Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The French and Italian Riviera

Nice, France

I know we told some of you that we were going to Israel, but we ended up in Nice, France instead. Besides having a useless Israel guidebook weighing down my backpack, it was great how it worked out. I would recommend the trip to anyone.

We landed in Nice Sunday Morning and went outside to catch a bus into town. They have several buses to take into town but I think the best one is the 23. Its only 1 Euro and takes about a half hour total. There is also a 98 and 99 bus into Nice but they are 4 Euro. Once into Nice, you can take a tram (light rail) around the town.

We stayed at a little hotel called Hotel De Kent. It was about 50 Euro a night and was worth just about that. I was amazed at how many small dingy hotels they have over there. I mean, it works for me since we don't have any money but I was surprised so many other people travel that way. The food in France, especially the bread was great. We were content just eating a fresh baguette and cheese most of the time.

In Nice there was a really cool market selling flowers and local food called the cours saleya. It was a lot of fun to walk through but pretty expensive if you want to buy anything. On Mondays the market turns into a flea and antique market. We walked through but we felt a little out of place with all the old people walking around.

The beaches in Nice are beautiful but are different from anything i have ever been on. Instead of sand the beach is filled with smooth rocks. While it may have been a little bit more uncomfortable to lay on, it was nice not to have to wash sand from your hair for the next week. 

I tried to edit pictures for topless bathers

One of the great things about Nice is that they have a boardwalk that runs for miles. They have free bikes that you can use but you have to sign up for it.  We never figured out how to do it so instead we rented rollerblades.  We paid about 5 Euro and got to keep them overnight.  


 For some reason we thought it would be a great idea to rollerblade from Nice to Monaco.  It was only 15 km away so we figured we could do it, it just might take us a little while.  Little did we know that it was all up hill.  


Needless to say it was really hard and we never made it past Nice.  

Italy and Cinque Terre

After a few days in France we decided to move on.  We ended up going to Cinque Terre.  Cinque Terre  is made up of 5 cities that are set on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean Sea that, as far as i know, can only be reached by train. They have a path connecting all five cities that you can hike.  It is a national park so you have to pay an entrance fee of 5 euro per person but it is well worth it.  

The hike is pretty demanding.  It is supposed to take 6 hours and that is for people who are in shape.  The trail goes straight up and straight down in some parts.  While we were there the path between two of the cites was closed so we had to use the foot path that the locals use.  I am glad we did it but it was hard!

In the middle of our hike we saw signs for a beach and decided to follow them.  The path took us straight down the mountain.  After we were almost to the bottom, we noticed that we weren't just headed to any beach, we were headed to a nude beach.  After debating whether or not to turn around, we decided to keep going.  We had been hiking for 4 hours and the only way back was straight up the mountain so there was no way i was turning around without at least jumping in the water first.  We got to the beach and found a secluded spot where we didn't have to see anyone.  The beach was great and luckily not very crowded.

On our way back from the beach we stumbled upon somebody's house.  We started taking to the occupants and found out one of the guys was from Argentina.  Grady started speaking to him in spanish and asked him if he had any mate (an argentinian tea) and the guy loved us after that.  He told us that there was an easier way to get back to civilization without having to hike straight up the mountain.  There was an abandoned tunnel that the trains used to pass through.  If we just walked a mile through the tunnel we could get back to the city.  This was the tunnel.

If you can't really see anything don't worry we couldn't either.  The guy gave us a flashlight that didn't really work and told Grady to either stay to the right or stay away from the right, it was all in spanish so we couldn't really tell.  It took us about twenty minutes to get through the tunnel and i don't think i have ever been more scared.  At one point i was certain that the tunnel wasn't abandoned and that we were going to get hit by a train.

We eventually made it out of the tunnel and back home safely.  We hadn't planned on going to France and Italy but i am glad we got the opportunity.  We had a lot of fun and hopefully we will be able to visit  again soon!

About Us

Dryden, New York, United States
We love to travel, especially Lauren, she really loves it. She loves it so much that she works at Delta so we can fly for free. When we go on a trip we try and figure out how to get around and what to do while we are there and of course how to keep to a budget so we can do another trip soon. This is our first attempt at a Blog to share what we have found and hopefully help other people in their travels.