Lazy, lovely days on the Cote d’Azur… and the long way home.
This article is part of a series of 10. The 25 days long journey was on an InterRail train ticket a long time ago, in August 1991, to Germany, France and Italy. What follows are transcripts from my travel diary at the time. I have changed or added very little.
Wednesday 21.8.1991, Nice
The night train brought us back to Nice with a comparatively good night’s sleep. With the assistance of “Let’s Go Europe” we found a dream hotel.
- HOTEL REGENCY, rue St. Siagre. A small street 5 minutes from the railway station. 184 FF for a double, WC, shower and a kitchenette. The bed is on a loft so it gets a little hot. Pleasant and good. A good idea with the little kitchen, especially now with little money left, but in any case it’s nice to prepare our own meals. Map
We installed ourselves and went directly to the beach. My girlfriend bought sunscreen lotion factor 10 and made a plan for her tanning process until departure on Sunday evening. It is however uncertain if it is Sunday, or if our very poor finances force us to leave already on Saturday.
In any case the beach is long, very long, but is mostly a shingle beach. Luckily the pebbles are small and rounded, but still… We lay there for a few hours and swam a bit in a sea that varied between cold undercurrents and warm surface water.
We went home, did some shopping on the way and made a late, but good lunch in our room. Later we exchanged my girlfriend’s last currency.
The evening was dedicated a very special occasion: Our anniversary. We made dinner in the room, with wine and dessert. It had been a lovely day.
Thursday 22.8.1991, Nice
The wonderful days continue. My girlfriend started the day with an early morning jog, down to and along the beach Promenade des Anglais. I slept on. We had a lovely breakfast in our room, with milk (!) for the first time since Norway.
Yes, and then what? The beach of course. We have been looking forward to a few days there, to get a suntan before returning home. As the days are passing my girlfriend is getting more and more nervous, due to a lack of progress. She informs me that she is maybe going to change “some” of her program. That will be interesting.
We had lunch in our room, and then exchanged the last of my money as well.
After this we walked the Promenade des Anglais with palms and fashionable hotel; just as good as the Croisette in Cannes. We continued into Vieux Nice, the old part of the city. It is nice and has lots of restaurants. The hill (fortress) above the city was unfortunately closed so we went home for a steak and red wine in our room. Cheap and very good food.
I’m starting to get a fine tan, so is my girlfriend. A little.
Friday 23.8.1991, Nice
We started the day by picking a number and queued up to reserve a night-train from Nice to Strasbourgand Hamburg to Copenhagen. The computers broke down (again) so we went to the beach instead.
“Bella, bella, bella Roma, Coca-Cola fantasia” a salesman walked around and constantly yelled. It was quite funny with all these soft drink-vendors. But we brought our own, warmed-up water bottles.
We got our reservations in the afternoon. We had another walk in the old city which is full of restaurants, but we ate at “home”.
Saturday 24.8.1991, Nice – Beaulieu-sur-Mer
We wanted to have a look at other beaches than the one in Nice. 15 minutes to the east is Beaulieu-sur-Mer, and it corresponds with its name. It is a “typical” Riviera idyllic place with palms, stylish hotels and a beach. Smaller pebbles and showers on the beach made this a very relaxing place, suitable for families.
For lunch we had a purchased pizza, for the first time since Italy, but went back to the hotel for dinner.
Sunday will be our last beach day before the night train north. I’m starting to get a nice tan, my girlfriend as well. Sort of.
Sunday 25.8.1991, Nice – Beaulieu-sur-Mer
We had our last breakfast at the hotel, checked out and put our bags in a locker at the railway station (20 FF). We spent most of the day in Beaulieu-sur-Mer, on the beach.
In Nice we ate in a restaurant for the first time in several days and were almost too late for the train.
Money spent in France this round:
242 NOK per day per person, around 35 USD.
Monday 26.8.1991, Strasbourg – Frankfurt – Hamburg
We woke up in Strasbourg, or to be more correct: We had both been awake for the better part of the night. The luggage was locked up and we had a look around the city. Monday is apparently the day to keep closed. Almost no shops were open, but we found some at least. Strasbourg has a nice old town and a much decorated church.
The onward train brought us earlier than expected to Frankfurt am Main. We wondered a bit of going to Mainz, but then there would be these annoying extra costs. In Frankfurt we bought tickets for a better standard on the train to Hamburg the same evening. They demanded 25 DM, blood price. Frankfurt has big skyscrapers housing banks and a couple of old houses with museums inside. Otherwise there is nothing exciting about the city.
The train north was almost worth the DM, very nice and stylish. In Hamburg we boarded the night train to Copenhagen. It is considerable colder here than down south.
Tuesday 27.8.1991, Hamburg – Copenhagen – Oslo
We actually slept very well on the train to Copenhagen. We had time for a quick snack at the station before the train to Oslo departed. It was a beautiful day. But what a slow train through Sweden! They even demanded 15 NOK extra for it.
It was exciting to come home around five thirty in the afternoon. Then this vacation was over, a very successful one too.
Money spent on the return: 291 NOK per person per day, around 42 USD.
The entire vacation cost us 469 NOK per person per day, about 68 USD including the InterRail-ticket and exchange fees. I might add that the InterRail-ticket cost 2550 NOK each, about 371 USD, offering almost free travel in all of Europe. At the time of blogging I would like to add that interrailing is a cheap way of travelling across Europe. Extras would arise from seat reservations, special (InterCity) departures and sleepers. This was my second and last InterRail in Europe.
All chapters in this series from 1991:
(1) Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany: Here is my diary from an InterRail train journey through Sweden, Denmark and Germany, to France and Italy.
(2) Paris & Versailles: Sightseeing in Paris and a day at Versailles.
(3) Normandie and Bretagne: A famous tapestry and D-Day beaches in Normandy and a strange mountain in the sea in Brittany.
(4) The Loire Valley and its palaces: Grand palaces and parks in the Loire Valley.
(5) Provence and the Cote d’Azur: The papal city of Avignon with an unfinished bridge, picturesque villages in Provence and a first look at the French Riviera.
(6) Monaco: A short stop in Monaco before continuing to Rome.
(7) Roma and the Vatican: In Italy we went to Roma (Rome), several cities in Tuscany and a final day in Venice, before returning to France. Here is first the account of the Eternal City of Rome and a visit to the Vatican.
(8) Toscana: A few hectic days in Tuscany, in the old cities of Florence, Lucca, Pisa, Arezzo and Siena.
(9) Venezia: Venice on a day trip, like many other visitors. But even a day made us realise the magic of this famed city.
(10) French Riviera: Lazy, lovely days on the Cote d’Azur… and the long way home. (THIS ARTICLE)