Travel Journal: France

July 3rd

St. Laurent du Var

We landed in beautiful France at around 8:40am. I couldn’t believe all the palm trees I saw! I didn’t expect France to look like California. Outside the airport were beautiful plants; yellow, orange, purple, pink; gorgeous flowers lined the walkway up to the street.

The directions from our Airbnb house said to take one of two buses and get off at the second stop. Sounds simple enough, right? No. As we lug all of our belongings up to the street Chelsea hits her shin and falls forward. It was extra funny because we had reached pure exhaustion in the extreme heat. As we are still making our way up to the street, the bus we need drove by. So we sat on the curb and waited for the next one. Twenty minutes pass and finally our bus stops, lets people off, and keeps going. Confused and frustrated, we start to ask other people for help, but no one spoke English. The bus we needed passes, and the driver says, “No, no you can’t get on, bus is full!” Forty minutes of waiting now, we inquire with a taxi driver. He says 50 euro minimum because of our backpacks. We say no and haul back up to the street. Now our wait time is a little over an hour, so back down by the taxis we go. Another driver offers help but has no idea where “St. Laurant” is, so he’s out. We go down the line of taxi drivers asking for prices and where this town even is. The next driver suggests that we go back up to the street and take a bus. Another guy over hears him and says the bus we need isn’t running anymore, which is why we couldn’t get on. Using my map, the house is only a 7 minute drive away and somehow 55 minutes walking. Like crazy people, we ponder about walking. I went back down to the guy who didn’t recognize the town earlier. I showed him my phone and he says “Oh, oh, okay. I take you.” So for 40 euro, we got in.

The drive was just under ten minutes. We pull up to an apartment complex, go to floor 5, room C10. The door opens, and a young French girl, maybe 10 years old and as cute as can be starts speaking French to us. Universal sign language comes in handy and we find out that the room will be available in a few hours. We meet the little girls’ grandfather as we walk out of the complex and back towards the road. He came right up to us, “Are you the Americans?”

Sighing in disbelief that it was that obvious, we said yes. He told us that his daughter was finishing the room for us. He pointed out a restaurant across the street and where the beach was. There was a marina, shops and a sitting area. We started out at the restaurant across the street. We were SO thirsty and pretty hungry. We sat down practicing words like bon jour, merci, and le check. Our waiter brought over a pitcher of water and it was gone before he left. Thankfully the waiter spoke English and brought us more water. We ordered two pizzas and a house salad. In France, they don’t serve water like they do here in America. If you don’t ask for it, they wont bring it. Oddly enough being that it was so hot out, we still had to ask. We downed about 4 pitchers in twenty minutes!

The food was amazing and we ate so much! Thank God we met this waiter; he helped us out so much with directions and simple phrases. He told us his girlfriend lives in Tokyo, and they both decided to learn English to communicate. After exchanging Facebook information, we headed towards the marina. There were beautiful palm trees everywhere and huge orange blossom vines falling over the walls of the buildings. The marina was gorgeous, hundreds of boats lined the views of the thrift stores and small ‘mom and pop’ shops. Across from the dock you can see the town, the beach and beautiful mountains in the back. We decided to lay on the beach for a little. The rocks were like big pebbles and felt sort of soothing on our feet and backs as we lay down. The ocean, birds chirping and children laughing put us right to sleep. Around an hour later, we all woke up, burnt to a crisp. Chelsea in a halter dress had the funniest tan line, while Maria’s skin just bronzed beautifully. Good thing, our room was ready now.

Finally a nice room with two big beds and air conditioning, just what we were hoping for. Our Airbnb host left us a bottle of wine, so we dug in. For dinner we walked down along the marina and found a burger place. They served popcorn as an appetizer and the burgers were bigger than our heads! Calling it an early night, mainly exhausted from the sun, we went to sleep after walking back from the burgers.


July 4th

Nice, France

Today we are taking the bus into Nice. France is so regal, beauty is everywhere. The tall white and cream buildings, the palm trees, this is a place I like. We got baguettes for lunch and headed to the beach. The rocks on this beach hurt SO badly to walk on!! They are tiny and sharp. We bought chairs and an umbrella to share. As we set ourselves up, it was so painful running back and forth into the water from our chairs for a bit of coolness. We soon smartened up and took our shoes to the edge of the water. I brought a waterproof case for my phone and we had a field day with a photo shoot in the water!

A few hours later, we got hungry again. We found a cute little spot for dinner, ordered some wine and had another photo shoot. I mean what else are you supposed to do in France? We each ordered bruchetta, which turned out to be a personal pizza. Some of the best food I have ever eaten had been in France.

On our way back to the room we stopped for some more wine. We hopped on the bus and started talking, having real conversations. You never know what people are going through, and when you’re a little buzzed and feeling sentimental and pulled away from technology in a foreign country, the conversations can get pretty good. The bus passed the airport and picked up a bunch of people with suitcases and as our stop approached, we were gridlocked in and the driver kept going! Everyone was screaming with us to get the driver to stop but he wouldn’t. We finally got off at the next stop, three blocks away. We were so annoyed and slightly lost, until “zoom zoom, American girls!” It was the waiter! He told us how to get back to town and offered us a ride, but he was on a bike delivering pizza.

Back in the room we set the wine down and changed into PJ’s. Discussing our plans for the upcoming days we went back to open the wine and realized that Maria’s bottle broke in the bag! There was a huge mess all over the floor and now the room stunk like Rosé. Now down to three bottles, we opened one and started planning. Not even ten minutes later Chelsea’s glass gets knocked over! Two bottles down. The plan was to save the last bottle for the host, but we thought we might as well drink the last one, which we did, sorry host. Tomorrow we have a long day of train travel to Italy! Talk to ya then!


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