French Riviera

top of second calanque 1014 1025

Suzy and I decided to go to the French Riviera after finding out that tickets to Rome were around 85 Euros a person. So, we took a train late Thursday evening and arrived in Nice around 8 pm, and checked into our hostel. We were the only ones in a 6 person mixed room, so we thought that was nice……

 Around 2 am, a homeless man woke Suzy and I up and told us that we had to talk to him. He wasn’t mentally there, so the conversation was a mix between babble and finding work in the US?Then, he came over to Suzy’s bed and was showing her an interesting hole in the wall?? WHAT?When he got close to her, I was like OMG, Suzy, he’s gonna pull out a knife or something. Not shorty after, I guess, he got angry because we didn’t want to talk,(GO FIGURE) and was like, “what do you want me to leave or something? There are plenty of beds here, but you want me to leave??” So I said, “Maybe you would prefer a room with more talkative people…” After about five minutes of persuasion he finally left…. For the rest of the night, I literally slept on my pepper spray, because I was so afraid he was going to come back.

 Amazed to have woken up the next morning…alive…, Suzy and I went downstairs and talked to the owner of the hostel about what happened that night. He explained that this man stayed one night and got a copy of the key somehow, and had been coming back each night. So, we asked if they had any female only rooms because we would feel much more comfortable in a different room. Then the owner got mad and said that was discriminatory, and that he would MAKE SURE the guy wouldn’t come again?? Like WTF….Rude….and this guy has been coming every night AND still has a key, what’s going to be different this time…ughh. So we just were like ‘the hell with that’ and left

 So after that traumatic night, Suzy and I decided to explore Nice! YAY! We checked out the beach and the old town, before heading to a viewing platform high above the city. The walk up was a bit arduous, but when we finally got there, the views of Nice were spectacular. After that, we got a train to Menton….

 In the south of France, no one pays for tickets on the train because people get off and on so often that it’s impossible to track who got checked for a ticket and who didn’t. So to save a buck, Suzy and I decided not to get one, and if we got caught we could just buy one on the train for a little extra. (That’s how it usually is)So when we were just about to get off at Menton, a train employee decided to be a real asshole and made a huge deal about not having a ticket. We tried to reason with him, saying that the machines at Nice wouldn’t take our card…WHICH THEY WOULDN’T(because we didn’t have the card with the microchip)..and that we were going to buy them on the train for a little more. He just started screaming at us, saying that we owed 35 euors each, and that we were being thieves. We refused to give him the money, so he called the police.When we got off the train and I finally gave him my credit card, he refused to give it back until I signed it. He was the biggest effing asshole I have ever met in my life.

 So after a nice cry session, we made our way into Menton to try and enjoy some of the day. The town was beautiful, but I was so preoccupied about what happened, I wasn’t able to think of anything else. After Menton, we visited Eze. By now, I had begun to feel a little better, so I was able to appreciate this town more. It is situated on a hill overlooking the beautiful, blue water of the Mediterranean. The beach was very pretty, being made up of small stones. Suzy and I collected pretty rocks for a good hour before heading back to our different hostel in Nice.

 The next day, was pretty rainy, so we decided to hang around Nice and plan cheaper travel to our next destination…Cassis(about 2 hours away). We decided to try out Bla Bla Bla Car Rides, which is a site that allows you to book car pool rides with other people who are going to the same destination. We couldn’t find a ride directly to Cassis, so booked the ride that was closest. We got a ride with a French girl from Nice to Toulon, but she then offered to drive us another 45 minutes to Cassis because it was getting late! She was so helpful and sweet…it was really was such a nice change…I had begun to think all French people were jerks!

 The next morning, we woke up to blue skies, and to an amazing view of the ocean.I was so excited to begin hiking the calanques(very narrow, limestone peninsulas that jut out into the ocean) that I could barely stand to be in the breakfast room for much longer. We left and walked about 20 minutes to the beginning of the trail, which was located next to a small port. The water was so clear, I could easily see the bottom, which must have been at least 15 feet deep. We hiked up to our first calanque, which was beyond beautiful. At the top, you could see many small islands in the distance and a teal inlet below. I took many pictures, but was too afraid to get any closer to the edge because it was extremely windy up that high. After, we made our way down in the gorge and to the inlet, then back up to the second calanque. The views were pretty spectacular from here as well because you could see a huge red cliff far off that wasn’t visible from the first calanque. We slowly made our way down into the second gorge and up to the third calanque, but by this time I was getting very tired lol. After a good sit at the top, we hiked back into Cassis. When we eventually got into town, my feet felt like they were going to fall off…We had hiked for about 7 hours, so just a few stairs left me winded. That’s why getting back to the hostel felt like an eternity!

