Once again – it’s been a while…. Have been struggling to find time for this whilst managing two kids and a long school holiday!
So … the time finally comes around for our ‘grown-ups’ weekend away in South of France!
Massively looking forward to it, love the place and also needed a little time to ourselves – much as i love the little ones of course, I think for all couples that can, a cheeky weekend break away ‘alone’ can be inexplicably beneficial!
So we’re all packed – after predictable minor crisis myself (regular occurrence when suitcase appears and my entire wardrobe won’t fit in it). But we’re done and all geared up ready to go!
One set of grandparents arrive here (the in-laws) to stay a couple of nights whilst we take off early the next morning. I’d planned it to be an easy going night, potentially alcohol free in order to feel (the plan) fresh as a daisy for the pending journey. But as you do with the in-laws (or with these ones anyway) a few G&T’s were consumed late afternoon into early evening, by which point we decide we might as well crack open a bottle of wine… Husband comes home with much work debate – which leads to intense round table chats and wine rapidly ‘evaporating’. Waking up the next morning mildly hazy, the only thing to do is put it out of my mind.
Remarkably ready on time, the taxis waiting and we go to leave (cannot remember the last time we left the house on time for a holiday .. usually have kids with us). We’re in the car on the road and hit masses of traffic! Alas there’s a tube strike! Great. Hubby starts getting mega ansie .. when clearly there’s nothing we can do. Trying to distract him i start talking about something else – which promptly gets completely ignored. (Pet hate of mine) so that sparks first little argument… Great!
Once we’ve got over that and we’re through the airport catching the plane literally by the skin of our teeth – we settle into our seats with a sigh of relief. Next minute up pops a cheery rosy face, beaming at us that starts rattling away to hubby.. an old colleague of his – ready for a life long catch up. Great. I pull out the high life and shopping magazine and disappear into them.
As we eventually take off the plane becomes unbearably hot and everyone starts itching in their seats, removing layers – not helping our existing over heated bodies from the mad rush to make the plane…wonderful!
So we land in Nice and go for the hire car – we decided to drive around a bit and stay in a couple of places – so the car meant we had most freedom and no schedule to arrange or keep to. Another sauna and ludicrously long wait which in hindsight could have been ditched for a simple taxi. But hey – we get the car, get comfy and off we go. How anyone actually ever manages to get anywhere in Europe easily I have to say i do not know… the signs seem all over the place and adding to that the fact that we’re on the wrong side of the road just sends me into total turmoil – so being navigator was probably the worst job I could have been assigned. Yes there was a technical sat nav but it was following that which caused me the grief. We get lost. Great. Next minute in our hesitancy – a bus drives into the back of us. Fab.
A few cross words (putting it mildly) and a lengthy argument later we’re back on the way with the music on. Hubby extremely confident we’ll obviously see our hotel once we get to the Croisette – “It’s the Carlton honey – you’ll just see it!” … we end up going the wrong way down the promenade! Finally managing to turn around having probably wasted in total about an hour of our journey with all these shenanigans, we pull up on the forecourt. Standing out like a sore thumb, our hire car, surrounded by gold Lamborghini’s, silver Bentley convertibles, Ferrari’s, Rolls Royces and just about every other super car on the planet – we just grab our cases and make a bee line for the entrance.
Car swiftly swept off the forecourt as if by magic, we were ready to make our entrance. And that’s where I got stuck in the revolving door! Somehow I’d managed to get my trolley bag wedged under the handle bar in the revolving door and trapped myself and hubby in the section behind!
Salvaging ourselves from that debacle and swiftly needing a drink and a dive in the pool – we check in and are guided over to the lift. As we stand in silence going up with the bellboy, hubby asks desperately how we get to the pool. After all our conversations en route of how we just couldn’t wait to get in one and have a splash about, i’m surprised he got it out before i did. “Ah there is no pool here, Sir”
School boy error: ask if the hotel has a pool before booking.
After dumping bags in our room and attempting to go to the bathroom and get out alive, without losing an arm or a leg, given the tiny size of it, we head to the private hotel beach. There we find ourselves in ‘mini Dubai’ I can only call it. Had i not physically just done the journey and knew for sure that we were in France, i would have put money on the fact that we were in UAE. We quickly realise that we should have taken out a second mortgage as we pay for our sun loungers for the day and join the Arabs in their all-day beach party. Fortunately nothing that a glass of Rose wouldn’t help digest. And so it did. For the rest of the holiday…
A few Rose’s and Kir Royale’s later – we head out for dinner and have a great meal in a wonderful setting – a rooftop restaurant, dining around a pool, fine food and wine and a generally great night. We head back to the hotel and rest our heads.
It’s up early as we head off to St. Tropez in the morning. A relatively calamity free start to the day as we enjoy a blissful breakfast on the Carlton Terrace and (excuse the cliche’ ) watch the world go by!
Then that’s it back to the ‘Italian Job’ – our car is brought back to us and again is the ugly duckling on the glamorous forecourt so we jump in – not quite Starsky and Hutch style but almost as fast! And we’re off…
Panicking again and being swiftly picked up on my appalling navigation skills, unwisely I decide to talk about something that may raise the positivity levels. Sport. I asked about the upcoming rugby that i’d been hearing a lot about but purposefully ignoring. Hubby therefore gets incredibly animated at the interest and rapidly embarks on a massive waffle about it all.. And so we take a wrong turn.
As I’m seriously beginning to feel like a part of the Griswalds family, we find ourselves on some terrifying mountain road where I of course am close to the cliff edge, leaning over and grabbing onto the drivers side for dear life. Insisting we drive closer to the inside this obviously sparks yet another petit argument about the fact that we’d be heading towards oncoming traffic – of which naturally there wasn’t any or we’d probably have already been rolling down the side of the cliff.
The farcical weekend continues as we arrive at our beautiful destination the Club de Cavaliere and our room is not ready. And so we sit in the sweltering heat but possibly one of the most beautiful settings I’ve seen and proceed to have a light lunch .. and of course… a glass of Rose’.
Thank the Lord, from here on the break gets better and better. Apart from being taken for a fool (who could blame them 😉 at dinner when i asked to wait a little between courses as they were being fired at me like some sort of ‘who can eat the quickest’ competition. We’d had an amazing afternoon on a glorious beach and by an incredible pool, we had a divine aperitif in a magical setting only spoilt by being thrust the menu to choose our food for dinner. (Another pet hate of mine). I can’t stand sitting for a pre-dinner drink with no particular time schedule and having the dinner menu rammed in my face. Forgive me if I’m wrong – but is that not part of the actual ‘dining experience’ …browsing the menu whilst sat at the table waiting to order? Anyway – when in Rome and all that – so we ordered, having been assured that we could still enjoy the aperitif as long as we desired. And so we did. When we were ready to eat, we drifted over to the restaurant and were taken to our table alongside the sea. No sooner had my bottom touched the seat and my starter was laid down in front of me.. Holy Baloney – can i not just sit down first – no?
Well.. I refused to eat it immediately, folded my arms and began chatting. Once through it however, I did ask if we could kindly wait just 5 or 10 minutes before the mains. And so we waited… and waited… and waited… and waited.
Welcome to France!!
The rest of the trip however, I simply could no’t fault. I couldn’t say a bad word about Les Palmiers, Nikki Beach, Club 55 and all the spectacular all day, drinking, eating and partying places. We met friends, had fun, ate, drank, danced and laughed. I love it – it really was great, we had a fab time, a giggle and it ended up being an incredibly memorable trip.