My best friend and I have always talked about the day we’d get to travel Europe together and this year, we decided to make it happen. We started saving for our trip around March, booked our flights in July and finally the day came to travel together through Europe. We woke up early on Tuesday morning to an unexpected surprise, as we were getting ready to leave, we got a notification e-mail from Jet Blue stating our flight had been changed from 10am to 6pm and they had completely rerouted our flight to Dublin. Most of you who have read my previous blog posts or know me personally are probably thinking I fucked that up but I swear, it was not my fault. I’m blaming Hurricane Irma and computer glitches for that one. Anyways, after talking on the phone with the travel agency I booked our flights through for almost two hours, we had a flight from Orlando to Paris. We arrived at the airport almost three hours before our flight. With Hurricane Irma on the move, we weren’t sure if our flight would get delayed or not. Luckily, we missed the rain and were on our way to Paris! Well, Dublin technically because that’s where our flight connection was but you know what I mean.
Our flight to Europe was alright, we flew Aer Lingus whom I’d never flown before. To be honest, I normally fly Emirates everywhere but my best friend wanted a more affordable flight. The flight was smooth, not many turbulence but I was unimpressed to say the least with the airline itself. The wifi didn’t work, they restarted our TV’s in the middle of the ride without warning, there was no place to charge our devices and both the service and food were mediocre. I probably sound really bougie right now but once you fly Emirates anywhere, you’ll understand why I felt that way. I didn’t sleep the entire flight from Orlando to Dublin, I watched a bunch of movies instead since my body didn’t know whether to be on Kuwait time or Florida time. Once we got to Dublin for our connection, we had a couple of hours to spare so we grabbed some food and some Guinness before heading to Paris. After fourteen hours of traveling, we finally landed in France around 4:30 that afternoon. While waiting to get our passports stamped, we met some fellow Floridians whom we talked about the incoming Hurricane and college football with. I was wearing my FSU sweatshirt so I had a couple of people make remarks about our loss to Alabama the previous weekend. After getting through customs and getting our passports stamped, we grabbed our luggage, hopped in a cab and headed to our hostel.
The first thing I noticed about France besides the cold weather, is everything is small. I’ve been to Europe before but I’ve never been to France. We checked into our hostel and piled into a 2X2 foot lift to our room. Lift is another name for what us Americans call an elevator. Our room was really small and the walls were made of cement blocks but we were only staying one night so we didn’t mind. Although we were already exhausted from a long day of traveling, we were starving so we ventured out for some food. We quickly realized after passing about four or five sex shops, that we were in the red light district in Paris. We tried eating at one French restaurants we passed while walking but after sitting there for ten minutes and receiving no service, we decided it wasn’t meant to be so we kept walking. I saw a huge sign on the road that said “french tacos” and who doesn’t like tacos?! We walked in and ordered our food only to realize a french taco isn’t exactly what we would describe as a taco. A French taco is more of a burrito filled with your choice of meat, fries and your sauce of choice. It was interesting, but still good. After eating and walking into some of the sex shops (sorry mom and dad, so awk), we walked back to the hostel. I hadn’t been feeling well, probably because I’d been through five countries in the span of a week with different weather changes so I took the French equivalent to Nyquil and passed out. We woke up that next morning at 6:30, got ready, checked out and walked to the train station. Now, for those of you who’ve met me, y’all know how I get when I’m tired and hangry. Unpleasant as fuck. Between looking for the train station, being hungry, and having to carry my suitcase up and down all types of stairs, my anxiety level was screaming “smoke some weed T” because I was so irritated. After we finally found the right train station, bought our tickets to Nice, drank an XL coffee, and ate some food, I was okay again. When we got on the train to Nice, we got in the wrong cart. So we were on the right train but the actual cart we were sitting in was wrong and since the train was going to split into two directions, we had to get off and find the right cart once we stopped. That was another adventure in itself, we kept getting on the wrong cart but finally realized what the numbers on the side meant in relation to our cart number. We rode first class, but I didn’t see a major difference between first and second class. The seats were a little more cushioned in first class and there was more leg room but nothing super fancy. I played on Tamara’s iPad the entire train ride while she read her book, a five hour train ride to Southern France gets boring really quick.
