Monday, March 29, 2010

"A Hard Day's Night"

Expecting high 60s and sun, Em and I decided to visit Cannes and Antibes on our last full day in France. Of course the trains happened to be under repair on Saturday so we were forced to take the bus. On the plus side, the bus is only 1 euro. However, I probably would have dropped the extra cash when what was supposed to be 1.5 hour bus ride turned into 2.5. It's normally 20 min by train. The way there wasn't too bad because we stopped in Antibes on the way. We weren't up for too much touring so we headed straight for the sandy beach. Our plan to lay on the beach didn't last long when we both started getting goosebumps less than an hour later. Ah clouds!

So we jumped back on the bus and headed to Cannes. The hard thing about buses is that it's harder to tell which stops are coming up or when to push the stop button or even what town you're in. I almost didn't realize we were in Cannes because it came up so fast. Luckily tons of people were getting off so we followed. One of the hostel workers had given us a map and walking route to the main attractions so we stuck to that. First, Emily topped up on diet coke and food while I orientated us. We headed to see the avenue of stars or whatever it's called with the hand prints on the ground but made a wrong turn and started by window shopping for yachts. We were definitely in the right city. On the other side of the theater, where I think they hold the film festival, is the hand print area. We saw Gregory Peck's hand impression! There weren't as many as we hoped but they did have cardboard cut-outs we could stick our heads through and pretend to be stars. Emily got her picture with George Clooney as Brad Pitt. She looks surprisingly good as Brad. After people watching on the promenade, we caught the bus back home. Horrible bus ride. I'm usually really patient but I was going stir crazy. Almost 3 hours it took to get back and some people had to stand the whole way. It was super packed and hot. That's what 1 euro gets you I guess.

We spent the entire night packing and getting ready to leave on Sunday morning. Emily had to completely re-pack because she has so much stuff. I'm glad I wasn't moving countries! I mean...moving to another country. I'm fairly certain she couldn't move a country.

Sunday morning I decided to not be my usual overly cautious self and didn't wake up at the crack of dawn to get to the airport 3 hours early...which was my original plan. Instead, I had breakfast at the hostel and caught the first 8am shuttle with Emily who was catching a train to Italy. We sadly parted ways and I waited to catch a bus to the airport. It was definitely the day of nice, helpful middle-aged men. The first guy I encountered at the bus stop. He asked, first in French, if I was on holiday. I told him what I'd been up to in Nice and he apologized for the "bad" weather. Finally met a local on my last day. Then he gave me advice about what stop to get off at.

I made it to my gate with an hour to spare. Nice is a small airport so I didn't expect much hassle. I flew EasyJet again so no assigned seating. I ended up next to my 2nd friendly gentleman of the day and we talked the entire flight to Liverpool. Super interesting! This guy is from Wales and is a recently self-employed electrician. He does consulting work and special jobs mostly so he makes better money than most electricians I gathered. He and his partners are currently working on villas near Nice, actually right on the peninsula where we hiked the first day. I learned some very interesting and juicy things about the high rollers living up there. Well, not living. They really only stay there for a couple months at a time. Apparently, most of the wealthy people there are Russian and new money. He was telling me about the family whose house he's working on. He's friends with the accountant who pays their bills so he hears some crazy stories. Anyway, here's one...the 17 year old son went out to dinner in Cannes with some friends and spent like 30,000 euros! I asked him how it was even possible to spend that much. I guess they buy 1,000 euro bottles of Cristal and just spray them everywhere, and not just one or two. I seriously only thought people did that in music videos. My Wales companion also talked about the women and their fashion competitions. Craziness. Well, it was a very entertaining flight and he even bought me some juice since they charge you for everything on budget airlines. So nice. I wish him all the best!

They let me back into England! I didn't even have to wait in the long passport line since I was one of the only people without a EU/UK passport. Sweet. I got a map and instructions on what bus to take into Liverpool city center and the train station. It was about a 30 min ride but I saw a good deal of the city. I got to the train station around 1pm planning on stashing my big bag in a locker or something. They had a baggage check room but by the time I got there it was full. My train didn't leave until 10 to 8 so I had a lot of time to wander the city. I planned on doing that anyway but not with my freaking heavy duffel and backpack. I looked ridiculous trying to take pictures. I survived but my shoulders are killing me today.

I loved Liverpool! They have really done a lot of work to clean up the city but it still has that old port charm. There are so many amazing angles everywhere that my camera was going crazy. The contemporary architecture is super eye-catching. I think I also liked Liverpool because it's flat. Gloriously flat. I'm thinking I should transfer. It is a rather small town so I saw most of it in like 4 hours. I went to the docks, the Cavern Club (where the Beatles played), and Chinatown. I just wandered around and eventually made it to the big cathedral. It's the 2nd largest Anglican cathedral in the world I think. There was a palm Sunday mass going on so I stayed and caught the second half. I wish I could have brought back palms from Nice! They were giving out what looked like olive branches instead of palm leaves. After that, I couldn't lug my bags around anymore so I had a sub snack at subway and headed back to the station. I sat around Costa coffee for a while trying to choke down an awful latte and writing in my journal. Then I moved to the center of the station and watched the crowds of soccer fans. There must have been a game that day. Liverpool definitely has some interesting people. I've never seen so many crazy hair colors in my life. There was one particular shade of blue that I really liked. It was so cold in the station, and it took me a while to discover the heated lounge area by my track. I'm not sure why I booked such a late train. It must have been really cheap. The ride was nice but I didn't see much country side in the dark. 1.5 hours later I made it into Sheffield, got yelled at by a drunk guy because I couldn't understand his thick, boozed-up accent, and took a taxi home. Steph and Dave were home so I chatted with them for a bit then headed to my room. My own room! It is nice to come 'home' again as much as I like traveling. Plus, once I'm back in Milwaukee I'll be sharing a room again so I better enjoy it now. I got to talk to Mom on Skype last night too which was great.

This morning I woke up to Steph screaming. Apparently she forgot to set all of her clocks forward (we changed on Sunday) so she was running late. She was headed to Spain with Dave and they had to catch a the airport I guess. I hope they made it. Anyway, quite the alarm clock. It was good I got up because I needed to work on my essays. Didn't really go well. I'm still on essay number one for Modern Lit. and I still haven't finished. I'm having to re-write most of it b/c it's waaaay too long. I guess I'll finish it tomorrow morning before I start my Crossover essay. I'll have a 6 hour bus ride to Edinburgh on Wednesday so that should give me time to revise. I'll also be trapped and forced to concentrate. Not looking forward to the slushy snow they're getting in Scotland but I am excited. I heard it's a beautiful city plus I'll be meeting up with Paige. Always a crazy time! I love the Scottish accent too.

Updates after Scotland! Wish me luck on my essays. Peace.

1 comment:

  1. They let me back into England!

    I guess my tip to MI5 wasn't deemed "credible". Note to self: next time, try MI6.