An early start this morning was a bit of a struggle, the alarm going off at 6.45 in order for me to get to Barcelona Sants station for my train to Nice. I’ve been trying to give myself a little extra time than is probably needed in order to make it in time for the trains without having to stress too much and after a brief stint checking my email in the hostel (too early for brekkie unbelievably!) I headed onto the metro to the train station 4 stops away.
Despite giving myself what I thought was ample time I hadn’t quite figured for the complete stupidity of Barcelona Sants Station! Following on from my joyous adventures in trying to buy a ticket, I now found platforms 1-6 easily signposted and very obvious to find. The problem? Well, I wanted platform 7. After walking around the station for 10 minutes not going any further knowledge, I opted for the “ask the guard in your best Spanish” approach. The end result was me following the instructions (as I understood them) and still coming up blank. Now getting nervously close to my train departure time I started to panic just a little when I noticed a sign…hidden away indicating platforms 7+. Asking a puzzled looking lady “Siete?” she took some time before nodding and waving me to follow her into a lift. With minutes to spare, I made it. Just!
The train journey to Montpellier was pretty much uneventful and the early start meant I just crashed listening to music. Despite being about 15mins late into Montpellier, I had plenty of time before my connection in about 2 hours. A coffee (really THAT was a coffee???) and some book reading later and I was back on a train (nice easy platform finding mission this time!) and headed to Nice…..
…Via Marseilles! Marseilles??? Hold on, I just passed through Marseilles!!! Fortunately, as it turned out I was on the right train, they just loop back through! Phew! The train ride itself is worth the money!! A glorious mix of hill, mountains and beaches!! The joy of just being able to watch the world go by!!
I found my hostel in Nice eventually after initially locating the street with no problem at all just unable to find the number! With luck on my side (???) a couple of Chinese guys were also looking for the same hostel and we uncovered it (seriously, there is not one signpost indicating this place even exists!).
Located on the 2nd floor of an old (and, yes, crumbling) apartment block in the middle of what can loosely be described as “Chinatown”, not far from the station, was my “hostel”. I use the term lightly here! There isn’t a lot of life here, it feels like the three of us are the only ones actually staying here and the room was certainly the grimmest I’d stayed in yet. The mattresses looked like you would pick up a disease from just being near them and there was no security in the rooms at all. Hopefully I’ll even figure out how the lock on the door (and main door for that) actually work before I leave here!
One other person did arrive, an American guy whose name escapes me. We wound up going for a beer and something to eat. Well, actually I went for a beer, he didn’t order a drink (jeez!) and the Chinese meal was pretty average. I got the feeling pretty quick that I want going to get much life out of this guy tonight so we just headed back to the hostel (I was actually pretty tired anyway) to catch some kip.
The two Chinese guys leave tomorrow so looking at this place it could just be the two of us left tomorrow!!