Nice is not so nice
Wel we finally arrived in nice, France. I wont say we got there without any trouble because that would just be lying through my teeth.
It all started out fine! Toni, Pete and I got up at 7, got a train from Amsterdam to Paris where we met Tegan who came in from Germany and then made our way to the other station. At that station we got onto the train to Nice. All was fine. Before we got on the train we went to the internet cafe and wrote down the address of the hostel which we'd booked for the night.
On the way to Paris, Tegan had met a NZ guy who told of the hostel which he had stayed in in Nice and hated. The only description Tegan could remember was the fact that it was on a hill.
We arrived in Nice at 10.30pm. Walking up to the counter we then proceeded to ask the guy at the ticket desk for a ticket to the station we had written down. He didnt understand and didnt know the station. Uh - Oh. I then asked the security guard about the bridge which is was apparently near. Again, he did not know of it. Slightly panicked, i went to the nearest 3 hotels and asked if they knew of the hostel. Of course he didnt know it, so i asked for a phone book. Was it listed? Of course not! I thanked the man, asked him if he knew the phone number for call connect or the phone directory number which he did - yay progress.... or so we thought!
Walking back to the station i went to get a bottle of water - it was so humid and i needed change for the phone anyways. change and water in hand i walked happily to the payphone at the station went to put the coins inthe slot.... No coin slot. Cards only.
Thinking my mum was awesome for giving me a phone card i pulled it out of my bag, dialled the number and got an "unknown number" Oh great - it didnt work either on that phone. I tried it on literally 11 phones. did any of them work? Of course not - that would be good luck, we hadnt had any of that today - why start now???
Finally finding a phone which took debit/credit cards i thanked god and pulled out my visa, swiped the card and dialled 12 just as the guy told me. I asked for an english speaker and then asked him for the number for our hostel. HE FOUND IT!!!! I cannot describe how happy i was. I copied the number, dialled it and what do you know? "The number you are calling has been disconnected" FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNTASTIC!!!! The phone was slammed down. 9 hours on a train and stuck in an unknown, unenglish speaking city - AWESOME!!!!!
Ok, so by now its 11.15 and im panicking and thinking id gotten a dodgy deal on the net or something, i went back to the group and then we made a decision to get the telephone directory people to give us the address which they had for the hostel and to just jump a cab.
Turning back to that evil dodgy phone i redialed 12, and got an english speaker.... sounding good.... i asked for the address of the hostel.... she gave that and also demanded i took the number aswell. Writing it down, im sitting there thinking hey, this sounds different. comparing it with the last number we realised it was completely different so decided to give it a try. That we did. "Hello, Villa Saint Expury" OMG, did i hear that correctly?????? I was in shock, i asked if they had a booking under melissa Turnbull and sure enough they did - also a karina turnbull what are the odds!!! - i told them where we were and asked for directions.He gave me the bus number and where to get it from. Tired, hot and in need of a shower we had decided to check out the taxi price. I asked the guy on the phone to which i got a 'please hold'.... When he came back we got the news of the day - 'we will pick you up... wait for a black mercedes outside the station and we will come and get you' ARE YOU SERIOUS???? OMG OMG OMG!!!!! This was all working out...
15 mins later we were in the merc and being told all about the different parts of nice as we drove through them. The next sentence 'we are located on the top of that hill'. Instantly the NZ guys comments came back... OH NO!!!!
We finally got there at about 12.15. Free internet, free washing machine, free showers, english speaking everyone - if this was a bad hostel you Kiwis dont know a good one man!!!! We didnt know where to start.... Actually we did, as soon as we saw the beer and wine sign we ran for the showers, grabbed a beer each and then moved on up to the internet.
So it all worked out.... In the end!!! Moral of the story.... When booking hostels, always double check the accomm. detals with 2 websites at least, and take their phone number (and a calling card that would work would be helpful too!!! )
Ok, you think that the story of our accommodation was awesome... i have more news....I swear luck has NOT been on our side in the last 72 hours!!!
