September 19, 2012

Confessions of the Euro-fluenced: Days 77-79

Visiting Nice, France, is like stepping back in time to the 1990s, visiting Ocean City, and befriending the Russian mafia at the same time. Oh, and you and your mafia friends MUST go rollerblading together. All. The. Time. AND assume you are super cool doing it. Nice is totally rad.

Don't get me wrong about the rollerblades. It took me a good couple of years to save up enough pennies to buy them. And suddenly in 2001, admittedly a  little after the rollerblade epidemic, I finally purchased my first and only pair. Recently, a very good friend of ours helped us move out of our Princeton apartment. Upon seeing my rollerblades, barely used, in the original box, he proceeded to ask  "Uh, Melissa, why do you STILL  have your rollerblades? Shouldn't you just throw them out? Is it really worth packing them in a U-Haul in New Jersey, UNpacking them in Colorado, packing them back up in the U-Haul a year later, and finally UNpacking them in Portland?"

So, this blog is dedicated to all those who think its still cool to rollerblade in 2012.
(not to be confused with the ALWAYS cool and now retro rollerskates)

This blog is dedicated to the future of rollerblading.
(I give it 4 years.)

This blog is even dedicated to you, Victor, who helped me remember the significance of rollerblades.

(Andrew says rollerblading may even be alive and well certain parts of California! And knowing Portland... there as well.)

In accordance with this blog's dedication to rollerblades, I have included quite a number of photos of Nice's rollerblading trend.... It even has its own store!

Also, there is nothing wrong with befriending the Russian mafia in Nice. We just saw many, many Eastern European there. Ok, maybe not all of them were Russian and not all of them were mafia...  (thank you, Hollywood, for that stereotype). But  with all joking aside, most of them were couples consisting of a young, blonde, 20-something girls clinging to the arm of an old, wrinkled, 60-something man. So maybe not all stereotypes are false?

We had a pretty nice hotel room with a balcony. I've found that European hotel rooms are not that great when compared to US standards. They are all very small, with square pillows, toilets that don't flush properly, showers that flood the entire bathroom floor and that make telephone booths look large, TVs the size of a lunchbox, air conditioning that may or may not work, and stairwells that do not have lights in them. However, this room scored high with me... Mini fridge! 25-inch-ish TV! Hair dryer! A decent shower! 

But now let's chat about the very unique elevator in the hotel. In one of the reviews on TripAdvisor, someone wondered if the elevator was in The Guinness Book of World Records for being the smallest on the planet. And while I thought the comment was very cheesy and unnecessarily poetic for a review, I have now witnessed what the reviewer meant and have even thought it important enough to share it with my dear readers. Seriously, picture two coffins, side by side, standing on end. I would walk straight in the elevator first, stand in place still facing the same direction, and then Andrew would follow. There was no moving to the side, or even turning around to press the button (it was sort of like a blind-fumble-hand-behind-my -back type of button push)...  All the while wondering if we even pushed the correct floor. Then we would wait it out.  After six rather bumpy bumps, we knew we had arrived at our floor. With backpacks on our backs, riding the elevator was an even more comical situation (I sure hope the pictures convey how small it was...). I would walk straight in and flatten my face onto the wall in front of me... Andrew would walk in and give me one final push into the wall, fumble around for the button, and then we were off on our bumpy ride!! Course, we could have chosen to walk up the five flights of un-lit stairs instead of taking the fun elevator ride. It was a win-win type of situation either way. 

Changing topics... When a city advertises 'pebble' beach, be aware... Be very aware. By using the word 'pebble,' what they MAY in fact mean is a beach filled with 'large, medium, small, or super sharp tiny rocks.' While the 'pebble' beach was very pretty, the only time we decided to venture onto it was to walk, fully shoed, across the rocky turf to see how warm the water was. Thankfully, I've already had my beach time in Lagos and sun time in Toledo and didn't need to burrow down on Nice's 'pebble' beach to fulfill that need. I feel a bit sorry for those that did try to spend the day laying on the rocks. I think some even brought thin mattresses to lay on. Maybe it's just me, but I prefer the type of beach where one does not have to wear steel-toed hiking boots into the water or drag along a mattress to lay on.

Old town Nice was very pretty. We left the map in our pocket and wandered around and around. When we saw a narrow street, we went down it. If there were a bunch of people down the alley, we went down it. If there were stairs, we usually went up them. We discovered an ultra-femme-chic-skull type clothing store. We discovered a piano museum in a very sweet old mansion. We climbed and climbed to the highest peak to witness a beautiful sunset. We saw some very cool beaded hanging lights. I ate the biggest ball of mozzarella that I have ever seen. We also tried to figure out what the many 'creative' and 'interesting' sculptures around town were (pictures below).

All in all, no expectations = a great time.
>Food 0
>Location 1
>Activities 1
>Comfort 1
>Hotel 1
The Turner FLACH Rating? A totally rad 4 stars.


[Added later]

Ok, so I wrote much of the above while we were still in Nice... 


I spoke a LITTLE too soon when I was making fun of and wondering why people would go to the hassle of trying to have fun on a beach filled with huge rocks.

UM. Well...

I'm proud to admit that on the final day in Nice, Andrew and I donned our bathing suits, borrowed two beach mattresses, towels, and an umbrella, and spent the day on the 'pebble' beach. And might I add that it was delightfully sublime?! The water was clear and smooth and warm. The sun was accompanied by a slight breeze. And it was rather therapeutic listening the waves dragging the rocks back into the sea. I think I may even admit that we would be happy to do it again.

After all, who wants to wash sand out of every crack and orifice for the week following their vacation? I'll take fist-sized pebbles over sand ANY day...

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