was called. Haha! Nick sent that to all his friends, him having gained rather a lot of weight recently.

We felt very happy that we were able to go to that Italian place I told you about before, the nice looking one that we noticed AFTER we had had that really crappy meal somewhere else. The meal was really great. We both chose as a starter the “mixed vegetable antipasti”- all the antipasti dishes being in big bowls behind us, which the waiters would go and get plates and fill them up pretty much in front of you. There were separately char grilled courgettes, aubergines, peppers, mushrooms, onions, with different herbs and oils and dressings, oh and also some nice Tortilla/omlettey thing, and some good bread on the side (which is nice because in most of the restaurants we had been to in Nice served really stale/crappy bread). So that was scrummy, for mains I had veal with a creamy sauce, with some farfalle in a tomato sauce on the side. It was all right I guess, I thought the meat was a fairly stingy portion, and this was the first time I have ever tried veal, and I wasn’t really very impressed. As far as I’m concerned, its just like a white, less beefy tasting beef. Nick’s pizza looked rather nice, it was a ham, olive and artichoke one I think- he was really happy with it, as it was making up for the worst pizza he had ever had the night before.

The cool thing which I think I SHOULD have ordered, however it wasn’t on the specials board or on the menu inside, only on the menu on the OUTSIDE. This chef wheels out this big marble slab with like, a bowl carved out of it. The slab is heated, and into the bowl goes in some alcohol (“mountain brandy” I found out) which he sets on fire. He then adds cream, pre-cooked tagliatelli and rosemary, and cooks round for a 1 minute or so, to combine and heat up. He then silver serves this and a waiter brings it to the customer’s tables. That was a really cool demonstration of table cookery. I remember learning that at college. Going out to table in the college restaurant with a gas stove, getting the heat on and making flaming crepe suzettes for customers. We had a good laugh doing that.

Anyway, so we got a shuttle back to the hotel and had another early night, due to a very early flight to Paris the next morning.

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