 The next day, we caught a bus to the train station( which was beautiful btw) and headed home. It took about 8 hours to finally reach Milan, but all in all the trip was definitely worth it.There were some flaws, but the hiking made up for all that had happened, and more some. Cassis was one of the prettiest places Ive ever been and I am glad that I will be going back in April with my parents. Yes, I convinced them that they HAVE to see Cassis when they come over. HEHE

 

Foppolo

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Ski Trip to Foppolo!

 

On Saturday, Suzy and I had to catch an ESN group bus at 6.30 am to get to the Foppolo ski resort. We had to leave the house an hour earlier to catch the tram, and then metro to get to the stop Romolo, where the bus was located. However, I had no idea that the metro in Milan doesn’t run until 6 am. Sooooooooo, when we got off the tram and realized that the metro was closed, and that there was no possibility of walking to Romolo, we decided to get a taxi .It took about 15 minutes to get there by car, so I was able to check out Milan from the safety of the vehicle..and lemme tell ya…Milan at 5.30 am is not the place you want to be if you are a sane person! Everyone that was out on the streets was creepy as hell. For one thing, there wasn’t a woman to be found, only creepy men in leather jackets…ahhh! And most of them were either still consuming alcohol, or throwing it up. So when we arrived at Romolo, the last thing I wanted to do was wait in the dark until sunrise, but I forced myself to get out of the safe, comforting taxi and sit in the shadows….. Suzy and I sat on a curb for a good forty five minutes, with a pepper spray bottle in out hands until people from the ski trip started arriving. Oh, I couldn’t tell you have relieved I was when I saw them carrying ski equipment and knew I was going to live to see another day !Also, It was great to not have to sit on cement any longer …my butt must have been as flat as a pancake. So, around 7, with everyone on the bus, we took off for the mountains of Foppolo!

 

When we got to the resort, we dropped off our stuff in our quaint, little rooms, got our rental ski equipment, and hit the slopes.Foppolo is a pretty small resort, with only about 2 dozen trails. So after just a few hours, we had skied about half the mountain. Suzy and I, and a couple friends who we skied with decided to get a lunch around 1.

 

 

Compared to Zermatt, Fopplo was dirt cheap…with a beer and pizza coming to a grand total of 5 euros..yayyy! Hmm,oh, ’tis a beautiful thing to buy alcohol legally abroad, when you are still underage in the states ;) I’m gonna miss that :’ ) After lunch, we skied for another two hours in pretty slushy snow before cutting out.

 

 

Later, after getting all cleaned up, the snow cat picked us all up from the hotel on the mountain and drove(?) lol us to a ski restaurant on the slopes for apertivo/happy hour. We ate good finger food while we listened to American pop music haha. The bathroom here was also Turkish style. Yay more practice -__- But after a while it was getting a lil lame, so we got the snow cat back to the hotel. We decided to go to the local club, Club Grizzly(?), after a short nap. So when I woke up, and was ready to party, I looked at the clock and it was 3.30 am haha.

 

 

The next morning, we went downstairs and got breakfast, which consisted of hollow bread and cornflakes. Literally every baguette we had, the ones at breakfast and the ones we stashed for later, all of them were hollow!! I must have eaten about 5 hollow baguettes during the course of the day haha. After breakfast and cleaning up, we hit the slopes again for another day of skiing. The views from the top of the mountain were excellent because there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, which allowed for great visibility. Around noon, we took a break down by the hotel and sat on beach/ bean bag chairs in the sun for about two and a half hours. I might have made a little/ huge mistake…My face is still swollen from the sunburn after two days. I even got laughed at when I was walking on a street in Milan…mehhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!! The sun was so warm and inviting it was so hard to leave my soft, waterproof bean bag chair! But after getting fried, we skiied for another 2 hours and then cut out to get dinner. Soon thereafter, we gathered our stuff, boarded the bus, and drove back to Milano.

 

 

All in all, I thought the Foppolo trip was a lot of fun! It was great to be able to ski again before Spring came around. I loved skiing with my friends and soakin up the winter sun, even if I do have a tomato for a face. I definitely will try and get up to Foppolo again for hiking in May/June!