After we checked out of that accommodation - the one on the hill, we went into town to find an internet cafe to find accommodation for the next night. there wasnt any room in the one which e had been in for the previous night. I was on the internet for 2 hours while my friends were at the beach. 2 HOURS!!!! All accommodation was booked out, 5 star, 4star, 3 star, 2 star, 1 star, no star, hostels, villas, apartments, pub rooms, bed and breakfasts - EVERYTHING WAS BOOKED OUT!
So what did we do? We spent the day on the beach, which then became our accommodation over night. Lovely huh! We saw guys letting off signal flares, drunk germans wandering around the beach, people sharing spliffs, other backpackers getting their bags stolen while they were sleeping, etc!!!! It was a long night.
We watched a group of people jump into the water in their underwear and so what did we do? We double dared Tegan to steal someones clothes? Tegan is a sucker for dares... so she stole the guys shirt, some random shirt... and we sat there and watched as he was so confused abotu where it had gone. We left it for him to find as he was going up the stairs though!!!
The next morning, at 6am we hauled all our stuff up to the station and waited until 8.30 for the reservations place to open. At 8.25 i went over to the door and waited. There were many Americans (sorry! but they were) complaining that they had been waiting for 20 minutes. I felt like screaming at them and telling them to quit their whinging because id spent the night on the beach and then had been sitting here for 2 and a half hours. Finally the doors were opened! Everyone rushed in around me, i ended up being number 26 even though i can guarentee that we were the first ones there. HOW RUDE!
Finally my number was called (im sure you all know that im very impatient and hate lines!) and i rocked up to the desk and asked for tickets on the 10.02 train, my reply? "You do not need to reserve seats on this train. No one does." AWESOME! So i got the reservations for our 2nd train from Milan to Florence, and i was on my way!
Boarding the train we looked around... everyone had tickets and all the seats were reserved. The results? Toni and i stood for the entire 4 and ahalf hour journey to Milan. We werent the worst off though. There was a lady from NY standing next to us who had 1st class reserved seats but couldnt get to them because there were so many people in the carraige and they had a lot of luggage. They stood up aswell.
When we got off at Milan we looked at the clock. 3.25pm! Our connecting train had left 15 mins ago - our train had been 35 mins delayed. FANTASTIC! Walking to the information office ith tickets in hand we found once again i had to stand in a LONG line. Toni and i finally got to the desk and i said to the man that we had missed our train due to a dodgy connection. He seemed to understad and told us that we could get a refund - if we went back to France - and tht we could get a later, longer train without a ticket.... oh no, id heard that before!!!! I explined that i had just gotten off a 4 and a half hour train ride where i had to stand or sit in the isle because i had been told the same thing and it wasnt hapening again. He assured me it wouldnt.
YAY! So it all seemed to work out. We got on the train and then OMG some lady came up and started screaming in French... thinking what the? I replied that we didnt speak french. She threw her ticket at us... thats right A TICKET!!!! A RESERVED SEATING TICKET! Wandering down the whole train we realised that a ticket was compulsary. TOPS!
Off we got. I was so stresed that i broke down there and then on the station platform! Toni went to see what would happen. an hour later she came back and told us that she had argued with the guy that we had needed tickets etc etc and had made him feel bad. He walked past me and smiled. GRRRRR!!!! evil! She produced tickets and showed them to me.... Upon inspecting them carefuly i noticed that they said ES* upgrade not IC. ES*??? Thats eurostar.... thats.... thats.... thats awesome! Someone had felt sorry for us!
At 6pm - the time we were originally arriving in Florence - we boarded the luxury train and slept for 2 and a hafl hours, got off and then had to begin our search for accommodation.... Walking out of the station a woman said to us "Do you need accommodation" We inquired as to what kind of accommodation she had, found that it was a bed and breakfast, and took it. We checked on the internet before we turned up and there was no other option. We wandered on into this bed and breakfast - right in the centre of town, and found our room to be HUGE. Its a beautiful place, the 4 of us are in the one room, and its seriously like 4* hotel like. Its very iimpressive and VERY cheap!!!
So it all ended well. We had a good nights sleep and then woke up the next morning feeling good.... Until toni's card got eaten by the ATM... BLOODY HELL!!! It all jut goes downhill doesnt it.
Posted By Mel on 20th April 2005
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