Our weekend in the French Rivera was great despite some not so wonderful weather. On our train from Genoa to Ventimiglia, the border station between Italy and France, we met some American couples from Boston and Durham. On the next train to Nice we met Trevor, a kid our age from Colorado who was traveling through Europe for a month. He happened to be staying at the same hostel as us. When we arrived in Nice, Bryan’s Friend Madeleine was at the station waiting for us. She is studying French in Cannes and came to spend the weekend with us. We checked into the hostel and were told we were in room 10, off of the garden. We went to the garden and there were a few rooms lettered A and B, but none of them were numbered. We double checked with the lady at the desk and she said it was to the right of the stairs. We tried our key in an unmarked door and it worked, but were still not sure if this is really our room because it had 8 beds instead of 6. Whatever, we had a bed and we were hungry. After checking into the hostel we went out to dinner at a Chinese restaurant. On the way there, we stopped at an ATM to get cash and Trevor’s card was eaten by the machine. Could anything else go wrong today? After dinner Courtney, Bryan, Madeleine, Trevor and myself went out to a bar called Wayne’s that someone recommended to us. It was so much fun! At the end of the night we decided to walk to the beach and put our feet in the Mediterranean. It was freezing and we all took a couple of spills trying to climb back up the hill of pebbles from the water’s edge to the “beach”. We came back to the hostel and wanted to shower, but realized that there was no shower head. We went to the front desk and they said that someone would come fix it in the morning. Morning came, still no shower head. Water just trickled out of a pipe about thigh high. We affectionately named it the Gollum shower head, because thats what you would look like trying to shower in this thing. We went to the desk again and they gave us a key to another room we could shower in and said it would be fixed soon. We all finally got showers and while we were leaving the hostel to go to Monaco, the man at the desk said the shower was fixed. That’s funny, we were just in the room and no one came in to fix anything. But we believed him and went to the train station to buy our tickets. The next train was in an hour so we came back to the hostel, which was right across the street from the station. Curious, we went to check on the status of our shower…still no shower head. So we went to the desk, again, and the man said he would come look at it. He walked into the room, went to the bathroom and said, “oh, now i understand.” Apparently “we do not have a shower head in our shower” was lost in translation. A few minutes later he came back with a shower head. We asked him to confirm that we were in room 10 and he said yes we were. Finally living in a first world country again, we went to the station and took the train to Monaco. We visited the Oceanography museum which also had a pretty great aquarium. They had a shark petting tank. They didn’t really behave like sharks though. Some of them acted as if they had run into the side of the tank a few too many times. Later we went gambling in Monte Carlo at the casino. I allowed myself €20 to play the slot machines. I cashed out when I was down to €16 before I lost everything. Grandma Kaye-I guess your gambling luck is not genetic! When i went to cash in my ticket I did have a streak of “luck”. Someone had left a 5 euro bill in the machine, so in theory I ended up with more money than I started with!
While we were leaving the casino, someone pulled up in a fancy sports car and everyone outside was watching him park in front of the casino. When he got out he slipped the valet a €500-I’d really like to know who the hell this guy was. I’d also like to officially change my career path to become a casino valet. We went back to Nice and ate dinner. That night we went to Wayne’s again, and like the night before, ended up at the beach. This time some of us were crazy enough to go swimming. At least this time we could come back and take a shower. When we came back to the hostel we noticed that the rooms had been labeled with computer paper with numbers written on them in orange highlighter…seems legit. Only problem was our room was labeled #60, and the room next to us was #10. So were still not sure if we were in the right room or not.
The next day we went to the beach in Antibes. Our beach day was a bit spoiled by some unwelcome rain and clouds, but it was still a great day. I saw a guy walking a flock of puli dogs, so that pretty much made my day right there. I also had my first bagel and cream cheese in 4 months and had an awesome dinner of fish soup and mussels, so I would say it was a pretty successful Easter all together. We had a bit of an adventure getting back to train station, but eventually we got back to Nice.
In the morning, we went and explored Nice. We went to this park on a hill, where there was a waterfall. We came back into Old Nice and had lunch before saying goodbye to our new friend Trevor and heading back to Genoa. The train ride back was a big struggle. We kept almost missing or actually missing trains and the one train we had intended to take from Ventimiglia to Genoa was sold out. Seeing as it was the monday after the Easter holiday, not buying tickets in advance was poor planning on our part. We eventually made it back to Genoa, even though it was much later than we wanted or planned. Now its time to buckle down and crank out our final project that is due next Wednesday.