Last August, in the throes of helping my children through jet lag, new microbes, and the sensory onslaught of visiting family in America, I decided I needed a vacation to myself. Tom was booked to take one with his dad the following month, but I had nothing on the books. I began to fantasize about skiing. Growing up in Maine near cheap slopes, I skied frequently as a teenager with friends and it’s something I’ve dearly missed in my adult life (though giving it up was worth those three years we lived in Hawaii). I began to browse deals to ski resorts in Switzerland or Austria.
Then my friend M emailed me and said “I’m putting together a girls’ long weekend in Nice, France for February to get some sunshine. Maybe Monte Carlo. You in?”
Au revoir, skis.
England’s winter was comparatively mild, with almost no snow. I’m grateful for that, since most of our friends and family at home were dealing with the fallout from not one but two polar vortexes, but it was excessively rainy. Just endless weeks of mind-dulling 4pm sunsets over gray landscapes and frosty-cold horizontal rain. I’ll take the colors of the Mediterranean, thanks.
Yes, I am a soft, spoiled person. But I’m a soft, spoiled person who got to walk around with seven other fabulous ladies in the south of France sans children for three days.
See that coat? That is the much-lauded travel coat. Now, the entire purpose of the trip for 3/4 of our traveling companions was to run a road race. The remaining 1/4 of us are staunchly (and in my case, paunch-ly) lazy. One of the runners mentioned that her daughter wanted to see her run, so my non-running friend attempted to get a video only to find that her camera hadn’t recorded.
“Go!” I said. “I bet if we sprint we can get ahead of them–it’s just for a second!” So we did, and I pivoted into a running start…directly into the path of a bicycle that had been diverted off the usual bike path by the temporary bleacher seating along the road.
I swerved. He swerved. The coat flapped open, and one of the handlebars ran along the interior and punched through a button-hole, leaving a 3″-4″ gash. We gaped at each other for a second before determining that we were both okay and he pedaled off.
(She got the video, by the way. You can hear panting in the background.)
Later, my friend remarked “You could not have planned that if you tried.” I certainly wasn’t going to take it out on the cyclist–even if he spoke English that was such a freak occurrence that it couldn’t have possibly been any fault of his. In any case, 14 quid at the tailor later and all was right as rain, with a visible but as discreet-as-possible repair (and I have serious reason to doubt anyone’s going to be staring at my upper thighs for any length of time anyway).
Aside from the universe emphatically reminding me that I am ridiculous, it was a delightful trip. Nice is a pleasant place to spend a few days (just don’t tell the British guy screaming profanities into his phone about what a dump it was and how he’d be back in Monaco in a few days–from what I saw there were equal amounts of palm trees and dog poo on the sidewalks).
More than a few days would be boring (not to mention expensive–the food prices! Blerg!) but we snuck in a day trip to Monte Carlo too. The water was blue and fresh-looking, there were swaying palm trees, and while it wasn’t quite tank top weather it was certainly warm enough to enjoy a bread-based brunch outside with a dear friend and a glass of Sancerre.
And really, isn’t having to break a meal into toddler-friendly bits and helping yourself to a glass of wine at 10am what traveling without your kids is all about?
I’ve already booked another girls’ weekend for October. Iceland (and its spas) is going to be AWESOME.