for me, the most agonising point of any overseas trip is that torturous wait by the baggage carousel after a long flight, on an absolute knife edge waiting for a glimpse of your suitcase gliding its way around. that immediate, almost overwhelming relief that your baggage has actually made it to the same destination as you – instead of winging its way halfway across a different continent – is the true start of a holiday for me.
when i was younger it always seemed that my suitcase was the very last to make its way along the conveyor belt, hours after my family had collected theirs from the carousel. the fear i would have to spend the next fortnight in the clothes i’d travelled in terrified me and once, when travelling to italy for one of my first styling jobs, my nightmare very nearly came true; i was in pisa, my case remained in london. the italian staff were entirely disinterested in my panic – “we’ll send it on when it arrives” they said, completely lackadaisical. thankfully i stood my ground and waited in the airport for over three hours for the next flight in, which a fellow co-worker was luckily aboard. he grabbed my case from the belt, we left the airport, and i never heard from the airport staff again..
so sadly it doesn’t surprise me to learn that around 25% of all travel insurance claims relate to lost or damaged luggage. to highlight this atrocious stat, moneysupermarket.com challenged me to spend a glamorous weekend in nice with my bestie, sans bagage. how ever would i cope?!
armed with just my camera, wallet, iphone and the clothes on my back – oh, and passport of course! – it was liberating to simply breeze through the airport and head straight for the town centre, bypassing all the usual stresses of baggage reclaim!
we arrived in the stylish riviera city mid-afternoon and, without bags to weigh us down, headed straight out into the vieille ville (old town) to explore. we’d been set a number of challenges to complete throughout the weekend and happily turned our minds – and our stomachs – to the first: sampling a local street food speciality made with chickpea flour, water and olive oil, known as socca.
this unleavened pancake – despite not being the most photogenic of dishes (!) – was surprisingly moreish and we greedily wolfed it down before heading off into the sun-dabbled streets to explore some more.
we headed to the cours saleya market where we found rows of stalls selling a colourful array of arts and crafts, fashion accessories and jewellery nestled between bars serving up late afternoon aperitifs accompanied by rousing live jazz performances, and even the odd impromptu street dancer! it would have been rude not to sit and soak up the atmosphere with an aperol spritz in hand..
..we even found time to squeeze in a little spot of gelato before heading back towards the hotel to get ready for a night on the town!
but of course, being without luggage meant there were a few essentials we needed to stock up on first – including finding the perfect outfit to dance the night away in!
luckily our hotel was located just around the corner from the main shopping district, so we hot-footed it into sephora for some much-needed cosmetic supplies, then found the perfect little yellow sundress (plus obligatory denim shorts & basic vests for later in the weekend) in a nearby h&m.
refreshed and ready to hit the town, we headed back out into the sunshine for an alfresco dinner at a restaurant we had spotted earlier close to the cours saleya.
we started with crisp cauliflower fritters accompanied by a piquant tomato dipping sauce, then i opted for the steak tartare for main. well, when in france..
a few glasses of champagne and a carafe of wine later, we were ready to hit the hay – stay tuned for my adventures from day 2 coming soon..!
[icon name=”handshake-o” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] all flights, accommodation & spending money while in nice was covered by moneysupermarket.com, but all opinions, experiences & photography are my own.