More relief than anything..........
11.03.2013 - 12.03.2013 13 °C
We started to think that we'd never get here and by the time we went to bed last night we were wondering if we wanted to be here but now we're in love with the place and life is pretty good. We're now in Marseille after a brief sojourn in Nice and our first drive on truly "foreign" roads - the UK is way too familiar to be foreign!
It was with some trepidation that we got ready and returned to the airport on Monday. Once again, we go there early and checked in around 7pm. Once again it paid off as both security and immigration were deserted and we were the first into the lounge. We new the lounge was going to be busy becasue there was an additional flight. Yes, gentle readers, our rescheduled/cancelled flight was due to depart at 2330 that night - or roughly an hour after we left. I hope it left, it would have been really ugly if it hadn't. We got chatting to a lady named Debbie who works and lives in Cairo and commutes home every couple of months and the time went quite quickly. Back on board and got comfortable again, Booked our shower, got our amenities, got lots of sympathy when the team found out we'd been on the other flight and then heard the captain talking about departure. In a remarkably short time we were pushing back and I've never been quite so excited to take off from the ground in my life!!!
In the air we collected our menus and had a little supper - caviar and soup (served separately of course) for me and caviar and a mezze platter which was huge for Hugh. We'd both changed into something more comfortable after take off - I wore the Emirates pyjamas and Hugh put on some sleeping shorts and a t-shirt - great way to protect your clothes. After dinner we had the beds made up and curled up. Slept for a solid 6 hours and slowly came back to life about 5 hours or so from Dubai. Wasn't too energetic - had a coffee and read and watched some entertainment. Had breakfast about 2 1/2 hours out of Dubai and we were then called to the shower. We'd booked at the same time and perversely thought that we were sharing the 30 minute slot. No - nothing so swinging 70s - there are two bathrooms and we had one each at the same time. We were taken through bathroom protocol - you get a 30 minute slot, 5 minutes worth of water and it's all set up for you with all of the product, towels, etc that you'd need. There is loads of space both in the bathroom and in the shower itself and it was wonderful to freshen up and to consider that we were doing it (showering of course) at 38000 feet. Much refreshed and dreseed and made up we were back in our seats with lots of time to spare.
Into Dubai on time and no problems on landing. We were through immigration/security quickly and then looking for the train from the A380 Hub to the other terminal. Really well organised and absolutely no fuss. We did have a huge walk to our gate and were grateful that there was a 1st Class lounge in the boondocks. Bizarrely we were boarded last for the leg to Dubai. Had a remote stand and were all shunted onto buses. Economy were sent first on ordinary buses. Then Business on what I presume were slightly flasher - assuming that everyone could sit down. First Class were called to a special bus which was equipped with leather lounge chairs in a position for chatting rather than side by side - it was like a moving lounge room.
Flight was fine - slightly fed up with planes by that stage but we survived. Into Nice on time and as the airport is virtually on the beach and in the City you immediately felt like you were on the Riviera. Getting through the formalities made our experience in Manchester seem like the height of beaurocracry - passports were checked quickly by the Police, no entry cards to fill out and no customs checks. Absolute chaos outside but we found our driver and were at the hotel about 30 minutes after landing.
The Negresco was extremely beautiful and the staff were very welcoming and professional. Mercifully, they all spoke English as well. To be honest, we probably weren't in the right mood to enjoy it properly as we were absolutely buggered and did not have the time to appreciate Nice in general or the hotel specifically. We went for a walk as is advised and found SFR (euro version of Vodafone) and bought SIMs so that we're now back on line. Bought Hugh a beret - he looks tres tres chic - and I bought a new red hat and scarf (yeah yeah I know!). Back at the hotel and a sleep for a couple of hours before dinner in La Rotonde. This place had to be seen to be believed! In fact I saw it but I don't believe it yet! It's like a carousel - complete with horses that move every 15 minutes or so and some spectacular paint work and decorations. Again, we weren't in the best frame of mind to enjoy it and dinner was rapid and we were in bed by 9 o'clock.