Nice, what a nice surprise

Mrs FOMOist and I have been planning this trip for almost a year. To ensure smooth sailing wehave booked all our major travel and accommodation and only have to worry about daily expenses. As part of this rock solid plan, I had pre-booked our train tickets from Genoa to Nice, only to find out that the train operators have double booked our seats, changed them without our knowledge and we were expected to sit in two separate carriages for a 3-hour journey. This also applied to my cousin and her family who had 2 out of 4 seats occupied by other passengers. 

I am always up for a “healthy debate” for what I believe in. However the language barrier doesn’t really help to communicate the disappointment and rage assertively. Thankfully for us there was an English lady who spoke fluent Italian who saw us struggling and demanded off the conductor that we are upgraded to first class and we traveled the 2 out of our 3-hour journey in class! 

Guardian angels do exist and she was ours. Random encounters with generous strangers who you may or may not ever cross paths with again is one of the many reasons I love traveling. 

The French Riviera has always fascinated me with its expansive coastline on one side and the mountains on the other. Nice in particular is a fascinating story in itself. Found by the Greeks, a former Italian state of Sardegna and now part of France, Nice is beautiful and rich in culture. Population of only 350,000 in winter that swells up to over a million during the summer months, Nice has everything going for it. 

Nice was such a surprise for us. I knew it had beautiful coastline but didn’t realise how beautiful the architecture was. Vieux Nice, being the old town, is spectacular but even the area around Nice Ville and Notre Dame Avenue is lined with ornately decorated buildings. 

In addition to the beauty, we found out all the quirks of Nice. The two that made us chuckle were:

  • The famous Apollo Statue in Place Massena had to get its manhood resized because it was offending the ladies at the time. Ouch!
  • Near the Castle Hill area, a large firework is manually set-off at midday everyday. This odd tradition had a more quirky origin than one may think. Back in 1861, a British resident of Nice named Sir Thomas Coventry-More had a wife who enjoyed long walks along the Promenade des Anglais but often forgot to come back to prepare lunch on time. In an effort to avoid his hanger (combination of hunger and anger), he employed someone to fire off a cannon before midday, which no doubt made his wife rush back to her domestic duties. 

Just under a month ago, a man decided it was a good idea to take a truck and drive through the busy Promenade des Anglais on Bastille Day. Now we are here, walking the same streets and even though we don’t mean to get affected, we can’t help shudder at any loud noise. Even though the life seems to be normal, the military men walking around with loaded guns are a reminder of what happened. 

Regardless of the recent incidents, Nice is a very nice place to spend a couple of days, soaking in its rich and vibrant history and appreciating its recent developments. Additionally, it’s a great place to stay if you want to go visit Monaco and gawk at how the other half lives. More on that in the next post!


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