Alright, let’s get the unhappy stuff out of the way real quick. The truth is that the Mediterranean cruise my mother, grandmother, and I planned for back in the spring — the main reason I went to Europe in the first place — was drastically cut short. We pretty much missed out on the whole experience because of a family emergency. Two days into the cruise, my grandmother became suddenly ill out of nowhere, suffering from dehydration, heart failure, and a magnitude of other serious health problems and was rushed to the nearest hospital the second we reached our nearest port: Monaco, where we would stay for the remainder of our trip.
During this time, I went through one of the most stressful and heart-wrenching experiences ever shared with my loved ones in recent memory. I’ll be frank: the night she got sick on the cruise ship was absolutely miserable. I had never seen my grandmother so bad before; often I feel like I am strong enough to get my her through whatever situation she may face, but that night I felt completely helpless. It was incredibly hard to watch.
Thankfully, we were supported by our travel insurance, as well as a team of caring individuals — from the kind staff on Holland America, to the employees at Princess Grace hospital (my dynasty-loving grandma got a kick out of that), my brother who was stateside, and, most importantly, our travel agent Michelle, who effortlessly arranged everything we needed within a heartbeat so that I didn’t have to deal with any more drama than what was already piled on.
While this was going on, I was feeling really bad for my mom — I had already been traveling for over two weeks before we met up in Barcelona (where the cruise departed from) and seen quite a bit, yet this was also her first time in Europe and it had come to an abrupt halt almost as soon as it started. Although most days were spent keeping grandma company, waiting on her health to be stable enough to fly her home, my mom and I did manage to sneak away for a couple days and do a little bit of sight-seeing to make up for the cancelled cruise a bit.
We had been told that Nice, France was about a 20 minute train ride away, and the border of Italy was equidistant from Monaco in the opposite direction. My mom — not nearly as savvy with trains and public transportation as I — needed a bit of encouragement for the day trips, but was ultimately impressed by the EU train system.
Personally, I just adored Nice and enjoyed our day there significantly more than my time Paris. Overall I found the people to be friendlier and the city centre livelier. It had the charm of France paired with the colors of Barcelona — a perfect combination for me.
Read More »