Ahhh Nice, how I love you. Nice (pronounced like "niece" for all you uncultured folk out there, ha), is in the south of France along the Mediterranean Ocean and one of the main cities of la Cote d'Azur, or the French Riviera... meaning it's gorgeousssss. And, Nice happens to be near the Italy border, so throughout the town, and especially in Vieux Nice (the old quarter), both French and Italian are spoken, and the food is a yummy mix of French and Italian influence (my two favorite kinds!).
I hopped on a train in rainy and chilly Paris (not without many lines, questions and struggles to figure out the best travel deal for my time in France and Europe), and arrived five hours later in paradise.
I became independent in Nice. I bought a single train ticket and booked hostel arrangements one day before, hopped on a TGV train, and went to a city I had never visited without knowing a soul in town.
I did things I had never done before... I ate my first meal out at a restaurant by myself, which has previously kind of terrified me. I don't like walking into bars by myself, even to meet up with people, let alone sit through a 3 course meal alone. I think deep down I feel like everyone is looking at me thinking, "Oh look at her, she's a loser that can't find anyone to have dinner with," when in reality I just need to realize that people don't care that much about my life, haha. I see French women sitting by themselves at cafes all the time, so I decided to embrace the moment and be French. I brought a book along, ordered from the prix fixe 3 course menu, relaxed and ate a great Nicoise meal. It was... quiet. Quiet but pleasant, and not nearly as terrifying as I thought it would be.
Speaking of being French, I went topless, too! ;) It took me a day and a half to work up the courage, but I decided to be free on my last day at the beach and whipped my top off to give the "girls" a little Mediterranean sun, too. Too bad it was windy and a little cloudy... I ended up leaving the beach only maybe 20 minutes or a half hour later. But I still did it!!
Nice was also my first hostel experience. Not so bad. I stayed at Hotel Baccarat: a 5 minute walk from the train station, and about a 15-20 minute walk through town to the beach. It was a plain room with 3 bunk beds and a small bathroom, and kind of reminded me of college freshman dorms. And I even made friends! Our last night, the group of guys and girls in our room went out to the bars together and I ended up swimming fully clothed in the ocean in the middle of the night. Nothing like a good exit! Our lovely bar night also ensured that the train ride back to Paris the next morning felt fantastic... complete with salty hair and a hangover.
I love summer, the beach, being young, and traveling... do I really have to go home at some point and find a job again? What a downer, haha.