A Nice Journey. Not.

As mum (I’m so tempted to call her Maxi-Me but she’d go daft) and I are off to Amsterdam on Monday OH and I aren’t dining out this weekend. However, I’ve recently realised that I wrote a blog post about the awful start to our holiday in Nice earlier this year, which I didn’t post so I thought I’d share it now. Just in case you need your weekly dose of Dear Lorraine…

So anyway as I said….It was a disastrous start to our holiday. Part of the initial problem was due to the fact that we had downed 3 bottles of wine at my mum’s before going to bed too late for our 4.30 am alarm call. When OH got up he was still half asleep and unhappy at the prospect of driving. I was just unhappy because I always get stressed before holidays. I am never happy until I am sitting down in the apartment/hotel room/rented house. And just so you know, this time it was a rented apartment booked through AirBnB, the website that gives you the option of renting a room, shared house or whole house. 2015-06-15 17.07.03We had booked a whole house in Nice on the French Riviera and that was where we were heading – leaving an unusually bright and sunny Scotland behind.

I was trying to remain chilled and OH was bumbling about in the house packing last minute bits and pieces so, being totally ready and prepared, I made myself a coffee and poured it into a travel mug for the car journey.

I then picked up my suitcase and took it out to the car. This was the first bit of bad luck as the handle on my suitcase gave way. Arghhhhh. It ripped right from the fabric and was completely unrepairable, even if I had the time. I’m trying to look on the bright side and think at least it didn’t come round on an airport carousel burst or I’d have had to complain, try to claim compensation and been really annoyed at someone else instead of being able to totally blame myself.

I went back into the house to grumble loudly to OH who was less than sympathetic. He lugged his own bag out and got into the car leaving me to lock up. Second mini disaster. I got my travel mug and keys, set the alarm and left the house only to find something was stopping me getting my key in. As I bent to see his keys blocking the lock I managed to pour coffee down my light blue trousers and shoe. I was not amused. Of course I now couldn’t go back into the house because I had set the alarm so I marched back to the car to blame OH for the whole sorry mess. I thrust my travel mug into the car, muttered angrily and returned to the house to try and lock the door again.

Eventually back in the car we drove away from our house.  I attempted to drink my coffee but of course it was dripping all down the mug and over me. Tissues were flung at me and we travelled to the airport in silence. Well, we did until we got stuck in traffic approximately a mile before the airport. That mile took as 20 minutes and started us bickering again. It also made us late parking in the long stay car park. There is nothing worse that standing at a (shuttle) bus stop waiting for someone else to pick you up. We both tried to judge if we would be able to walk to the airport faster than the bus would take. Thankfully, before we decided, the bus turned up and ferried us the relatively short distance to the airport. We rushed inside and into security where it was like a cattle market. Prime bits of meat being penned, prodded and pushed along in perfectly formed queues. Stripped of all our personal belongings and made to walk through metal detectors we eventually managed to scurry to the departure gate and straight on to our flight as it was last call to Nice. We had just made it!

By the time I sat on the plane I was shattered. The red wine, lack of breakfast and general rushing about had taken its toll so I decided to get some shut eye. Sleeping on public transport is not my forte but I was going to give it a good go. 5 minutes into my nap and OH woke me up to ask if I wanted coffee. Eh, no! Of course that was me. I’d had 5 minutes so there was no getting back to sleep so it was the in-flight travel magazine from cover to cover to pass the time as, obviously, my kindle was stored safely in the overhead locker and I was in the middle seat  .

Thankfully, we managed to get out of the airport pretty smoothly in Nice – a slight difficulty in finding the bus ticket office but a quick stop at the information desk solved that and before long we were on the bus hurtling towards our well-earned break. I knew it was only a couple of stops so I didn’t mind that the bus was packed and I couldn’t get a seat. I wanted to be in prime position for getting off of the bus.

I saw our stop, picked up my bag, pressed the bell and watched the bus stop tearing past. I saw the next 3 stops go past too as I frantically pressed the button. Nope. The bus wasn’t for stopping – it was like something out of Speed. 3 kilometres down the road and eventually another passenger went up to the bus driver and demanded that she stopped. Half a dozen people alighted alongside us.

It was easily 25 degrees in the midday sun as we lugged our suitcases back up towards our apartment. There were very little words between us as we sweated our way along the coast.

