Nice Was Ok; If One Likes Bared Breasts…

I boarded a train in Florence with barely seconds to spare (well, OK it was about 400 seconds…) before it rolled out of the Firenza (Florence) station. I had difficulty with all kinds of one-ways and all kinds of road construction in the area while trying to return the rental car about four blocks away. Worse yet, after waiting around for the garage guy to inspect the car before giving me permission to leave. Even extra worse, someone had packed all kinds of very heavy junk in my backpack that I had to run with back to make our train. The other four (Alex, Luke, Grandpa Ray & Grandma Vi) were all snuggled in to their seats while Claudette was outside at the entrance to the station to lead me to the correct car. As I rounded the corner, running as fast as my forty year old knees would carry me and the eight hundred pound gorilla that must have been in my backpack, there was Claudette on the steps frantically pulling her arms in a repeated sweeping motion towards herself, all the time yelling at me to hurry up. At that point, with my legs burning and my lungs out of breath, I was thinking that perhaps we needed to arrange an eye appointment for my dear sweet wife. For, even though she saw me, and was looking directly at me, she surely must not have seen me running since she was screaming at me to hurry… I then stopped at the last intersection separating me from the train station. As cars were whizzing by precariously close to the curb, I still saw Claudette looking directly at me and still frantically (with seemingly even more desperation in each broad sweep now) waving at me to hurry the hell up. I pondered maybe jumping over these fast little sports cars in order to fulfill my wife’s orders in a more expedient fashion, but then I saw a bus. Not just a piddly little school bus of course, No… This was a brand new, sate of the art double decker, extra tall, extra wide bus with bullet proof windows that I was gonna against if I came anywhere close to it. Have no fear though, as soon as that bus went by I burned across the intersection against the pedestrian signs but during a small (oh, and I REALLY mean tiny here…) break in the traffic. The next lane was a breeze since the light was about to change and most cars were stopped already. That meant I had to navigate through the throngs of typically rude Europeans all in a hurry to cross. Having upset a few people there I whipped around the corner and panted up the steps to my ‘patiently’ waiting wife. She greeted me with a extra loud “HURRY UP!!! The train is almost ready to leave!” as though I was out for a leisurely Sunday stroll and this was completely new information to me. I wonder how much an optometrist appointment will cost in Europe???

Our ride into France took us to Genova where we had to switch trains. We were trying to arrange to meet up with the McBride’s again in Nice for a day or two. As some might have already guessed by the atrociously obvious lead-in, we accidentally met the McBride’s at the Geonva train station! While we had a two hour layover on the platform, Claudette met Warren at the bathrooms. Thus we were able to introduce this new Family of great friends to our Mom & Dad a few days earlier than planned.

Our place in Nice was described in a couple of guidebooks as being “The Bestest, Nicest hostel in the World!” And luckily the cheap but delicious food, staff, free computers, free WIFI, plus all sorts of diverse and interesting activities. The rooms had incredibly thin walls, but that seems to be standard in hostels everywhere it seems. The restaurant / internet room / bar was just a hopping all evening and night on Friday. Bottles of wine were a crazily cheap 4, euro’s each, while all highballs, glasses of wine and beer was 1 euro each! Part Hardy indeed. Some of us did, and some of us limited ourselves… (Nuff said.) Any single 17-25 year old guys reading; this is absolutely THE place to go to “meet” new friends, WOW! Let me tell you…. tonnes and tonnes… All sweet and innocent, and mostly North Americans traveling for the first time ever.

We (five sixths of us anyways) got up for a late leisurely breakfast about 9:30. This place has a great reputation for a wide variety of cereal available, and sure enough there were twelve shiny dispensers with all kinds of non-egg breakfast just waitig to be gobbeled up by road weary travelers. They also served a really nice grain bread and some excellent jams. We had made plans to meet with the McBride’s for lunch, and took the tram down the hill (fom our excellent viewpoint of the Mediterranean) to meet up in an old section of town. The semi-fast food at a sidewalk cafe’ was pretty good, and then a few of us had delicious ice cream (choosing from about three dozen flavors) and I had a Grand Marnier crepe. Nummy big time!

I’m out of time today and will have to continue with our walk down the beach tomorrow… Cheers!

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