The next day after landing in Aalborg airport, early morning we were there again. This time we were flying to France, Nice.
Nice welcomed us with sunny weather and French language. First ten minutes, while we were looking at maps and trying to figure out how to reach our hotel, it was very nice and warm. But it eventually got terribly hot, so we hurried towards our hotel as fast as we could.
We stayed at “Hotel Excelsior”. It left a very good impression to us. The lady at the reception was speaking pretty good English and marked the main tourist attractions for us on the map. Hotel had an elevator, and our room was nicely conditioned (it showed 18°C). We dropped our luggage and went out to explore the town.
Nice is a very beautiful town. Narrow streets, palm trees and amazingly blue water. However, it has a terrible parking problem. Those people, who say that Vilnius has a traffic problem, should go to Nice. (Although later I realized that most of the places we’ve visited during this trip have this problem.)
We had lunch at a nice French café “Le Circuit”, which is near a little roundabout that has a little fountain in the middle, close to the shopping area (you can see it here). Our waiter was speaking fluent English and the meal was delicious as well. But I don’t remember, what we ordered 😀
Later we went out to explore the town. What caught our attention was a huge waterfall on the top of a huge cliff. After a little bit of going around we found the entrance to the park and started our way up. It was so amazing. A wide view on the town and bright blue water. Finally we reached the waterfall, where we could cool down after all the heat.
Then we went down to town again, to find a nice souvenir market. I bought a piece of hand-made olive soap there. I’m starting to think that I’m a soap maniac 🙂
Later that day at some point we returned to our hotel, where we found out that 18°C is actually very cold. Turned the heat up and went out to try that turquoise water. Unfortunately, the beach was made solely out of stones and rocks. My feet, that are used to sandy Baltic Sea beaches, didn’t approve that. Water was also maybe a bit too warm, so you can almost swim in it forever without cooling yourself down properly. Other than that, it was fun swimming when the sun was already down and the sky was all dark.
Dinner we had at some random restaurant, because, ironically, it’s very hard to find a French restaurant open at evening hours in Nice (or we were looking in wrong places).
We refused to have breakfast at our hotel, so the next morning we were out in the town again, searching for a place to eat. We stumbled upon “La Villa Borgia”, which offered breakfast combo for up to 10€. There I had two crêpes with sugar, espresso and a glass of orange juice; my man had a croissant instead of crêpes.
After this breakfast we moved on to find our ferry to Corsica.
What else I can say about Nice:
- OMG the prices. The same numbers one sees in the Lithuanian menus, but here everything is in Euros (1€ ≈ 3,5 LTU)
- So many Russians, that some restaurants write on their windows “We speak Russian!” in Russian. I guess it’s good to be Russian here 🙂
- Everything that you think of Southern France is true (but some of them do speak English!)
- It’s such a beauteous town.
We were using “Corsica Ferries. Sardinia Ferries” service. The ferry was so fancy inside, that we were going around looking for second-class rooms. We failed 😀
Most of the time we were sleeping because of that smooth rocking of the ship. Later we found out that there’s a swimming pool on the top of the ferry, so we went up there and took a dip. This was followed by a little snack and Corsican beer.
The journey took so long, that we reached Bastia only when it was already dark.
We were staying at “ Hotel Central”. The first moment I was shocked, because it didn’t have an elevator, air conditioning and the old guy at the reception didn’t know a word in English. (Here I must say that Anders probably has some telepathic abilities, because somehow he managed to communicate with all the people who spoke only French). But it wasn’t that bad (the previous hotel had probably spoiled me :)). That old guy took my bag and brought it all the way up to the third floor. The room was especially lovely decorated and had a little balcony. The fan was enough for keeping the room not too hot. Bathroom supplies had ginseng and were very good for me. The only problem was, that the bathroom’s door handle was too close to the casing, so I’ve hit my fingers. Other than that, the hotel is really lovely and cozy.
In the morning we had breakfast at small café – bakery “Ronde des Pains” (see location on Google maps), where Anders had to show his telepathic abilities again. After this we found Hertz and picked up our fancy-pantsy Renault. Let the tour around Corsica begin!
The first stop. There was a little trouble finding a parking space, so we had to park outside the town and go in there on foot. We walked around a bit and moved on – we’ve hit this town on siesta time. It was insanely hot and only a few places were open. We had a little lunch at a restaurant which is on the opposite side of the street than the local university. It was good.
