Contiki European Vista Day 6: Switzerland, Italy, France…oh my!
May 7, 2014
Today, we were headed to the French Riviera, by way of Italy. We would cross briefly into Italy (just long enough to really confuse ourselves with the language and grab some food), and then head directly to Nice for two nights on the Riviera. Bien!
Jon Snow gave us a run-down of Italian service stops, and just how complicated they were. You have to order your food at the counter (in Italian), then head to the cash register with your ticket to pay (in Italian), then go back to the counter to get your food. Then, if you want a coffee drink at the espresso bar, that’s a whole other process.
Soon, we were introduced to the Autogrill – a brand of service stops that we would become all-to-familiar with over the next few weeks. They all had the same food and beverages, and I found that I had a particular affinity for their roasted veggie paninis. I also learned that Italy does espresso better than any one else – even at their service stops!
We rolled through the Italian country side, past Lake Como and down into the Italian Riviera. The sights here were beautiful. You could see an immediate change in scenery crossing over from Switzerland, and then crossing back into France. It’s amazing how each country’s style is so apparent. The architecture and scenery change completely within a few minutes of crossing a border.
Soon, we found ourselves in the French Riviera. We passed through Monaco and Nice, on our way to a French perfumery. We took a quick tour and did a bit of shopping there, before heading to our hotel in Nice, the Hotel Busby.
The rooms here were nice enough, but slightly more old fashioned than our previous hotels. The hotel itself was in a great location – only a few blocks away from the beach, and about a half hour’s walk to le Chateau.
We checked into our rooms, and then changed for a dinner out in Nice. We walked down into town towards the water, and into the Le Marché restaurant on the famous Cours Saleya for another “included dinner.” This was the best included dinner we’d had so far! The food was delicious, and we each paid extra for cocktails to toast the occasion (If you haven’t noticed yet…we toasted every occasion).
Next up was Wayne’s Bar. The bar was very Contiki-friendly, with a live band and a drink deal. We spent the rest of the night dancing on tables and toasting our adventures, before wandering back to our hotel sometime before dawn.