The house numbers started at 67 and we had to walk up to 303. Needless to say my feet started to blister and my face was the colour and shape of a tomato. I was a pretty sight. When we got to number 303 there was a push button entry system and no obvious signs for what button I had to push. I started pushing them all. No-one answered. OH was pissed off, I was pissed off and, I swear, it was the sunniest day of the year. My t-shirt was sticking to me, as was my hair. You could have planted rice on my back it was that wet. I pressed every button again. I sent a text to the apartment owner. I tried to piggyback on to someone’s Wi-Fi to see if I could get in contact with someone that could help. All to no avail.  OH insisted we went somewhere to sit down for a drink. We ended up in a crumby pizzeria sharing a pizza. It was then that I received a message asking if I was at the door number 233 on a completely different street as I had been given. Eh? It turned out there was 2 entrances and her buzzer was on the back door not the front. Arghhh.

2015-06-15 20.28.10

The problem pipe

We finished up our pizza and, not even stopping for the toilet, made our way to the back door and (thankfully) were invited inside. When we got to the apartment door we could see there were men drilling. Plumes of dust filled the air. Pierre, our landlord, apologised profusely for the mess and explained they’d had a broken pipe the day before. The whole apartment (and the one below) had been flooded. Therefore, they had the workmen in doing an emergency repair job and as there was no water, could we come back later?

I felt like Mary and Joseph when there was no room at the inn. Desperately we asked, “Can we just come in for a short while please?”

“Oui, oui. Would you like a bierre?”

Would I?  Without hesitation. “Oh yes please!”

Well long story short. He only had one bierre but he had a large bottle of ‘cidre’, which had my name all over it. I drank the majority of it before I realised there we no water and therefore no toilet!

I must have taken on the shape and form of a camel at that point as it was approximately another hour before I got to relieve myself. It cost me the price of a diet coke in a French café but it was worth every penny.

When we returned to the apartment Pierre was still there as the work men were just finishing up. He proffered us a bottle of Champagne as way of an apology. I swear it didn’t hit the sides.

So that was the start of our holiday. Thankfully, the champagne was the start of it getting better.2015-06-15 20.49.27

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Chez Acchiardo, Nice, France

On holiday on the Côte d’Azur, OH and I had been wandering around Nice taking in the sights and smells of the old town, which are dramatically better than some old towns in Scotland. It was too early for us to eat but I happened to look through the window of a restaurant and decided straight away that was where we were going to dine that night. The interior just looked like a good French restaurant – lots of dark wooden tables, white walls, stone arches and bottles of wine everywhere.2015-06-18 19.16.05

It didn’t open until 7pm and when we returned I was surprised to see there was a queue to get in. Fortunately, they could  squeeze us in – when I checked Tripadvisor later every reviewer stated that you had to book so we were lucky, not only to have happened upon it but also to get a seat.

Service was fantastic with good looking waiters and waitresses eager to please and with better English than most tourists. However, that didn’t stop me practicing my French and they very patiently tried to interpret all the French nouns I attempted. The policeman from ‘Ello ‘Ello comes to mind.

We passed on starters today and went straight for the mains. OH had a steak with basil butter (I won’t try to show off with writing everything in French just trust my translation). There was a choice of accompanying side dishes – salad, green beans, chips or a chickpea thing. 2015-06-18 19.25.542015-06-18 19.25.41OH decided on the green beans and I had chips with my duck and fig sauce. I tried some of OH’s rare steak and it did indeed melt in the mouth as he promised. I’m not a big fan of steak but I enjoyed the bite I had. My duck was delicious and the sauce was rich and glossy and didn’t over power the tender meat. The chips were incredible but I passed on OH’s green beans because I hate when they squeak against your teeth. He assures me they were great though. 2015-06-18 19.16.16We washed it all down with a bottle of red and when offered the dessert menu we couldn’t resist. OH had 2015-06-18 20.21.50chocolate mouse with cream and I had vanilla, meringue and hazelnut ice cream, which was bliss. OH finished off his meal with a coffee as I of course, finished the wine.

It was a lovely dining experience – very French, very friendly and very affordable.

2 mains, 2 desserts, a bottle of wine and a coffee came to a very reasonable €65.

Chez Acchiardo, 38 Rue Droite , 06300 Nice , France.  33 4 93 85 51 16