If you could go to only one place in Corsica – let it be Bonifacio. I was amazed by its stunning beauty. Such a cozy town, with lots and lots of stairs (I love stairs, they always give something special to towns).
Oh, did I say that Nice is an expensive town? I take back my words 🙂
We had dinner at “Da Sergio” (see on the map) restaurant. It has local goodies and special offers – everyone will find something to fit their taste there.
It took a while to find our hotel there, we even had to ask locals for help. We left our car on a top of some hill, next to a church, because we just couldn’t find the right road and our GPS was dead. So we picked up just a few things from the car and went two kilometers on foot, at the same time trying to figure out which road to take the next day.
So there it was – our hotel “Roc e Mare” (careful, website with sound). It really was on the shore of the sea and it had its own beach. The room was comfortable, breakfast included and overall impression of it was very good. But in the morning, during breakfast, we noticed, that most of its guests were old people. That was a bit embarrassing at first, but ah, who cares?
In the morning, when checking out, I suddenly realised that our room didn’t have air conditioning and there was no elevator. I guess they’re not necessary for comfort after all 🙂
On our way back to the car we had an opportunity to observe this little town in day light. It has a very nice sandy beach and the town is really cozy. Most of the streets are one-way; and we had to take a road towards Ajaccio, that looked like a parking lot at first, to reach our hotel (and go towards Ajaccio). Now that we found it out we were able to continue our trip.
That evening we came back to Bastia to spend one more night in there and the next day we took a ferry to Livorno.
Things that happened on the road, and everything else about Corsica:
- One really shouldn’t refuse to take insurance when driving there (like Anders wanted to do; luckily, he agreed). Roads are quite steep, very curvy and sometimes there are animals grazing on them. At first we saw a cow, which was eating grass all relaxed in a narrow 60 cm line of grass between a road and a cliff. Then we saw a girl riding a horse on the highway. Then we saw a family of wild boars (or was that pigs?) sniffing the asphalt. After seeing all that, we joked, what would be next? Next was two ibexes (or were they normal goats?) suddenly crossing the road. But that was not over yet. At some point we took the wrong turn and on that road were LOTS of all kinds of grazing animals. And they really didn’t mind the cars; for example, there was a cow standing right in the middle of the road looking at us like “what? I know that you can go around”.
- That fancy-pantsy Renault had some super cool distance to other objects detector installed. It was quite useful while trying to squeeze that big car into not that big parking space, but it totally failed to measure distance to a trash bin in a gas station. Both car and trash bin weren’t damaged (although that trash bin made quite a noise when falling down), but there was a lot of laughter from my side. Later we almost hit a rock in a small parking place on a highway; at the moment the car stopped, it realised that it has to make some sound and it was a very sharp “BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!!!!!!”. There was only about 20 cm left to the rock. Good thing I noticed it first and started screaming “STOP!” like crazy. This time it wasn’t very funny. And this time we were really happy, that we had insurance.
- Policemen in Corsica are really friendly and helpful. And they speak very good English. When we were thinking, how we could get the car back on the road, they stopped by us and asked if we needed assistance. Oh yes we did 🙂 One of the policemen drove our car further away from that rock and wished us happy holidays. Merci!
- There are wonderful beaches in Corsica. One we noticed next to town of Porto and had great fun for a while jumping in big waves. It was also pretty cool diving for Anders in Vallée du Tavignano.
- There also are quite a lot of cats in Corsica, but they were not into letting people pet them. However, when we stopped in Porto to get some food from the supermarket and after that decided to get some snack in the nearby café, there was a very beautiful, slim kitty begging for food from all the customers. I shared my clamshells with it 🙂
- If you would run out of gas in the middle of the night, you’re totally screwed. Gas stations here work only from 7 to 20, and during the night serve as an additional parking space.
- There are lots of billboards along the bigger roads. I guess one can see a similar view in USA.
- Traffic problem. Narrow maze-like streets, lots of cars.
- Corsica is an expensive place, but it is so beautiful.
- A little book of French would come very in handy. Silly us decided to save on this one and go around knowing only two words in French – merci and merde. Haven’t used the second one, though 🙂
- Seaports are really not meant for foot-passengers.
I guess that’s it again – and hopefully I’ll write the last part about Italy soon. Bullet points of this theme still suck are annoying.