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Published: June 26th 2007
My sleep was so-so at the hostel from about 6am-8am. The recycling truck came and was right by our window, so the loud sound of breaking glass crashed right next to my ear which was quite startling. From then on, it was on and off sleep until my alarm buzzed at 8. I went with Tani to breakfast which was free, and had two small rolls with nutella and one with a soft wedge of cheese. They also has Nescafe (a godsend when traveling) machine so I indulged in 2 cappucinos since I knew I wouldnt be eating until at least 5 or 6 pm that day. I laugh at the fact that I got so excited over instant coffee...what you enjoy when on the road!
It was then time to check out and meander through the metro to central station. I talked with Tani about Milan and she said she didnt like it, so I felt a little better about not seeing the city (though there is said to be a beautiful church...ah well, I have to leave some things to see on my next trip, hehe) I'd like to return someday but will definitely stay more centrally located so I can walk instead of spend 1 euro each time I enter the metro. Usually if you pay a euro, the ticket is good for 75 minutes from the time you first validate it, but twas not the case in milano.
I got to the train station early but I didnt mind - there's plenty of people to watch - the beggars (some midgets, some with twisted bones, others wanting cigarettes), the fashionista men with their Dolce & Gabbana mini purses and wrap around pitch black sunglasses they wear indoors, the mother and young child pair where the kid gets irritating and gets a slap on the head, and the overly skinny or extra booby tan woman who only smokes half her cigarette, throws it on the floor, and relights a new one. Then there are the backpackers like me who look either lost, excited, tired, hungry, unshowered, or everything all at once (usually the combination) lugging backpacks that could hold an NBA mens basketball player inside with room to spare. See? There's lots to oberve.
On the train from Milan to Nice:
The train ride has been long but quite pleasant. The train left at 11:10am and now it's 3:00pm. I think we're still in Italy but about half an hour ago I looked through the window on my left and saw the beautiful turquoise wavse of the Mediterranean. I can't wait to go swimming and feel the salt dry on my skin.
That afternoon in Nice:
I found my hostel very easily and it's in the perfect location - about 3 minutes from the train station and close to everything. It's on the main street - Jean Medcin (Doctor John). I got there at 4:30, rang the bell and...nothing. Hmmm...I rang the bell again. No answer. I poked my head into the shop next door and asked the lady what to do. She said that check in was at 5:00pm and I'd have to come back in 30 minutes but I could walk around and explore the city. Yeah right, with 25 pounds of stuff. I chose to sit on a street ledge and relax, taking in the atmosphere and watching people pass me on the street. At 5, I met the owner of Chez Patrick Hostel, named Patrick and for good reason, and he was quite nice. I was especially excited that he spoke to me in French even though he knew I was a foreigner.
The hostel was very very clean and my room was great - 4 beds (2 bunks) and a sink, a large window to let the breeze in and a full length mirror. What else does a traveler need? I met 2 of the girls - both from Canada who were also traveling solo. The third roomie was Katy from Australia (right outside Brisbane). I had already planned on meeting with Tal (my Israeli friend who was in Nice for a conference) at 8pm. I had about 2.5 hours to kill before hanging out with him. I decided to explore and go see the ocean immediately. I love the ocean so much; hopefully I'll be able to live next to it someday.
I think Nice is such a perfect city - it has the old section that preserves the culture and it has the boardwalk and clubs for tourists. The ocean was absolutely beautiful and people were sooo relaxed. I explored some of the nearby shops - there's a cafe right across the street from me thats also a Boulangerie (sells breads and pastries). I went back to the hostel and spoke with the two girls from Canada for a while when I turned around and there was my friend Tal behind me smiling. I was so surprised that were were actually meeting in France and that I hadn't seen him in 2 years. crazy. We hugged and I had to switch my brain into Hebrew mode. I was sort of in Italian mode with saying 'si' for 'yes' and I caught myself still saying 'si' the next couple days here in France which was kind of embarrassing. haha.
Tal and I went out and walked around Vieux Nice (the old part) and sat on a bench near the ocean just catching up. He and his family had just finished a road trip where they drove from Paris all the way down to Nice, stopping at the smaller cities. By the time we caught up on some things we needed to rejuvenate with a cup of coffee to stay awake. I ordered us two cappucinos and the waiter told me in very quick French that it would be 35 cents extra since it was dinner time. I said it was fine and translated the conversation for Tal. It felt good to be able to understand what the waiter said since he spoke quickly, probably trying to get me to just say okay and pay more haha. Plus I kind of had the upper hand over Tal since he knows no french. =)
The atmosphere was so nice and all the cafes were open as late as the bars. Nearby there was a gelateria/ice cream place that was constantly packed for the 2 hours we were there. Walking up to it, I saw such weird flavors like Beer (i'm not kidding), Rose, Lavander, Thyme, Tomato basil, Olives, Avocado and more. They also had regular flavors and fancy ones like Ferreo Rocher (hazelnut chocolates in the gold leaf wrapper) and Nutella. I'm curious about the avocado and think about my two roomies from Seattle, Audrey and Yuh-Chi, who were avocado addicts. I'll go back before I leave.
We walked back to my hostel and planned on meeting the next day to go to Cannes.
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