Côte d’Azur-Le Premier Jour/Day 1

I love to travel. Or rather I love to be in new and/or different places away from my day to day life in Los Angeles. The actual trip to any given place isn’t all that enjoyable, especially ten hour plane rides.

I am very fortunate that for the seventh year in a row I’ve got to travel internationally.  This year my husband and I traveled to the Cote d’Azure or the French Riveria for eight days.

Two days before we left on our trip I woke up with a sore throat. This sent a wave of panic throughout my entire being. I had been lucky this year to avoid cold and flu season, that is until two days before we were supposed to fly from Los Angeles to Nice via London. I was terrified that my sore throat would quickly spiral into a full-fledged illness that could ruin the vacation I had spent months and months preparing for. Fortunately, thanks to lots of sleep, tons of vitamin C and Zinc was able to destroy my cold before it really told hold of me.

When my husband and I got into our taxi to go to Los Angeles International Airport I was at 95% and getting better.

Last year when my husband and I went to Spain for two weeks we made the mistake of over packing. That caused a lot of drama over the course of our vacation as we constantly had to try to avoid being over the weight limit for a plane rides. This year, in order to avoid that mistake, we purchased a portable luggage scale. This was one of the best purchases we could have made because we were able to know exactly where we stood before we left Los Angeles.

We got to LAX with a nice cushion before our flight.

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We ate dinner and waited for our plane. Since I still wasn’t at 100% I decided to avoid dairy with my dinner and pass on any wine that British Airways might offer me. I figured if I was going to have a relapse with my cold it would be better to relapse from eating French Cheese or drinking French Wine than to relapse before we even got going.

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My husband and I have devised a strategy to maximize our comfort on the long flight from Los Angeles to London. We have figured out that it’s better to sit across the aisle from each other rather than sit right next to each other.

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That was we can still talk but since we are both on the aisle nobody is stuck in the middle and we can both get up to stretch out legs and go to the bathroom whenever we want without bothering anybody.

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I thought I had hit the jackpot when we realized the plane wasn’t full. The middle seat between me and the woman who had the window wasn’t occupied. That meant that we could stretch out more and not feel cramped at all. Unfortunately, cold and flu season threw us another curve ball. My poor husband was seated next to a woman who was extremely sick and coughing up a storm. We were both upset that after I fought so hard to get well he could end up getting sick from sitting next to a very sick passenger. In an effort to avoid this woman’s plague he moved to the empty seat next to me. Fortunately, the woman who was sitting in the window seat was very understanding about letting my husband move to the empty seat that had previously given she and I extra room…In the long run the strategy paid off. My husband didn’t get sick and I think that moving away from the sick woman played a large part in that.

Once we were settled in I decided to watch a movie. I watched “Trainwreck”. It reminded me a lot of 2011’s “Bridesmaids” in that is it very funny but also 100% formulaic (almost to the point where you feel like you can mark out all the plot points in a “How to Write A Screenplay” book). After the movie and the dinner that British Airways served us I took some Nyquil in the hope of getting some sleep. Airplane sleep is never the best quality but fortunately I was able to get about five hours and I woke up feeling the same as I had before. That was a big relief because I had feared that breathing the recycled airplane air would cause a relapse with my cold. As we worked out way towards London’s Heathrow airport I watched several episodes of “The Big Bang Theory”.

In 2011 my husband and I were both in awe and overwhelmed by London Heathrow. This year was the 8th and 9th times we’ve flowed through that airport. Despite the fact that we have never left the airport and gone into London it is my third most visited airport in the world (after LAX and Denver International). We know terminal 5 so well that we could almost go thought it in our sleep.

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We know that after getting off our plane we have to take a train to an escalator, then we have to go through a passport check and then though security before we get to the part of the airport where all the food and shops are. We know the airport so well that we know where we like to eat, a restaurant called Pret a Manger, and that they don’t post your departing gate until about forty minutes before your planes leaves.

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After we settled in I discovered an annoying thing with my phone that would prove to be a pain for about 70% of our trip. Despite the fact that my cell phone provider (T-Mobile) told me I would have no problems with my data plan I couldn’t connect to whatever local network they put me on. At Heathrow I was able to use their free Wi-Fi but it was a problem that persist though out our trip. What was odd about this was that I have a joint plan with my husband and he had excellent service 95% of the time. I suppose it must have been a difference in our operating systems. He has an Android and I have a Windows Phone (I’m wasn’t the biggest fan before our trip and now I’m pretty sure I’ll never buy a windows phone ever again)…Not having reliable data over the course of our trip was both a good thing and a bad thing. It was a good thing because I wasn’t messing with my phone as much as I normally would have, instead I was focusing on the sights around me. It was a bad thing because there were times when it made it much more difficult to coordinate things but it all worked out in the end.

Some of our past layovers at Heathrow we have felt rushed but this time our layover was five hours. That was nice because we didn’t have to rush but somewhere between hours three and four it just felt too long; especially since we had already flown for ten hours just to get to London.

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But finally it was time for our plane to Nice to leave.

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The flight was only about two hours from gate to gate. Once we arrived in Nice getting through customs was very easy, as it always is in Europe. I am forever amazed at this. I feel like the United States of America always makes it very difficult to enter the country to the pint that it makes its own citizens feel unwelcome. I understand that there are reasons for this but come on. Let’s get real here, we went to France that suffered two terrorist attacks last year and like the rest of Europe has a massive migrant crisis to deal with but I digress…After getting another stamp on our passport we were in a Taxi headed for our hotel.

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The first thing I liked about Nice was how close the airport is to the city. Unlike Madrid and Paris we were at our hotel in a flash and the cab ride only cost us 30 Euros.

After we checked into our room we headed up to our sixth floor room. Our hotel was very expensive but we made a decision when we were booking our trip to make sure we didn’t end up in some dive like we did last year in Seville. While eight nights in our hotel in Nice cost as much as a month’s rent back in Los Angeles it was worth it. Our room was definitely the biggest hotel room we’ve had in our five trips to Europe.

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What was really nice was that the Hotel left us a bottle of wine (which for some reason I never drank), two bottles of Evian (which they replaced almost every day for free) and three tiny little deserts. It was a very nice welcome.

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We were both tired but felt quite dirty after so many hours of flying. We each took a shower before going to bed. As always we both hoped that our bodies would quickly adjust to a time zone that was eight hours head of what our bodies were used to.

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My first novel, “Missing Pieces” is available for purchase in Paperback and on the Kindle. Check it out!

 

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