Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Nice, France: L'Auberge de Jeunesse

After a 10 hour road trip with my new Italian friends I was in Nice. The Italians were only just over halfway into their journey to Rome so it was time to say good bye. The best things about being back in France were the CHEESE (Spain has equally as good cheap wine, bread and dry meats but not cheese) and I have free WiFi in every street in France thanks to a hostel in Paris that still hadn't changed both of its hotspot logins for the 2 biggest service providers after 5 months (Merci Beaucoup!). I used this WiFi to find the address of a hostel and booked 2 nights in person from possibly the only French guy in the world with a proper aussie accent when he speaks English... again a 4 bed dorm for the price of a 10 bed. The 3 aussies he stuck me in with (he asked if being with aussies was okay first) weren't happy with my discount (about $8 less a night than what they paid). This was a very social hostel so a night of drinking pursued.

Nice is the 5th largest city in France (7th by metrpolitan area) but probably the 2nd most well known French city around the world. It is a very beautiful city on the Mediterranean coast. Also a very expensive and touristy city, according to my wallet it is ranked 2nd for both in France behind Paris.

On my second day after dragging my hungover self out of bed it was time to jump on a train to Grasse to meet one of  my closest friends that was visiting family for Christmas, Isis (the person that carries the burden of knowing most of my darkest secrets). She drove me into the countryside to a town famous for making lollies out of plants (roses, violets, etc). I tried every amazing free sample they had but with prices starting at 20 Euro for a little box the samples had to do. Afterwards we went to another little villiage in the mountains to walk around before stopping for some hot violet wine (a very unique drink)... I also experienced real traumatising French driving.

The town with the famous sweets

Pretending I know people here

The view from the balcony of where we enjoyed the hot wine

Drinking hot wine to improve her driving

After an awesome afternoon it was time for me to head back to the hostel for another night of drinking. The staff also join the drinking at this hostel... listening to them do a late night check in after quite a few drinks gets most of the people in the communal area laughing.

The next day Isis and her very young sister gave me a tour of Nice.

The next few days involved more drinking with other travellers in the hostel, meeting Isis' father without knowing, going to Cannes to meet Isis and Anne-Sophie (another French friend I met in Brisbane), meeting more of Isis' family, exploring Nice and eating cheese.

Every morning I asked the hostel for one more night... 5 times. Each time they said we will give you the same deal.

I also did a day trip to Monaco,  a country/city full of Lamborghinis and Ferraris, and the location of the famous Montecarlo Grand Casino from all the Bond movies. If you stay away from all the high end restaurants it's actually quite cheap... the bus from Nice was just 1.50 Euro. I did worry a little when I realised I was going to another country with my passport sitting safely in my hostel room.

Monte Carlo Grand Casino, Monaco
The Montecarlo Grand Casino
After 7 nights in the hostel it was time to leave... the hostel staff were shocked that I was finally going. I did consider staying 2 more nights to spend Christmas with the awesome group of people there.

Hitchiking to Avignon!

Hitchhiking Avignon

Maybe hitchhiking failed for the first time but you will have to read my next post.

Lessons learnt:
It is great to meet good friends on long adventures.
My Frenglish became Spench.
Hitchhiking doesn't always work.
Cheese is the thing I miss most about France. 

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