Today (31st) was our last day in France. We had to check out of our hotel this morning (but left our bags there) before going to the cafe next door for breakfast. Croissants again. Still very yummy. After that we wandered the streets and had a second breakfast (one croissant isn’t really enough) of omelettes and toast before being asked to have a drink with some hot French men. They asked where we were from, if we were married, then if we’d like to have a drink with them. We politely declined. Although the guy asking was really hot. I suspect there would have been a severe language barrier given our short conversation!
After that we just wandered around Nice killing time before we had to head to the airport. I had my first coffee in years today, just to test out the local stuff. I’m still not sold. I’m going to try it again in Italy though coz it’s meant to be the best there. I also bought a necklace because I wanted to own jewellery from France.
Also, I’ve neglected to mention that our hotel in Nice had 2 tortoises!!!! Just roaming around! If you know me at all you’ll know how excited this made me! The tortoise kept moving though so all my photos are blurry 😦 Here one of them is just roaming the halls.
Road rules in France seem to be more of a suggestion rather than actual enforced rules. In Avignon we were doing 70 in a 50 zone and people were still flying past us. Also, cars drive on the footpath a fair bit, and down lane ways where cars are not allowed to go. Traffic lights also seem to be taken as suggestions, well at least pedestrian crossing ones are (both for cars and pedestrians).
We left France and arrived in Rome a bit after 5pm and made our way to our hotel. We were checked in by a guy who spoke waaaaaay too quickly and told us where to go and what to do (which we’ll take as suggestions only).
We then headed out for dinner to a hilarious place. We ordered food which was excellent (pizza & pasta of course), but it was much more than we thought. Also, we tried to order 2 glasses of wine and ended up with a bottle. Oh well. The owner was super friendly and was extremely accommodating. The opposite of the French really. We were given bread for free as well as a finishing lemon liquor. However, none of this is the hilarious part. Throughout our meal the owner kept going outside to set off fireworks! He started off with little bangers, then moved on to actual fireworks, then went back to the bangers. The chef came out and started telling us how mad the owner was. Brilliant. I did lots of giggling. A great introduction to Rome!
After dinner we headed to the Piazza Del Popolo for the festivities. It should have been about a 45 minute walk, but took almost an hour because we made some interesting turns… We walked down some deserted streets in a dodgy part of Rome that made me a little nervous, then found our way down some more main streets with lots of people. The walk there was quite pretty. The Christmas lights are all still up. Here’s Jenny on the way to the piazza.
The Piazza Del Popolo isn’t very big. I thought it would be fed square-esque (in size), but it was nothing like it. There were probably about 5000 people there though. This is the place that every website told us to go to. It’s meant to be THE place for NYE. It really wasn’t.
We got there at 11pm and there were lots of cops and ambos just in case anything went wrong. They certainly didn’t do anything though. Obviously it’s not illegal to bring your own fireworks in Rome. The piazza was full of people letting off their own fireworks. Some people were up on roofs doing this same. They weren’t particularly exciting. The annoying bit was people constantly throwing bangers. One almost hit me so we moved. My ears were ringing for a while after that.
At midnight the fireworks went off. They sucked. We couldn’t even tell the difference between the official ones and the ones that people just let off themselves. If there even were official ones! It was a huge let down. They didn’t go for very long either, only a few minutes.
Italy doesn’t seem to have public drinking laws either. Little wagons selling food & drink also sell alcohol. At the piazza we bought a bottle of champagne off a scalper for €5 to ring in the new year. The sheer amount of empty bottles and rubbish on the ground at all the public gathering places was astounding. Here we are with our cheap champagne.
All in all it was a disappointing New Years, but we’re still going to have an excellent time in Rome!