Well, we may have been a wee bit cocky in bragging how we had conquered the bus system and were living like locals with no problem in Nice. We had a wonderful day at the Christmas Market but did have a few lessons learned. Maybe others can learn from our mistakes. : )
Love Thy Neighbor
First off, we met our neighbor. She introduced herself by ringing our doorbell at 9:45 pm and then yelling at us very loudly in French for at least 10 minutes before slamming her door shut in our face (and we haven’t seen her since). We were too stunned even to say, “Je suis desole” (I’m sorry). It turns out we have not been properly locking our outer door. Each apartment has 2 deadbolts and a chain lock. Then our apartment shares a foyer with our neighbor’s apartment – we think they must have been one big apartment at one time and were subdivided. Our contact person said we could lock the outer door or not, as we wished (so we didn’t – after all we already have 2 deadbolts on our own door). The building itself also is very secure, with a coded gate and two locked front doors. However, we have been duly chastened and now tiptoe past her door and lock a total of 4 deadbolts when we leave. We have the safest Riviera apartment around.
Christmas Market – Say Cheese!
So that may have shaken us up a bit, and we weren’t in top form when we set out for the Christmas Market. We made it fine and had a wonderful time shopping. They have a little village set up with shops of jewelry, crafts, and gourmet foods, plus rides, a huge Ferris wheel, and many lights and Christmas trees. It was packed, and everyone was jostling for attention of the shopkeepers in their little village houses. Mom and I were very successful in securing a number of Christmas gifts, and Frank and Daddy were super patient carrying our bags.
So, Mom and I decided to surprise the men with some gourmet items for supper. We bought adorable little Italian cakes (a steal at 1 Euro each) and then got brave and went for the booth with the most people – fancy handmade cheese and sausages. The man let us taste different cheeses, and we loved them so much we decided on three kinds – including truffle. He had huge wheels and asked us with his knife how much we wanted – we gave him a vague answer, partly because we didn’t really understand. He seemed happy, and we were happy. He even said he would throw in a free sausage (we thought), so we selected which kind. When he rang it up, it was 94 Euro! (About $125 US Dollars!) Turns out cheese filled with bits of truffle is a bit pricey, and we have quite a big chunk of it. We also did not properly understand about the so-called “gift,” and the sausage turned out not to be free – but was a bargain compared to the cheese. [For comparison, a good wine at the market can be had for just 5 Euro – some are as low as 3!]
Needless to say, we have a lot of cheese to eat this week and will probably be the only people in France who will be sick of truffles by the time we leave.
And If That Weren’t Enough . . . .
We laughed about the cheese incident (kind of) and made our way back home. We boldly jumped on the #98/Airport bus after checking the list of stops that included ours. Our first clue something was wrong was the price was 6 Euro per person, versus the standard 1.50 Euro. I remembered reading that the airport bus cost more – rookie mistake -but at least we were on the way home and would know for next time. Then, we realized that the airport bus only PICKS UP people for the airport at all these stops – and will not let anyone off. We would have to ride all the way to the airport and find our way back.
We pleaded with the driver to let us off as our apartment sped by, but she refused. So we decided to sneak off when she stopped again (we were not very subtle with our plan and kind of loud, so I think she was on to us – but we had the backing of the rest of the passengers). So at the next stop, we all jumped off. Then had to figure out where we were – about 12 blocks past our stop. We hung our heads and trudged all 12 blocks back – more than if we had just walked home in the first place – plus had the privilege of paying 24 Euro for the experience (see picture below of our walk).
So – now we are happily home and about to open a bottle of 5 Euro bottle of wine and snack on 100 Euro cheese. Cheers!