Sunday, May 2, 2010

Travel: Nice- Day Five

So after another buffet breakfast that was nowhere near as good as the ones in the Hotel Gounod. But screw it, it was free. Went to the front desk where (because it was an Airport hotel) there was a screen listing with the flights on it, including the information about delays and cancellations. Lots of cancellations in fact. Including our one to Paris. Man!!!! So, we figured, instead of acting like muppets and going to the airport and queuing up again which many people might be doing we thought, right, lets head onto the train station and try to get a train to Paris, before all the hoards from the airport turn up to do the same thing.

In Nice there was only like only two train journeys to Paris, both of which were full, but a nice old French guy who noticed we were having some trouble, came up to us as was like “You English? I expect you will be wanting to get to get to Paris? I recommend you go to Marseilles. Theres no way you’ll be getting on the train to Paris from here, but Marseilles is a big train station with a fast train going every hour to Paris”. So thanking him, we took his recommendation and headed off to Marseilles. As you can see in this picture, starting to look a little worse for wear by now, just getting worried about how long it would be before getting home.

You know what? Marseilles is gorgeous. We only saw a view of the town from outside the train station, going for a smoke (didn’t have much time between getting off at Marseilles and getting onto the train to Paris) . But yeah, really beautiful. I think if I ever went on holiday to France again I would go here. To be fair, it is still the south of France, but it looks very different to Nice, more typically French and less “Mediterranean” I would say at first glance.

We got a baguette and a drink for the journey (it was a 3 hour journey, on a fast train called something specific but I can’t remember!). Oh! I forgot to say! Whilst me and nick was on the train to Marseilles, Nick suddenly remembered something. He was like, “Wait, I have a friend in Paris, I’ve just remembered!”. So he sends her a text saying that they had been meaning to catch up for ages, he just didn’t realise it would take a volcanic eruption to meet up! He also asked if she could put us up in Paris for a night. He hadn’t seen his friend (Holly) for ten years, but had kept in touch by email fairly often. She said sure, it was fine if we stayed at hers for a night.

After getting off at Paris, we decided to do a little shopping. Although I always pack enough clothes for an extra day when I go on holiday, I hadn’t packed for another two days, so I had to just get some basics (underwear, top, socks etc.). First of all we found ourselves somehow in the most expensive area in Paris for some reason. Nothing but Lacoste, Chloe, Chanel, Valentino etc. $5000 euro watches and at one point I looked in a window and was like, ooh, I like that underwear and we checked the price and it was $1100 for a set of underwear! Hilarious.

Anyway, so we ended up on that big street with the Arch de Triumph at the end of it, for some more affordable retail therapy. I bought a nice (very French) blue and white striped top, and underwear and socks and all that from Gap. I don’t want to sound racist or anything but the people in Paris are so rude to English people. I know it’s a stereotype but it’s so bloody true. The people in Nice were very friendly, and helpful. Soon as we get to Paris the attitude changes drastically. A good example of this is the checkout at Gap. I didn’t notice there was a cashier free, so the cashier was like “Madame! Madame!” (I didn’t realise I was supposed to be called Madame yet?) and so I went up to the desk, and when I got there she rolled her eyes, tutted and said “Ugh…British”. How rude is that?

So after that, we got some metro tickets and headed off for Holly’s stop. When you ride on the metro, you realise how crap our transport system is in England. Well, whenever I am abroad anywhere I can’t help feel sorry for tourists to the U.K, in terms of sorting out travel arrangements. When we were in Prague, it cost about £3 for 24 hours use of any public transport- we’re talking trains, trams, buses and even boats! In England it’s difficult and expensive enough to travel around London, let alone other parts of the country! Plus the metro is vaguely clean, and so efficient- runs on time. Talking about clean, Nick says that when he went to Switzerland, it was so like mentally clean everywhere. Not a cigarette, piece of gum, crumpled piece of paper in sight, and certainly no graffiti. Sounds a bit like when I was in Germany.

So Holly’s place is lush. She had two animals, a lovely ickle spoggly (sorry, im a bit of a dog person- I mean a lovely little dog, a golden retriever called Lola) and a maow (again, cat) called Louie. The Dog was so sweet, kept following me around. And the cat was absolutely mental. Good story behind the cat actually. Her boyfriend was working at home once, and called Holly up saying “Hey, theres this cat on the balcony, and it won’t stop meowing, should I let it in?” and what’s weird is they are on the second floor, they have no idea how the cat got there! So they let the cat in, took it to their local vet to see if he knew the owner, and he didn’t. They put out signs asking if anyone was missing this cat, but no one came forward so it just became their cat now. And it wasn’t a stray; they know that because it was house trained.

Anyway, was a mental cat, I tried to get some pictures of it but it kept moving. It also kept trying to jump into my bag as well. I was expecting at one point during the journey home to start hearing meows coming from my case! Holly set up our room and helped us out with booking something to get us home. The Eurostar was fully booked up. We found another ferry thing but it didn’t have any passenger seats- only car seats. Luckily we found one ferry, which was going from Caen to Portsmouth and booked that. Rather a late ferry, so there weren’t any trains back to Bath at this time, but I figured out that I could ask my dad to pick us up. Because I’m probably spoilt and I know my dad would do this favour for me. Plus he used to work in Portsmouth area and knows the area and which is the best way to get there.

Got a couple of pictures of the pets.

So after we’d sorted out the ferry, which took hours! We went rather late to one of Holly’s regular hangouts. She is friends with the owners and I liked the feel of this place, as you could tell it was one of those good ‘local’ places- we were the only tourists there. The really touristy restaurants tend to be more expensive and generally not as good, overall, anywhere that you go. Also me and my parents always say about restaurants if you see a lot of people of the same race- Like if you see loads of Chinese people eating in an Chinese restaurant, it usually means it is good/traditional food, because they generally know their cuisine better than we do.

Also, halfway during the meal Holly told us that this place was used in the Tarentino film “Inglorious Basterds”. I mean, not as a major location, was only used for one scene near the beginning. Apparently she said it was really nice, because when Tarentino came to film here, he paid for a bunch of maintenance costs for free (like fixing pipes/ cracked tiles/ mirrors etc.) and made the café look better without changing the décor or anything, cause it’s a properly old café. I haven’t seen the film but I googled it and I found a picture that I found really cool cause it was obvious it is in the café we were in. Maybe it’s just me being nerdy but…..Cool!

The meal was so very rustic and French. For starter I had chicken liver pate, with good bread. Some fantastic yet cheap red wine. And my main dish was confit duck leg with sauté potatoes, which was scrummy. I love confit duck leg, Nick doesn’t, but that’s because some people are funny about fat on meat. For instance, when Nick roasts a chicken, he doesn’t eat the skin, cause it’s fat, so I get it, which is lush! Because in my opinion the skin is like, the best part, don’t you think?

Nick and Holly had steaks with peppercorn sauce/ blue cheese sauce. Nick had fries with his and holly had green beans. Holly said she was on a bit of a diet. For starter she only had salad, with the ingredients given to her to front of house so she could make her own dressing and everything. Well, she said she always eats like that. I can tell, she looks fantastic doesn’t she? Like not just thin, she looks really great for her age as well.

Me and Nick had a wonderful time as well, we rarely get pictures of both of us. O.k. Nick looks fat and I look stupid but I don’t care, it’s a sweet photo.

We got back, had a couple of more glasses of wine and then we went to bed. A lovely night we had in Paris.

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