Tuesday, March 2, 2021 | Written by Kaitlyn
Sunshine, breathtaking views, and good company; this trifecta of variables led to what’s been my favorite weekend at Georgia Tech-Lorraine thus far.
The perfect weekend began at 6AM, with me gingerly stepping around the apartment so as not to wake my friends. I was headed for the beach – which was a mere block from our Airbnb – to catch the sunrise. An hour and a couple dozen photos later, I retraced my steps back to the apartment to join my friends on our adventure for the day. It was a beautiful day of nearly 70 degree weather and we were determined to take full advantage of it.
After strolling along the beach where we admired the crystal clear water and had essentially, a mini photoshoot, we set our sights on something protruding out of the skyline of Nice: the ferris wheel. I don’t think I was fully prepared to be as blown away by the view as I was. After all, the ferris wheels I had been on previously only overlooked dirty fairground parking lots. At the very top, we were given a panoramic view of the brightly colored buildings below, the sparking blue water, and the imposing mountains in the distance.
We wandered through the streets of Nice, occasionally ducking into one of the plethora of small shops and bakeries. To my amusement, we were the only ones wearing short-sleeves. The locals must have thought we were nuts for treating 65 degree weather like summer, but, how else are we supposed to act when we’re coming from the much colder north of France? We made our way up to Castle Hill, a panoramic viewpoint that had me humming “Castle on the Hill” by Ed Sheeran on the way up. All we could do upon reaching the top was gawk at the views below. I couldn’t believe how aquamarine the water was!
The next day, after a series of unfortunate events that involved missing a bus, a tram breaking down, and technical difficulties at the train station, we were on the way to Menton. Our moods were instantly lifted the moment we stepped off the train and saw orange trees. Curiosity got the best of us. We tore into the fruits and chomped down on the juicy slices. Personally, I thought they were delicious, as I love sour food, but my friends… not so much. Looking back, we realized that we had picked the most overripe ones possible!
As we made our way to the main section of town, we could tell immediately that Menton was, simply put, a happy place. Music played from speakers lining the sidewalks, children gleefully rode by on scooters, and the smell of home-cooked food filled the air. I had a quick chat with a very kind employee at the Office du Tourisme, and she gave us suggestions to see the iconic view of the city from the water. When we got there, we were more than content to just sit on the rocks and soak in the vista.
At this point, I checked Google Maps just because I was curious to see our location. Imagine my surprise when I discovered we were a mere 25 minute walk from the Italian border! My friends decided that there was absolutely no way we were going to pass up the opportunity to say that we walked to Italy, so… to Italy we went. Upon reaching the border, we took pictures and selfies with the Italian flag. The customs officers seemed rather intimidating, so we didn’t get too close, but hey, we made it to another country!
Back in Menton, we treated ourselves to gelato (if we had been in Nice, we could have called it “[N]ice cream”) and leisurely strolled around the city. I simply couldn’t get over how vibrant the alleyways looked when the sunlight hit the yellow and orange buildings.
My friends and I agreed that we never imagined we’d love the French Riviera as much as we did. But we were more than pleasantly surprised with our experience. It really helped that most of the activities we did were outdoors and thus, unhindered by the pandemic. All in all, Nice truly lived up to its name. It was lively, colorful, and most of all, nice. You didn’t really expect me not to end this post without a Nice pun, did you?