It seems as if I spend half of my time abroad packing and unpacking. I have even stopped fully unpacking because as soon as I unpack I have to pack all over again. Even though living out of a suitcase isn’t an ideal situation, I can’t complain because I am traveling the world every weekend and would rather live out of a suitcase than stay in one place for too long.
This weekend it was off to the French Riviera to visit Nice, Monaco and Cannes. We left late Thursday night and after a long bus ride arrived at our hostel in Nice. We immediately checked in and passed out. We woke up Friday morning and dressed to the nines to go to Monaco and the famous Monte-Carlo Casino. Immediately upon arrival I noticed the enormous and elaborate yachts. I also noticed all of the cars, Ferraris, Bentleys and Rolls-Royces, just to name a few. We walked around, took pictures next to the cars and boats and schemed possible ways to get on one. We continued on our way up some hills and saw some gorgeous views of the whole city.
As we were walking with our group to get lunch we passed a sushi restaurant and being sushi lovers deprived of our favorite food in Rome there was no argument when we decided to eat there.
After indulging in too many sushi rolls we made our way over to the Monte-Carlo Casino. It was very elaborate and nothing at all how I imagined. It was very fancy and upscale but very low key and nothing like any other casino I have been in. We played some roulette and watched people do really well and others do not so well. We also saw some famous French basketball players. After some of us losing and others winning we decided to call it a night and head back to Nice to get ready to go out.
We started the night with a champagne pre game and proceeded to dance the night away. There were a lot of people from UMD’s study abroad program and it was so much fun all being together; it was a little taste of College Park and that was very much welcomed. We then went out to a bar called Wayne’s. I ran into several people here, the first of which were two of my friends from high school who study abroad in Florence but were in Nice for the weekend. I then ran into my best friend from UMD, Kat, and attacked her with so much excitement that she fell over and we were yelled at by the bouncer. We retreated to the bathroom and hugged it out for about 20 minutes before rejoining society.
There was more dancing and hugging until we finally called it a night and all went home. The next day we woke up early to go to Cannes and lay out in the sun on the beach, something very welcomed after rainy weather yet again in Rome. The town was a very cute beach town, which reminded me of my beach house at home, except a more posh French version. We laid in the sun and attempted to go in the water but it was too cold to even dip our toes in so we chatted and people watched and came to realize that we were on a nude beach. After seeing way too much nudity for one day we went for an early dinner and then headed home.
Our voyage home was not easy though. We had gotten on the train in the wrong direction and had no idea. We were just sitting and all talking when finally we noticed that we were stopped, and had been for about thirty minutes. We then realized that we were the only people on the train and that there wasn’t even a driver. Being a huge scary movie fan, this seemed like the perfect plot for a horror film. After many people freaked out and we attempted to figure out how to get off the train, over the tracks and onto the platform on the other side of the road we were finally greeted by the driver who told us the train would be heading back in the direction we needed in about ten minutes. Crisis averted. We eventually made it home.
Again we started the night off we more champagne and more dancing and made our way back to Wayne’s. We met up with Kat again and I met some pretty interesting people. I met everyone from a French man, an English man, an Egyptian man and an American, all within ten minutes and ten feet from each other. I always say that one of my favorite parts of traveling is meeting new people and this trip definitely fulfilled that. Not only did I meet people out in Nice but I also met other study abroad students from Florence who were on the trip with us and am actually seeing them again this weekend. It’s nice to have friends in every corner of the world.
Our last day was very relaxing as we went to a nearby beach in Nice and did some more sunning. Before going home we went on one last adventure up some hills to a beautiful waterfall with amazing panoramic views of Nice. We let the water from the falls splash and cool us off before making the trip back down the hill and to our hostel to get on the bus and make the journey home.
On our way home we took a little detour to the Fragonard Perfume factory in Èze. We learned how they make there fragrances and body washes and lotions then sampled their amazing perfumes and picked up some souvenirs for the family. After a quick walk to the local town and a sugar crepe it was back on the bus until 4 a.m. when we finally arrived back in Rome.
I especially enjoyed this trip because it was so much more relaxing than the others we have been on. Going to all of these different cities every weekend we are constantly on the go and doing all of the touristy things and seeing all of the sights. It was nice to do a little sightseeing but get to relax during the day and not feel rushed to get a million things done at once. It was definitely an enjoyable weekend with some necessary downtime, and the tan lines and freckles I came home with are definitely a plus.
“We wander for distraction but we travel for fulfillment.”- Hilaire Belloc