French Riviera Day 1, Nice

Continued from Vienna Day 3.

A couple of pictures from my last night in Vienna.


So this is how it works. There are guys who carry around bundles of roses to sell to tourists. This guy came in and immediately gave the waitress some roses, and then she didn’t bother him about selling roses inside the cafe. The guy hawking newspaper should take note….except, nothing romantic about newspapers.


After I had finished up blogging, packed up to go back to my hotel, I then struck up a conversation with this couple from Canada a table from me. They were on their honeymoon and we spent some time comparing notes about our travels so far. Showed them the blog, the Oktoberfest page, and they just loved it.

Now it’s time to move on to Nice. The day started pretty early as I had a late morning flight.


The maid will get all of my left over Czech Crowns, but I threw in an Euro just so I am not a total ass.


Of course, stairs.


I had to take the subway to a connecting station, where I can connect to a direct train(CAT) to the airport. True to form, the train station is under construction, so when I surfaced with my luggage from the subway, the CAT terminal was no where to be found.


Ended up having to walk through 4 blocks worth of construction zone to find the CAT.


They really do make it tough on travelers with luggage with all the construction.


This train terminal only serves the direct nonstop train to the airport. I’d imagine most riders going to the airport are flying. I’d imagine most ridesrs to the airport have luggage of some sort. Why the fuck do you not have an escalator going both ways on your airport only train terminal?


At least the trains were very nice.


Escalator at the airport. Why is there a divider in the middle so that everyone has to rotate their luggage sideways? Why????


Oh….this is just fucking great. I am not joking when I say that every other airline’s check-in desk had no lines. I see about 100 high school kids standing in front of BA’s check-in desk(in fact, their group was so big that my lens wasn’t wide enough). Yup, they are all in line in front of me. As I snapped this photo, one of the girl approached me and asked if I spoke English and why I took a picture of them…..errrrr…..awkward…..

I told her yes that I am an American, spoke English and the photo was for my photo diary to show that I am stuck in line behind all of them. They thought the photo diary idea was pretty cool. At that point they told me they were all going to Cambridge in England for a week as part of their English language class. Then they started crowding around me like I am some sort of space alien and fired away at me with their questions so they could practice their English. They asked me if I watched Two and A Half Men, Scrubs, Simpsons, How I Met Your Mother, etc. I said no to all of the above except for Scrubs and Simpsons. Then they quizzed me on all sort of Youtube videos that I have never heard of. They also thought that I was in my early 20s. Is that due to my lack of maturity? Somehow, this went on for more than 30 minutes, and before we knew it, all the rest of their classmates had checked in, and it was our turn to go to the counters. They asked if they could read my travel blog, and I told them it’s for adults only since it’s adult themed, crass and politically incorrect. None of that seemed to phase them, but then I told them that I cuss a lot in it and they agreed that it’s best that they didn’t read it.


Here they are posing for my photo blog. Didn’t their parents teach them not to talk to strangers?


The girls asked me if I had tried some sort of Mozart chocolate candy while in Vienna. Apparently, it’s THE chocolate to get because they were bringing a bunch of them to their host families in England. I found these at the airport shops, so I figured that I’d buy one and give them a try.


Mediocre breakfast at the airport.


The Vienna airport is really strange. The security check is right at the gate and each gate gets their own security line. Seems like a bad use of resources. That’s not even the worst part. The worst part is the fact that after you eat and buy a bottle of water, you can’t bring that past security! What were they thinking. Not to mention, you can’t just go through security and chill out at a cafe. You’ll have to eat quickly, go through the security queue, then wait at the gate where there is nothing but chairs. Terrible system.


Saw this article in High Times, BA’s airplane magazine(I know what they were smoking when they picked the name). They did an interview on Foo Fighters during SXSW. That picture in the magazine is literally two blocks from my condo. They also mentioned the secret show that the Foo Fighters played at Stubb’s. Very interesting to me because I actually heard that show. During SXSW, I had opened up my balcony window to check the outside temperature, then I thought that I heard a Foo Fighters song. Listened more closely, and confirmed my suspicion. Walked over to Stubb’s and stood outside listening for about 45 minutes while they jammed it out. Awesome!


80 million condoms eh.


Mozart, I am going to eat you.


Not bad.


I hate not being able to just disembark right into the terminal. The bus always drops you off at some far away place from where you are going.


See! After getting dropped off by the first bus, I walked through a maze of hallways only to wait for another bus to a different terminal.


Compare this picture with the one above. The LCD screen kept on refreshing itself. It was quick enough that I couldn’t notice with my eyes, but my camera was quick enough to catch it in the act.


Cock!(Top Gear reference) The truck got in the way of my photo.


I was trying to take a picture of this Airbus A380, the biggest passenger plane in service right now. First time for me to see one.


Chicken salad sandwich and crawfish(didn’t know they eat that over here) and mango sandwich. I loved PRET from when I first encountered them last year in London.


Long time readers of my travel blogs will remember this. This is Terminal 5 in Heathrow, an exclusive shopping mall that you can only get into if you’ve got an International plane ticket.


Tons of high end stores fill the terminal. As mentioned before, Terminal 5 is an airport attached to a shopping mall, and not the other way around.


A miniature sized Diet Coke can on the plane. It actually says Diet Coke instead of Coke Light.


I see the French Riviera!

During the flight, I struck up a conversation with the girl(JH) sitting next to me. JH’s a computer engineer and she works with the computer systems for Rolls Royce jet engines. Awesome, I love jet engines. I asked her if all of her insider knowledge about jet engines influences on what plane she chooses to fly on. She likes Boeing and Airbus planes just fine. She’s iffy about commuter jets, but Gulfstreams are OK in her book. She’ll avoid helicopters because she doesn’t think their systems are up to par. Good to know.


