I’m never leaving here.
Despite the fact that my afternoon exploration plans were shortened by a fierce storm that blew in unexpectedly… Nice is truly a beautiful place. It has all the history and beautiful architecture, but also the beach. It’s warm and tropical and humid (which does not work well for my hair) and you kind of forget where you are. Nearly everyone around me is a tourist and the collection of accents has been fascinating.
I forgot that I had splurged on a nicer hotel that faces the beach, and this place is amazing! When I checked in they told me they had upgraded me – so I have a lovely room with my own private terrace. Compared to my last hotel, which was completely fine, this is luxurious! The bed was so comfortable I didn’t want to get up this morning (but I also didn’t want to miss the free breakfast which ended at 10a). The shower is big enough for me to hang all of my laundry. This just adds to the excellence of this part of my adventure.
So yesterday I took a train to a bus to a plane to a bus to get here. The flight was bumpy – like the flight attendant was walking down the aisle with barf bags bumpy. It was like this on and off for more than half of the flight, so like 45 minutes. I was so grateful when we landed!
I was sitting next to a girl around my age(ish) and I had heard her speaking English, so I asked where she was from. She’s French but has been living in NYC the past couple years, and she is in Nice for their big jazz festival. Unfortunately because of the storm yesterday they had to cancel the first night’s lineup, but I think I might check it out tonight.
After I got to my hotel I got settled and was looking for a place for lunch. It was about 1:45 and most of the restaurants were closing at 2pm! I finally found one that was open until 4 and headed over. This place was so cute! There was seating for 20 people plus a small bar. I grabbed a table and the one guy working (turns out he is the owner) dragged over a chalkboard with the menu on it and propped it against the bar for my review. I selected “tomate burrata” because it seemed safe and a glass of rose. (P.S. – it is so cheap to drink wine here! It averages around $5 a glass). I had no idea that I was going to get one of the best salads I’ve ever had!
When I first arrived there was a woman behind the bar, and then she left. And then she came back. And then she ran across the street again. Turns out she owns the boutique across the street (I went over and did a little shopping after lunch) and her husband owns the restaurant. I told her how good my meal was and asked why all of the restaurants close at 2pm. She said they cannot handle being open all day so they open from 12-2 for lunch and then again at 7 for dinner. Their restaurant is only open for lunch so they can be at home with their children at night.
I walked around for awhile after lunch. The town was bustling with tourists eating and shopping and exploring. And Nice is not a large city so everyone seemed to be concentrated in the main part of town. I made my way over to the Promenade des Anglais which is the main pedestrian walkway along the shoreline. I was enjoying a perfectly lovely day and then the clouds started to move in. No one seemed to mind. But then they looked heavier and darker.
Suddenly it got really windy and the temperature dropped about 20 degrees. People started to walk more hurriedly and as I was still several blocks from my hotel I jogged a bit to try to beat the storm. It started to sprinkle but I made it back to my hotel just before the crazy downpour. This seemed like the perfect time to take a nap since I hadn’t slept well the night before and I couldn’t exactly be out and about.
Post-nap I did some research on where to eat and settled on a restaurant. (I often have decision paralysis when it comes to picking restaurants when I’m traveling). I got there and this place was so cute! The doorway was covered with a beaded curtain about a garage door wide. I peeked inside and it was packed, and I was informed they were booked for the evening. I hadn’t selected a backup option so I walked to where I knew there were some restaurants. I usually stay away from the places that feel touristy, where there is a guy out front trying to persuade you to eat at their restaurant, but I came across a place that had a 3 course menu for around $20 and the guy assured me that it was traditional Nicoise cuisine. I was hungry so I gave it a go and I was really pleased with my choice! Once of the traditional foods here is a pissaladiere, with a pizza-like crust that is topped with roasted onions, olives and anchovies. I don’t usually like anchovies, but this was really good! My second course was a roasted chicken legg (yes, with two g’s) with fries and a salad. Really simple but really delicious. Dessert was an apple tart. It was just ok. I was so full anyway that it didn’t matter. So with my wine, the whole meal was 21.50 or about $25. Not a bad deal!
After dinner I walked around and browsed a couple of souvenir shops. Then I headed over to the Promenade des Anglais to admire the beauty of the Mediterranean, which was now very calm compared to earlier. As it got darker the color changed from turquoise to a dark navy, almost black. It was beautiful. There were so many people out walking, and several were down on the beach skipping stones (the beach is all stones, no sand).
On my way back to my hotel I found the Statue of Liberty (again).
My first day in Nice ended wonderfully. Today, I head to the beach. For those wondering, no, I don’t think it’s topless.
Au revoir for now.