Last Friday I made my way to school at 2 o’clock in the morning. Everything else was quiet except a small gathering of people inside the school gates. This group of people set off for Gatwick at 2:30, ready for our flight at 07:30. We arrived tired and hungry, ready for a second breakfast and a few cups of tea! Our flight ended up leaving about half an hour late but the view was well worth it when we eventually got to a higher altitude. The clouds simply looked stunning - they covered the earth in a carpet of fluff balls. It was breathtaking.
Coming into the Nice airport was also stunning. The sun was shining and the sea reflected two gorgeous defined shades of blue. Then, when we had properly landed and had exited the plane, it started to rain. It rained and it rained and it rained. Heavily. That day we were due to go to the Matisse museum after a picnic lunch. We had to walk there, all the way uphill and were completely soaked through by the time we reached our picnic destination. We found a little shelter and sat down to eat before heading to the museum.
The next day was probably one of the best days of my life. It was honestly so good that I can hardly describe.
We woke up early, having slept like a log after the long day previously, and got ready for a day out in Nice. First of all we went to the Flower Market or Marché aux Fleurs. It was so beautiful and the sun shining made it even better. The stalls were simply fabulous. There were flowers everywhere and foods of all colours to match. Brilliant smells came from every angle coming from fresh fruit, flowers, spices, breads and cakes. Extra colour was added by artists selling their work on the street and cafés that lined it.
For lunch, my friend and I bought loads of the fresh food from the market as we were having another picnic lunch, this time from one of the highest points in Nice. We could see all over the city and out to see. It was beautiful and accompanied by warm sunshine and the gentle, constant fall of a waterfall jumping from the hill’s edge. I bought a crepe and ate it, along with the picnic, at a table that overlooked Nice.
Then, that afternoon, we went to the cinema to watch Deadpool. It was the first film I had seen in a foreign language without subtitles and I was surprised by how much French I actually understood - go me! It was a really good film, even though I didn’t understand every word they said and I feel like watching French films really helps to further my understanding of the language.
That evening, after having eaten again, we went to the opening night of the Carnaval de Nice, which was completely amazing! Before the carnival started some of my friends and I went on the ferris wheel. From the top of the ferris wheel you could see the whole of Nice, which was lit up with evening lights and carnival goers. Cans of silly string were being sold along the sides of the street and, of course, we took advantage of that to wage a full scale silly string war on each other.
Then the parade started and new noises and lights were coming down the street. New performers kept coming down the street and it seemed neverending. We had such a good time and were gutted when it had to end. Why can’t we have carnivals like that in Britain? Seriously! We need to get our act together.
While we were there the Citrus Festival was beginning, however, we didn’t go in to see it as you had to pay and was really busy. Even so, we saw lots of the floats which were made out of oranges and lemons, and we saw a ridiculous amount of citrus trees dotted around the town, which was really cool as it’s not something that you usually see in grey Britain.
We visited the Cocteau museum. I much preferred this museum to Matisse as the pieces were a lot more varied when it came to medium and they seemed to have more of style and skill about them.
We ate lunch at a lovely restaurant in a small square in town. The pizzas were SO good. I can't even describe how yummy it was. We set off into the town to have a short explore before we were back with our school party to undertake a challenge of finding the tattiest tourist tat there was there. I think our group did pretty well, we bought a silly Valentine’s Day and Menton postcard and a little plastic surfer man whose hips wiggled if you moved him.
That evening some of the group went out for a walk in the town while the rest of us decided to stay in the hotel. I spent the majority of that evening in my friend’s room laughing and eating. What’s a better combination?
Monday was the day of Monaco. We visited the principality in the morning and stayed until late afternoon. We climbed the hill so that we came to the palace on Le Rocher. There were two guards outside and it all looked very impressive, especially when the guards changed and did all their fancy “walking about, moving around their gun” stuff. The scenes in Monaco were stunning. There were harbours and yachts everywhere and posh cars and buildings everywhere else. I’ve never seen so many designer brands in the same place before in my life!
We visited the Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium. All of the creatures that they had there were really cool. Some of the jellyfish and sharks especially. At the end of the museum we could stroke some smaller sharks who were swimming around in a smaller, transparent tank that was a lot lower down. They felt so soft and smooth, it was an amazing experience.
Leaving the museum we split off into groups to have a picnic lunch in the town. My group decided to find a spot in the park to eat. The spot was right next to the sea; only a stone wall and a bit of foliage separated us from it. It was wonderful and great to have some added heat as well.
After lunch and a peruse around the streets, we took a tour of the race track on a mini “train”. We saw all of the places that would usually be viewed from a TV screen and it was weird but cool to see it being used how it normally is for the vast majority of the year.
Most of us then took to the ice rink and made our way around with varying degrees of capability. I felt like a bit of a Bambi at the beginning and have to admit that I fell over too many times than I would care to say but never mind! I definitely improved by the end of my time on the rink though! A plus if ever I saw one!
That evening we all went out for a walk into the city. We went on the ferris wheel for a second time, this time with more people who hadn't wanted to go on it previously. Next to the ferris wheel there was a pop up shop that had come with the carnival that sold candy floss and toffee apples and everything sweet! My friend and I both bought sticks of candy floss that were bigger than our heads and were inevitably shared out amongst our friends.
Then came our last day in Nice. It was so sad seeing our rooms emptied and our bags fully packed once more. We left our bags in the hotel’s reception for the day and went to the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nice. This was my favourite museum out of the ones we had visited on the trip. There were so many different styles and mediums used and pieces that had great stories of how they were created. I loved it.
We then headed off to the market area again, where we had chance to explore bit more than we had done on Saturday. My group however, had collected money from all of the students on the trip and spent the vast majority of our free time finding small gifts for the teachers who had organised the trip and had taken their holiday time out to bring us to Nice.
After giving them their gifts, we went up to the high street where there were larger brands, bigger shops and a shopping centre. There were so many shops that I either hadn’t seen before or don’t have any stores in the UK, so it was quite overwhelming and we didn’t manage to get to everything, but we managed to get to a fair few. One of these included Sephora, which made us excited as soon as we saw it on the first day. It’s so exciting going into Sephora, there’s so much make-up in there! If only it were a bit cheaper and I could buy more… I did buy an eyeshadow palette from there though. I bought the Too Faced Chocolate Bar, which smells and looks amazing! It’s so gorgeous and I can’t wait to wear them! When I got home I ordered some Real Techniques eye shadow brushes from amazon.co.uk as I had a £10 voucher that was given to me at Christmas. The brushes were cheaper than they would have been in store and this meant that I only had to pay about £3 for them in total. Not bad.
Sadly all holidays have to come to an end and ours did that day. We recollected our bags at the hotel and waited for a little while until a bus came to bring us to the airport and we were once again being put through security and passport checks. We eventually arrived back at school at about 01:10 the next day.
Thank you to all of my friends who made the trip so special and enjoyable, to the teachers for organising it and bringing us to amazing places, and to new friends made on the trip. It was really great. Ridiculously great.
Some of you may have noticed Katie from katieswaytohappy.blogspot.co.uk in some of these pictures. Please go over to her blog and have a read of her posts about the trip! She's doing day by day instalments of the trip, and you can read about it from another point of view! Also, I've borrowed some of her pictures for this post so go over and check out her blog!