Nice: Where the Elderly Come to Die

When I arrived to Nice, I was truly hoping that the poor weather was done following me around – the weather in Portugal was unseasonably chilly and it had been windy, rainy, and overcast in San Sebastián, Hendaye, and Toulouse already. Paired with a cold that I had been fighting for the past couple of days, I was feeling miserable and was beyond ready for some sunshine and warmer weather, especially now that I was going to be having my first taste of the Mediterranean. Sunshine greeted my morning train, so after touching base with my Couchsurfing host for the evening, I happily checked my luggage into the storage area and set out for a day of exploration.

Since I had nearly twelve hours at my leisure to explore before meeting my host, I started out my wanderings attempting to find the shoreline. Instead, for the first time in a while, I got myself completely turned around, burning up a good portion of the sunshine in doing so, and by the time I had myself walking in the right direction, the sky grew dark and it started sprinkling.

The architecture juxtaposed by some crazy modern art at the end of Av. Jean Médicin
The architecture in Nice is juxtaposed by some crazy modern art at the end of Av. Jean Médicin

By the time I made it to the main road, the sprinkling rain turned into a full-on thunderstorm. Conveniently without an umbrella, I was determined to keep wandering around the streets, so every so often I would duck into a different shop to give myself a moment to dry off as I made my way to the flea market near the beach. By the time I made it there, the market was coming to a close due to weather, but from what I could tell it was more of an antiques and collectables market than anything – a perfect place for the 60+, I thought. From there, I wandered my way down to the beach to take in my first view of the Mediterranean. Even with the rain, I wasn’t disappointed – I’ve never seen such clear, blue water in my entire life!!

Nice's Pebble Beach!
Nice’s Pebble Beach!

Not long after I finished my wanderings, I made my way to the port to meet my newest Couchsurfing host, Baris. Baris was an wonderful fellow who originally hails from Turkey but is in Nice for work. When we finally met up at his apartment, he was apologetic if he wasn’t the most attentive of hosts, as he was really focused on the ongoing issues in his home country. As I had only heard about the police brutality and protests occurring in Turkey a few days prior via a string of photos in a Facebook message from my brother. Of course, I was really curious as to what was really going on – a picture says a thousand words, as they say, but the interpretation is up to the viewer most times – and I wanted to hear what was actually happening from someone with so many connections back home who are on the streets participating in the protests. Over homemade chocolate cake and tea, we discussed the political atmosphere of Turkey, the reasoning behind the peaceful protests, and our various cultural differences and experiences.

Luckily, it had stopped raining while we were chatting, so after a while we went out for dinner. Baris took me to this quaint little Sicilian pizzeria where we picked up a couple of slices and a bottle of wine and headed down to the beach to enjoy our meal. We had an enjoyable time, discussing a wide range of subjects as we ate and drank and joking quite a bit about how Nice seemed to be a spot for the elderly more than for youth when it came to residents (hence the blog title). We also had ourselves a brief rock-skipping competition in which I was the clear victor (I have mastered the one-skip technique thoroughly) before finally making our way back to Baris’s apartment to settle in for the night. The following morning, he walked me to the tram, inviting me to stay longer if I had any troubles with my train (it’s lovely to know that there are such genuinely caring people involved with Couchsurfing!). With luck, I didn’t encounter any issues and was soon on my way to Italy. My next destination: Venice!!

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