Nice is kinda nice

Trip Start May 15, 2007
Trip End Jun 04, 2007

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Flag of France  ,
Monday, May 21, 2007

After the giant ticket reservation fiasco, it was nice to chill out on the train from Barcelona to Montpellier to Nice. My first look at the French Mediterranean coast was an awesome experience. I had never seen anything like it. Mountains on one side, the sparkling sea on the other, and little French villages tucked in between.

Note: Mom! Nice is not pronounced "nice." It's "nees". :)

Our hostel was located a block or so away from the train station. The family that ran it was very sweet and helpful. We shared a room with 5 other people, making it 8 beds total. There was a group of Australians looking to go to Cannes (about a 30-minute train ride from Nice) for the Cannes Film Festival, which was going on at the time. One of them got to see Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie walk down the red carpet!

But we decided to skip Cannes since we were American and were sick of hearing about Brad and Angelina. So we went touring in Nice.

The first thing we saw (aside from the narrow French streets) was Cathedrale Orthodoxe Russe Saint-Nicolas (St. Nicholas' Russian Orthodox Cathedral). It was completed by Tsar Nicholas in 1912 and is the oldest Russian Orthodox cathedral in Europe. Apparently there was a large Russian influence along the French Riviera at the end of the 19th century. Although we couldn't take pictures inside, the church contains beautiful frescoes, artifacts, woodwork and icons. We also learned that there are no pews in Russian Orthodox Churches because the congregation stands the entire time. People still go to church there, like all the beautiful cathedrals we visited.

We tried going to the Museum of Modern Art, but it was closed. However, there were some great sculptures outside so we made the most of it.

The Nice harbor and beach are absolutely beautiful, but very rocky. All three of us are serious beach bums but not when we're backpacking and only have skimpy cheap Walmart towels to protect us from the rocks.

There was a neat WWII memorial carved beautifully into a cliff facing the Mediterranean.

Nice has a quaint little flea market a block over from the beach, where we browsed and enjoyed a Coca-Cola Light at a cafe. I should also mention that the pizza in Nice was AMAZING.

There was a laundromat next door to the hostel, so we decided to wash some clothes. While we were in there, a beggar girl came in and bothered us for money...."MONey...MONey...MONey..." she wouldn't leave us alone, even after I yelled "NO!" in her face. She only left after she grabbed a shirt I was going to throw away. Annoying.

Lessons learned:

1. Nice beaches are ROCKY

2. French pizza is GOOD

3. I still don't know how to get beggars to leave us alone

4. Australians go on holiday for 6 weeks at a time. Very enticing!
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