This blog entry does not fit the title of my blog obviously - I am still not in South America yet, but just got back from a long weekend in Nice a few days ago. I visited a good friend of mine who is doing one exchange year at EDHEC (business school). She lives at Promenade des Anglais which is right next to the ocean.
Compared to German weather it was pretty warm there (around 13°C I think). I left Germany from Cologne-Bonn airport at around noon and after about 1,5 hrs I was in France. The flight was great, we flew over the Alps and the pilot gave us some info along the way (where Mont Blanc was, that we were flying over Lago Maggiore etc.) I made it to Ju's appartment just to say hello and bye to her, because she had a couple of hours of uni that day. But as she had left her keys for me, I took a walk around town and successfully ordered some lunch in French. When Julia got back from uni we did some grocery shopping and had dinner at the beach (bauguette and le fromage ) At night, we went to the opening of the Carnival season in Nice. Apparently, it's pretty big there and they have parades going on there for 3 weeks. I met some of Julia's friend from Nice which were mostly German and we had a great time watching "le arrivée du roi". I uploaded two videos of that.
The next day we walked down to Nice's historic part of the city and went to a market there. We went up Mont Alban where you have a great view of the city and also the harbor. After that, we had some crêpe and took a bus to Êze which is a small mountain village about 20 minutes away from Nice. We had a look around the old village which is perched right on top of a mountain. We also went up to the jardin exotique where you can overlook big part of the Côte d'Azur. The weather further west was getting pretty bad but we were really lucky and didn't get any rain. We drove back to Nice in the afternoon and walked along Nice's shopping street with about half of Nice's teenage population - it was really crowded. In the evening, Dominik, Julia's roommate cooked some dinner (poor guy had a hard time finding something I like, too) and we had a really late dinner and went to bed.
On Sunday, Ju and me took a bus to Monaco and spent some time in one of Europe's city states. We saw the casino in Monte Carlo and the harbor and after that took a bus up to Monaco's jardin exotique which has really great views of the city. We took a guided tour into a cave and saw some cool rock formations. I don't think I've ever been in a cave like that and now that I know how stalagmites and stalactites form (we did something on that in my Geography studies), I thought it was pretty interesting. We had a guide who only spoke French and a little bit of German, so Julia ended up translating all of his explanations for a British couple (and to me, too, my French is not really sufficient for geology) The guide was really nice though and gave Ju and me some brochures in German and French (I am not sure who translated the German one, though, there were really funny sentences in there, e.g. "The caves are pregnant with good climatic conditions"??) The gardens itself are really pretty, too. Julia tried to take some pictures with a cactus and got p**** all over her feet but apart from that we had a great time! After that, we took a bus to Menton which lies on the French Riviera. It is very close to the Italian border and lies sheltered in a bay which is why it is really warm compared to other parts of the coast. It is one of the only places where there are orange and lemon trees on the French coast. When we got there, Menton was celebrating le fête du citron and there were parades with sculptures made out of lemons and oranges. The entrance fee for that was really high, though, so we just got some baguette and eclairs and spent some time at the beach. We drove back to Nice in the late afternoon and went to an Australian restaurant and bar with Eric, Julia's other flatmate. The owner of the bar was Autralian and Julia and Eric had kangaroo burgers. We got home aroudn 11 and watched a movie and then went to bed.
On Monday, I did some last minute shopping for my flight (gum, cookies and baguette) and said goodbye to Julia. It wasn't too sad though, because she is coming home for a week and a half at the end of this week. I had an interesting trip to the airport because the bus driver wouldn't stop at the assigned bus stop and I ended up walking across the parking lot with my suitcase. The flight was not as good as the flight to Nice and we didn't have such a nice view of the Alps because it was very cloudy. There was also a medical emergency on the flight and I ended up changing seats so that the man that had problems (not sure what it was) could have my seat (I had a whole row to myself) but gladly we had a doctor on board and an ambulance was waiting at the gate at Cologne Bonn airport. Liam picked me up from the airport and we took the train home.
You can look at my pictures from the trip in the Nice photo album. I had a great time and thought the Côte d'Azur was great - I've never been there before.
My trip to South America is only 10 days away and I am getting more and more excited every day. I've started packing and I'm pretty positive that I'll fit everything into my small backpack. I stil have to prepare a presentation on the urban development of La Paz but after that I'm all set for my big trip
Love to you all!