We arrived in Nice, France around 2:30 in the afternoon. We decided to be responsible and get our train tickets to Cinque Terre ahead of time so we wouldn’t have to rush on Sunday. We stayed in Nice for three days and the weather was uh-maze-ing, it wasn’t blazing hot like Kuwait and it wasn’t freezing cold like Paris. After checking into our hotel, we changed into our bathing suits and walked to the beach. We were about a five minute walk from the train station and a ten minute walk to the beach. Along the way we passed a bunch of different shops, it was like an outside mall similar to the Prime Outlets in Orlando minus the “outlet” part. The water at the beach was beautiful but there was no sand like the beaches most people are used to. Instead, the beaches had rocks that were pretty to look at but painful to walk on. We paid 16€ to lay out on the beach chairs at one of the beach clubs at the French Rivera, which was 100% worth it. We had our own waiter so we ordered a pitcher of sangria to split, only I drank one glass and my wine-o-holic bestie drank the rest. After the beach club closed around 6:30, we found a spot to eat by our hotel that had an amazing salmon salad. I fell asleep around 10 that night, Tamara said I was being lame but I was just exhausted. We woke up around noon the next day and Tamara said she wanted to explore the town. Little did I know, explore the town meant a walk around the city and 213 steps up to a place called Parc de la Colline du Chateau. We ate breakfast at a locally owned place called Le Circuit, the family who owned it were so cute and nice compared to a majority of the French people we encountered. The French may come off as rude to most of Americans but they’re not being rude, they’re definition of polite is just different. We walked in and out of boutiques on the way, the French have a rather extravagant but urban style. As we walked up and down steps, we found the prettiest waterfall and views from the top of the Parc de la Chateau. There was a bunch of older cement statues and stuff throughout the Parc that were really neat. We took a break for watermelon Popsicles and some water before exploring more of the Parc de la Chateau. At the bottom, across the street was the #ilovenice sign. We wanted to take some pictures with it so we ran across the street and I climbed onto the hashtag part of it. After snapping a couple of photos, we decided to walk back to the hotel so I could finish my homework.
By the time I finished it was already 10:30pm so we changed into some casual maxi dresses and walked around looking for a place that was still serving food. We found a place near the beach that sold food and drinks until 4 in the morning, it was super fancy. We bought a cheap bottle of Chardonnay, I ordered the best Sea Bass I’ve ever eaten in my life and Tamara got the pasta. After eating and drinking for a few hours, we walked to a small little music bar. We ended up staying until 3:30 in the morning. When we got there, we walked to a small table in the back so we could continue talking. Tamara’s hair caught the attention of one guy who was Lebanese, born in Detroit but raised in Southern France. He was really nice and talked with us for a few minutes. There were a couple of drunk French guys there who wanted to dance with us but we told them no, since we’re both in relationships. The music was really different, the DJ played a lot of old American songs combined with popular French songs. It was my first time going to a bar in another country that didn’t play what we would consider our “top hits.” We danced with each other and enjoyed the moment of being out together in France while drinking whiskey and coke drinks. When we got back to the room we decided to attempt to stay up and watch the sun rise at the beach. While we did end up walking to the beach and we did end up staying up, we did not actually get to see the sun rise at the beach. We ended up going to breakfast at the same restaurant from the day before and eating the same thing, two coffees and two vegetarian omelettes. The young girl who worked there was about our age and spoke good English so we conversed with her a little bit before leaving. We stayed at the beach for a few hours, laying out at the same beach club from the first day because I’m bougie and wanted to lay out on a beach chair. I attempted to get in the water but it was freezing cold and the rocks hurt my feet, I ended up tripping and falling in anyways though. Definitely invest in water shoes if y’all head to the beach in France. When I got out of the water, I laid on my beach chair and tanned while listening to music. Tamara fell asleep, I was a little hungover from the night before combined with the sun so I couldn’t sleep. Around noon, we headed back to the hotel because it was about to rain. We got back to the room and I showered then popped one of the French NyQuil equivalent pills and passed out until 8:30 that evening. It was our last day in Nice before leaving to Cinque Terre in Italy early the next morning so we wanted to just relax. I slept on and off until about 4:30 Sunday morning while Tamara watched Narcos on Netflix. We got ready and re-packed our bags and headed to the train station around 7:20 Sunday morning. We had some time so we went to Paul and got some breakfast. I ordered a quiche and a coffee while Tamara ordered a fresh squeezed orange juice and pizza. The process at the train station went much smoother than it did a few days ago, we had our tickets and just had to get on the train which we did with no issues. Right now, I’m sitting on the train next to Tamara who’s sleeping. We just cleared Italy and are headed to Milan first, then we’ll catch our train to Cinque Terre. We’ll come back to France at the end of the week so we can explore Paris a little more before leaving to head home. So far, we’re six days into the trip and we’re having a blast. Tamara has been my best friend since I was twelve years old and I’m grateful to have a friend that’s put up with me this long. I’ve decided to write about each place we visit versus one long summarization of our two week long trip. I hope you guys enjoyed our little adventure through now and don’t forget to subscribe. Until my next post, inshalla.