Taking the train from Montpellier over Marseille to Nizza, and eventually Monaco is considered as one of the most beautiful rides along the French southern coast. With its many harbours, beautiful beaches and charming smaller cities in between, the scenery reminds the attentive traveller of Jean Girault’s “Le Gendarme de Saint-Tropez”. Taking that train ride meant embracing the French Riviera one last time before leaving for Italy, followed by Greece.
Monday, September 3rd
When entering the train, I had bought some coffee, which was way too hot considering the early morning heat, that was meant to accumulate even more in the course of the day, but which still tasted pleasantly good. While having small sips from my cup that became bigger with the amount of time passing by, I looked through the window on my right onto the beautiful landscape that rushed past. In less than two hours I was meant to arrive in Nice and it seemed like I could already smell the salty sea and the small alleys with their cafés in the historic city centre, though the latter might have been due to the coffee which I had finished by then.
I stepped out of the sheltered train station into the midday sun and let the first impression of Nice have its effect on me. A man approached me to ask if I had a lighter, which I gave him, and when he returned it, I started to make my way to the hostel I was staying at for two nights. It was only a ten-minute walk both from the train station and the beach away and was located directly in the old town. After successfully checking-in, making my bed and having something small to eat, I went out again to have a first look at the city, mainly a flea market that was located directly at the beach promenade and from which I continued to explore the city until late in the afternoon.
As I got back to the hostel a small group of people was sitting outside the hostel’s terrace, smoking and vividly talking, I approached them and one of the men, whom I had met in my dorm earlier, offered me a seat. I then got to know Cara, ongoing archaeology student from Vienna and full-time art lover who offered me to visit the well-known Matisse Museum with her on the next day, an offer that I accepted thankfully. We spent the rest of the evening as the group that we were, had some pasta and a few more hours on the terrace together and spoke about a variety of subjects, all while enjoying Nice’s atmosphere at night.
Tuesday, September 4th
The sound of kids on the street had woken me up. For them, school had started again, and so during the early morning hours, they made their way to l’école. I, however, enjoyed the freedom of being able to sleep some more and turned to the other side of my bed to catch a few more hours of sleep, only to be woken up again little later by one of my roommate’s commencing snoring. Being fully awake by then, I got up to take a shower, have some breakfast on the terrace I had spent such a lovely evening the day before, and where I enjoyed the first hours of the day.
I was in the search of a supermarket, thus making my way through the small alleys surrounding my hostel. Most of the buildings were held in green or beige nuances and tall enough to offer some well needed shadow, which also applied for the one I finally found a supermarket in. I waited in front of it as I was supposed to meet with Mariya who had only come to here a few weeks ago, whom I had met through Instagram, and who was now going to be studying in Nice. Once she got to the supermarket, which I had described her more or less well, we bought some fruits and other food and made our way to one of the tallest points in Nice, which is located on a mountain and where we had a picknick all while admiring the city’s beauty.
After having said goodbye and having wished her successful studies, I made my way back to the Hostel where Cara had already been waiting for me, sitting on the terrace and reading a book. We made our way through the less touristic parts of Nice and finally got to the Musée Matisse which had been built to honour the French artist who had spent his last years in the city. There, we spent the rest of the afternoon before going back to the Hostel where the small group of people on the terrace had already got together, waiting for us to tell them about our day, which we did all while drinking some wine and embracing the city’s atmosphere.
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