Published: March 19th 2013March 19th 2013
Cheerio Okes! (More on that in a bit)
Alright. What a week it has been! Last post I had just arrived in Avignon and had been regaling you with stories of finding wine in caves, making Pain Perdue, as well as the odd comment of how beautiful the train ride was. Now that we're caught up, let's begin :
Avignon is quite the cool little town. It was once home to the French popes in the 1300s I believe, (I'm bad with history). It therefore has a huge castle which is called popes palace. This castle stands above everything else in old town, and can be seen for quite a distance. The streets of Avignon are windy and plentiful. Had a great first evening wondering around the streets and seeing people out and about enjoying the town.
Then to the hostel! (My first hostel experience I might add). Centrally located on the main road in old town, this hostel was a great base for exporting the area. The hostel itself was exceptionally clean and together. Having just opened in October, it was all brand new and state of the art by hostel standards. Not too many people in the hostel the days I was there, so didn't really meet too many people. Second day got up and went on a huge adventure all across the town (which involved finding cow brains at the market, walking along a river which is radioactive, and getting lost in unmarked tunnels of the palace.) That was all true, but it was actually a blast! The market was super cool. Lots of artisanal foods and whatnot, really interesting characters. The river is the Rhone river, which you may know from Côtés du Rhone wine. And as for getting lot in the palace tunnels, well between my sense on adventure and my stupidity, going into the dark unmarked tunnel in the back of a parking lot could have been a bad experience, however turned out it was a secret back way (at least I'm pretending it's secret) entrance to a walk along the old city wall and into the popes gardens. Great adventure and proof that following your nose can get you places!
Then if you can believe after all that it was only 10am, I then hopped on a bus to the Pont du Gard, a 2000 year old bridge built by the Romans to get water to the old town of Nimes. It is a world heritage site and featured on the 5 euro note. So amazing to see something so impressive, yet so old. To this day the height from one side of the bridge to the other only differs by 2.8cm after 2000 years of settlement.
Needless to say that evening I was tired from all my travels and took an easy night, which worked out cause this crazy crazy wind hit the city and shut it down early. (120km wind speeds!!)
Thursday I was packed up and out by 10 to get a train to Marseille then through to Nice. For the 90 minutes I spent in Marseille, I didn't get the feeling like I needed to get back. Very dirty and not a very safe feeling even in the tourist area.
Now for the highlight of my trip so far...
Raining when I got to Nice. Walked down the main road to the hostel which is perfectly located. Upon heading inside I was impressed by the amount of people in the common areas. Got up to my 10 bed dorm and right away was making new friends. After settling in, I went down to the bar common area where I had heard rumors of the elusive 1€ beer. Needless to say friends were made that night as lots of travelers were checking in for the weekend. (Side note : Majority of the hostel was actually not travelers, however people from around the world....mostly south africa... Looking for work oh the Yachts. Actually sounds like a great job!)
I could go on about my 5 nights in Nice, but I would be going on forever. Easily my favorite city to date. Alps to the north and Mediterranean to the south. Beautiful old roads and small town feel (even being Frances 5th largest city). Highlights from the week include :
Meeting a ton of new friends
Becoming fluent in south african bro talk (brew=dude) (Okes=guys)
Going to Monaco and gambling at the Monte Carlo Casio (think James Bond)
Beer with Okes down at the Monaco warf
Going to Italy for gelato and a bottle of rose and back
Walking the beach
Getting lost in old town
Being there for St. Paddies day
Going out with friends at night
Not remembering in the morning
A great time was had this week, and Nice has been made a favorite and I will return soon.
Though to leave all that this morning as I got up to face a 7 hour journey that by car would be 3. However it was well worth it cause I am writing you from a very amazing part of the world called Cinque Terre. I only just got in a few hours ago, but in short it looks super amazing, is very quiet at the moment which is great cause I can explore it by self for the next couple days and get a sense of where I am. This is been a place on my bucket list for years now so it feels wonderful to finally be here.
Thanks to all in Nice for making it a memorable weekend! (at least most of it...)
I would also like to thank those of you that helped make this trip possible. It will have been a month this Friday and I really can't thank you enough.
P.S. photos soon I promise!