 

Die Schweiz…SWITZERLAND!!!

Viewing platform

Viewing platform

das matterhorn

das matterhorn

im so prettyyyyyy

im so prettyyyyyy

 

Glacier

image Trip to Zermatt, Switzerland!

Suzy and I boarded a train early Friday morning to Brig, then to Zermatt! The train ride to Zermatt took us very deep into the mountains, which provided spectacular views! When we arrived in Zermatt, located close to the Italian/ Swiss border, we explored the small ski town for awhile, before heading up to the ski resort on the Sunnega lift. When we got off the lift, we were greeted with breath taking views of the Matterhorn! We made our way down part of a ski trail, piste, which lead to a hiking trail. We walked the snow covered trail for a good half-hour until it ended, and hiked back. Walking on the snow, without crampons, is much more difficult than you’d think… It was probably only a mile each way, but it took us twice the time you’d need to complete it. When we got back to the beginning of the trail, we headed toward the mountain lodge/restaurant. There was a deck overlooking the Matterhorn and we grabbed a table, probably the one with the best view! Suzy bought a beer and I bought a Coke Zero…coming 10.40 CHFs or like 9 euros! (That’s highway robbery?!?!) Suzy and I just sat out on the deck for a good hour soaking in the sun and admiring the majestic mountain. When the sun began to set, we made our way back into town and boarded a 15 minute train to Randa, where our hotel was located. The hotel was very Swiss-esque and quaint, which gave the trip even more of an authentic feel!

 The next morning, we got up very early and got breakfast downstairs. We managed to stash some food in our bags before heading to the train station, and catching a train to Zermatt. When we arrived, we immediately went to a ski rental shop and rented some equipment. We went up Sunnega lift and skied from 9am to 4 pm. There wasn’t a single cloud in the sky, which made for awesome views and pictures!We took a break around 1 and ate some of our stashed food from breakfast at the ski lodge that had terrific views of the Matterhorn. We did it pretty discreetly because I’m pretty sure they want you to buy something…LOL….haha! Yeah I’m not about paying 12 CHF for some fries.

 After a long day of skiing, Suzy and I went into town and got dinner, half of an omelet(we ARE cheap lol) at Cafe Dupont! Kinda ironic LOL!!! Before getting our meal, a Swiss, typical looking mountain-man, with a long-beard, flannel shirt, and weathered skin from years of outdoor sun gave us both a warm potato! I was so grateful for that small potato because I was beyond starving! He said “Mude”, which in German means tired and I actually was able to understand that and respond. But then he went into a long spiel and I just smiled and nodded haha! The omelet was very good, but not enough, so before getting the train back to Randa, we stopped in the grocery store and bought more nutella and bread.

 Our skis that we rented, however, were a bit too heavy. Making turns was quite difficult, so I was hesitant to release my inner ski Olympian ;) the first day. So the second day, Suzy and I got lighter skis. These were much better…still not as good as my Dynastar ones at home, but pretty close. I found making sharp turns much easier. Suzy didn’t like either pair. Her style of skiing is a little different than mine…she make shorter S shape turns, so she relies on extremely light skis. But besides that, the day of skiing was fantastic! Again another day with no clouds! Suzy and I arrived on the mountain at 10 and left around 3.30 pm. (Between this time, I saw two different avalanches!) On the mountain, we took this trail which seemed to have no end…but eventually we came to a small train station in the middle of the woods!!! This is a stop on the Gornegrat train which leads up to a viewing platform, over 3000 meters up! We boarded the train and it took about 30 minutes to reach the top, but when it did, you had 360 degree views of Zermatt and Italy! You could see about 3 different glaciers from up there…it was too awesome! From there, we skiied down to Zermatt. The last trail we took, that lead to the bus pick-up, was about the worst trail I’ve ever been on…if you can call it a trail..It was about 6 feet wide, downhill, with patches of snow missing, moguls in the middle of it, and it was funnel shaped….I must have fallen like 3 times on this short section…I was so relieved when we finally got to the end of the ‘Trail from Hell’ and caught the bus to town. Before boarding the train to Brig, and then to Milan, we got some old-fashion looking post cards.

 The trip to Zermatt was beyond amazing! We had spectacular weather, the food was great, and the skiing was awesome. I definitely will try to get back here again in my life, hopefully it will be less expensive…or I will have married a rich husband and the costs won’t matter ;) hehe!