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Nice

25th May, 2011 by Daniel

I’m not sure why we chose to go to the Riviera, but we’d not been away for a long time and the other problem is where to start when deciding where to visit? I mean you literally have the world at your feet. I think the starting point was let’s book off less than a week, go somewhere in Europe but not toooo strange, somewhere neither of us had been before. So somehow Nice bubbled up to the top and it so happened when we wanted to go it was inbetween Cannes film festival and the Monaco Grand Prix. Plus the added novelty of visiting 3 countries in one trip (one day even!).
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Sunday
We decided to take our time with getting to the airport, etc. We weren’t flying til late in the afternoon but we didn’t have much else to do that day. We also decided not to drive and park the car there (extra expense) so not knowing how long public transport would take we left a generous amount of time to get to Manchester Airport- walking to Bury Metrolink, then getting the train from Piccadilly. It’s very simple really. If we had more bags I probably would have taxi’d to the Tram, or perhaps all the way to Bolton train station and just get the train the whole way to the airport (but having looked up the taxi fare it would have been about £14 which didn’t really seem worth it).
On arrival we got the 99 shuttle to Nice train station which cost €4 each. Our hotel was really easy to find from the station and the lady on the desk was very helpful. So we settled in, unpacked and went out to get our bearings. The hotel was also really convenient for sea front, not much of a walk at all.
We walked down to flower Market for dinner (not that we knew that’s what it was at the time). I ate an awesome pasta & salmon, Kate a Veal escalope. Panna cotta, me creme brûlée. The food set a very high standard early on.
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Monday
We took the train to Cannes. It was a bit more expensive than we thought, forgetting that guides tend to quote prices as singles per person – so the price was 4x what we expected, but at least it made sense. It’s a beautiful journey.
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Cannes itself was a bit crazy. It’s so opulent there. I’m not sure i’ve seen so many designer shops in what’s basically just a small town.
I was happy to see that there was still some festival de film things going on. It was mostly packing up which was slightly in the way but they did also have a screening on in the marche so it was interesting to see the people going up the red carpet dressed in their best.
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We had a lovely walk around the harbours admiring the boats and bought some postcards. I found it difficult to get used to the heat! There wasn’t all that much shade around
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We went back for dinner in old town Nice. It was good but not great, probably down to the fact we spent to long deciding where to eat of the huge amount of places. The old town is lovely though.

Tuesday
Walking around Nice. Proper explore. Went up to chateau. Amazing view. Place Garibaldi as well. Lovely dinner in Old Town – drag bar?!?

Wednesday.
HOT. Got bus to Monaco. Big squeeze to get on. Argued with old French lady. Worth it for €1. Monaco so busy and unclear which way to go. Found ourselves walking around the track. Awesome.
Never seen such big motorboats. Jensen Button foundation?
Walked up to Grand Casino, Bought hat & magnet. Struggled to find underground train station in heat.
Train to Ventimiglia. Didn’t expect to find it so Italian! Struggled with French/English/Italian boy in cafe didn’t seen to speak anything.
Walked round town and beach couple of beers then got dinner. Helpful waitress (also woman at train station ticket desk). Great Pizza & Pasta. Hotel via Monop.

Thursday.
Packed up early, but not as early as we ought to have. Managed to check out of the hotel at 9.40, so we had 20 minutes to go. The guy behind the desk kindly said he’d look after our bags for the day.
We decided we shouldn’t venture too far and set out for Nice. We had possibly the best tea & coffee of the trip at Cafe les Filles (with free wifi no less!) and decided on a plan for the day. Basically it was to get out what money we could to have a decent last meal. We ended up eating at a busy popular place, not the cheapest but I have to say it certainly wasn’t the best pasta I’d had in Nice.
We had one last stroll along the promenade and in the Old Town and a long sit at the fountains and decided it was pretty warm so ducked into the Etoile to make use of the A/C and free 30 mins of wifi.
There were (to my surprise) no issues getting our bags back at the hotel, not even a charge despite the €2 charge displayed.
We caught the shuttle from the train station and got to the Airport. After misjudging what side of the terminal we ought to be on we found the right gate and waited, smugly noting the delayed BA flight to Heathrow which was supposed to leave before ours.

Once landed in Manchester our good friend Helen picked us up and took us home as we complained about the cold. Leaving us to look through our photos and recollect what a lovely holiday we’d had.


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