The first thing that I saw when I got out of my gate. Trust me, all of them were stunningly hot. In fact, the guy who was walking behind me said “Girls, gorgeous!” I’m sorry for the blurry photo. I have no idea what they were there to promote, nor do I care.

My original plan was to take the bus from Nice Airport into Nice. It was not an ideal option because I didn’t know which bus to take and whether the walk to my hotel would be luggage friendly. I found out that my new friend JH was going to rent a car and drive into Nice because she needed to pick up her colleagues tomorrow. I asked if I could hitch a ride with her into town, and in return I would help her navigate the streets of Nice. She agreed. I later found out that she agreed because she figured that I wouldn’t kill her since I went through airport security without a weapon. I’d prefer to think that it’s really because I give off the  genuinely nice guy vibe!

We went to the baggage carousal, she got her bag first, then when I got mine, she disappeared. Well, I guess I got ditched. Oh well. Back to my original plan of getting a bus ticket. Found the bus ticket counter, got a ticket into town and looked around for the correct bus terminal. Then I spotted JH, and it looked like she was looking for me. I called out to her and apparently, we had somehow just gotten separated in the crowd and she wasn’t trying to ditch me on purpose. I decided to ditch my bus plan and go back to the plan of hitching a ride from her.


Finally on the way to the car rental place. This was after another bus ride to a different terminal. JH had rented a car with a navigation system, so we are hoping that it will do most of the hard lifting for us on finding our way around Nice.


The car.


The car had two rear mirrors inside, one normal and one convex for blind spots. What the car didn’t have was a navigation system, doh! The rental place lied, and apparently this car didn’t come with a navigation system. When JH went back to ask for one, the only option was to upgrade to an ultra premium car(I think it was a Porsche Panamera) that was so expensive that you are better off buying a brand new stand alone sat-nav. At that point, we decided to just use our iPhones and good old paper map.


The way into Nice from the airport is actually really easy. The highway that runs along the coastline will take you right into the city in about 10 minutes or so.


The problem lies in where to turn after reaching Nice. Many of the streets have no signs, and when they do have signs, they are really obscure. Well, that’s where I come into my role of being a navigator.


We just turned into the maze like streets of Nice.


Then we accidentally turned into a bus lane and got honked at by a bus trying to run us down.

We reached my hotel first and I got dropped off. We made plans to meet up for dinner after she checks-in to her hotel. I think it’s generally agreed upon all single travelers that traveling alone is fine and dandy until it comes to eating alone. Eating alone sucks.


My home for the next few days.


Tiny elevator, again. Or, maybe it’s infinitely big.


Room was actually very big. I would call it the size of a small hotel room in the US, which would make it a giant room here in Europe.


Full sized shower. How ironic that the physically big Germans have small showers while the physically smaller French have big showers.


No bidets here. Look at how crazy I look in the mirror taking that photo! I am an odd one…


I even get my own balcony to look out onto the streets of Nice. Nice.


Walking the streets of Nice to meet my new friend to have dinner. The tourist season is over and most of the streets at night were very empty.


Look! Two Audi 90s parked together. You’ll never see this in the US since they are so rare over there. For those of you not in the know, I do endurance racing in an Audi 90 race car with several of my friends.


Before dinner, my new friend JH had to repark her car. She was in a two hour parking lot, and decided to move the car into an underground garage.


It was a very tight fit. I don’t think a hummer would fit in here. In fact, she just barely nicked her side mirror at the end of the tunnel.


Done. It was a very high tech parking garage with a sign at the entrance telling you how many spots were available. There are even sensors for each spot to indicate whether it was already taken. You can see the signals by the red and green lights on the ceiling.


We decided to walk to Rue Masséna, a pedestrian street, to have dinner.


Streets were generally pretty empty all over town. It’s obvious that it’s the low tourist season.


Place Masséna, this is the main square of Nice. Found some more people here.


Rue Masséna, starving, so we better find a place to eat here quickly. I guess this is where all the people congregate at night.


Typical, girl pick restaurants not by what’s on the menu, but by “feel”. Sure, why not.


Everyone who sat around us were French. I guess we found a local spot.


What’s France without some wine.

 


My Lasagna shows up, and it was huge. Believe or not, “The Eater” couldn’t finish it all…. I know, I am eating Italian food in France. Sue me.


Always have to get the Tiramisu.

At one point during dinner, two girls came by to sit down at a table next to us, but JH had to move her chair so they could squeeze into their table. Without even trying to ask JH to move her chair a little in French, the girls just spoke to her in English. Do we really stick out like a sore thumb that we are American tourists? As I was voicing the previous statement out loud, one of the French girls said, “It’s because I can hear it in your tone from your conversation. I don’t even have to hear the words, but it’s just based on the tone. It’s not like the British, they have more of a nasal tone.” I think these girls prefer the American English accent better than the the Brits’ accents.

Then it came time to pay. As the check showed up, I pulled out my wallet, then JH took a look at the check and said that she’ll take care of it! Awesome! Expense accounts for the win. Even then, she didn’t have to do that and it was very nice of her. :-) After dinner, we went our separate ways with the happy feeling that we each had a good dining companion for the evening.


Party on, brother!

I love meeting new people when I am traveling. It’s so much fun to be able to just connect with random strangers so easily. I wonder if I am able to bring some of the same mindset back to Austin with me. Must figure out how to bottle that magic.

To be continued at French Riviera Day 2, Cannes, Eze and Nice.

One thought on “French Riviera Day 1, Nice

  1. Its funny that you always order tiramisu now, after I consistently ordering tiramisu back in Italy. :) nice pictures back there!

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