06 September, 2011

Nice Journal - Autumn 2011 - 1

Tuesday, 6th September, 2011.

Our alarms got us up at 3am so that we would be in time to catch the first train of the day out of Cambridge. Our packing and food for the journey had all been completed the previous day. We managed a smooth exit from the house, one of the least fraught I can remember! We took a taxi to the station and the train down to Tottenham Hale (the first King's Cross train leaves too late to make the connection with the 7:22 Eurostar). From there we took a tube to King's Cross and went straight to the Eurostar terminal in St. Pancras International, checked in and went through the security checks and passport control.

The train to Paris was only about half-full. We ate home-made smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwiches for breakfast as soon as we were underway. Later we were served croissants and coffee etc. on the train. It was a smooth 2.5hr run through to Gare du Nord then two stops on the RER to Gare de Lyon. There was a short wait for our train to be ready then we had a long hike down the platform to the very front coach of the train.

Unlike the Eurostar, the TGV (which was going on to Ventimiglia, just across the border in Italy) was pretty full. We settled into our comfy seats for the six-hour journey down to Nice. We had brought home-made ham and cheese sandwiches for our lunch and ate these with some fruit and a couple of packs of crisps as we hammered through the French countryside at 300km/hr. Although we had both brought plenty of reading material for the trip, I spent much of the time just watching the scenery fly by outside.

Once we reached Toulon, the speed abated and the frequency of stops increased as we worked our way along the Mediterranean coast. We got to Nice at 5:45pm feeling relaxed and de-stressed by the wonderfully comfortable ride. A short taxi ride up to Cessole and we were done. Nice was very warm and quite humid: a welcome change from the cool, grey weather in the UK and Paris.

Perry had visited the apartment the previous day and left us a begonia pot-plant and a couple of multiple-use tram/bus tickets along with a brief welcome message, and a bottle of rosé in the fridge. How sweet of him! We dumped our luggage and headed straight over to the Monoprix on Gorbella to get something for dinner and breakfast and some beer and snacks. Back home we opened a beer each, turned on the overhead fan, opened up all the doors onto the balconies and got ourselves unpacked. Lisa called Perry to let him know we'd arrived safely and arranged to meet tomorrow.

Dinner was rump steak and a simple salad accompanied by the 2009 Côtes de Rhone rosé "L'emblème du Terroir" that Perry had left us. All very fine indeed!

Dinner over, I loaded the dishwasher and laid out the bedding. I then immediately lay down to sleep. Lisa stayed up for a while in the sitting room and came to bed somewhat later.

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