My plane touched down and I had arrived in South France. Or more specifically I was in a place called Béziers which is one of the airports that Ryanair does cheap flights to.
Ah Ryanair. One of the cheapest nastiest budget airlines out there. The international flights are super cheap starting at about £20 (about nz$40) and ranging upwards. Only within UK and Europe of course. But Ryanair make money by charging you for anything and everything else. For example, if you wish to have more than just a carry-on bag, it costs an extra £25 to check in up to fifteen kilograms. And even more for up to twenty kilograms. Often checking a bag will cost more than the plane ticket. Silly. Of course if you are overweight with your bag, then you pay an extra fee of £20 per kilogram that you are over. You also cannot share collective weight between passengers in a group, your purchased fifteen or twenty kilos is all you get. And then there’s other sneaky fees. As part of Ryanair conditions, you have to check in online prior to arriving at the airport and print out your boarding pass. If you don’t, then at the airport you will get stung with a nasty little £90 fee. During the flight itself nothing is free. Except the seatbelt on your seat and the toilet. Although I hear that might be changing soon.. Even booking your flight online is awful as Ryanair tries hard to sell you anything and everything during the process. You have to physically select NO for about ten different extra add-on features before you get to the payment page for your chosen flight.
A few of other travellers I’ve met despise Ryanair with a passion. Generally because they didn’t check-in online and had overweight bags, and have since sworn never to fly with them again. But once you know the rules, Ryanair are great to fly with. And definitely a lot cheaper compared to the majority of other airlines. And hey it was only because I noticed the cheap Béziers flight that I decided to go to South France. I admit I was scared before my first flight with them after hearing all the horror stories. I was worried that I’d forgotten something, and would get charged a fee for it. But all three flights so far have been absolutely fine.
From Béziers I had to catch a shuttle bus to the train station, then catch a train to my intended destination of Montpellier, and then travel by tram within the city itself. By the time I reached my hostel and managed to check in, it was a good three hours later. But that’s part of the fun of travelling in that its never a simple A to B transfer. Not unless you are willing to pay for the more expensive hotel right next to the train station. It’s more like A to F with some backtracking in the middle where you did one part wrong.
The hostel I wasn’t terribly impressed with. It was hard to find with no signage on the street or outside of the building itself. The website even showed it to be three blocks away from the actual location. There was no wifi (it’s practically a right these days!), and the toilets had no seats. Weird. My room door did not like unlocking and took a good five minutes of effort before opening every time. No kitchen either apart from a microwave. The showers had a habit of spraying absolutely everywhere when you pushed the ON button, and tended to not only just spray you in the face, but also your clean clothing hanging on the hooks. Gah. I had more complaints about other parts of the hostel but feel I should try not to scare you away with my whinging. I still considered it a better hostel than the nightmare one I stayed in for my weekend in Brighton. But being the only hostel in the whole city I didn’t have much choice.
I still see it in my nightmares :S this toilet image courtesy of joyhomeforchildren.com
The next day I spent the morning just walking around looking at the various sightseeing monuments and just in general enjoying being in such a pretty city. I even had a gypsy guy try to scam me at one point. He wanted me to sign a petition which I highly suspect was a fake one to distract me while his friend pick-pocketed me. He wasn’t impressed when I said no and yelled swear words after me. Not so official me thinks. And no that doesn’t change my mind about signing.
Clockwise from top left: Pretty statues and flags, a fountain in the main square, a random moss cover rock in the park by the train station, and the monument where the gypsy guy was.
The morning was okay overall but it was more the afternoon that was my favourite. I headed to the beach. And what a difference compared to Barcelona. Golden sand but with hardly any people around. The sea was a little colder but it was very refreshing. There were so few people about that I had no worries about the safety of my things while I swam in the water. Being France it was also a topless beach. It had been the same in Spain as topless sunbathing is very much a normal part of the European culture. I had a great time relaxing in the warm sun on the sand dozing and reading. When it was time to head back to the hostel and think about dinner I was quite sad to leave. The exciting thought of a warm shower and getting the salt and sand off my skin always helps.
Beach photo with no bare boobs in it sorry boys.
The next morning it was time to head back to the train station again and move on to my next destination – Marseille. Montpellier is quite a small city so I had only planned a short visit as there isn’t a huge amount of things to do and see.
Would you like to hear some even happier news? Yes? Awesome!
I can tell you a little bit about the job now yahoo! The contract will be located in…
…Brighton! Down in south England. And best of all, I won’t be staying in that awful hostel as I’ll be in the Continental accommodation. Which according to rumour is an apartment right on the beachfront overlooking the ocean sharing with just one other person. Sounds wonderful to me!
My start date is still a little shaky with the NMC continually throwing hoops, rocks, and chickens into my path to slow me down. But hopefully after I get back from my two weeks in France, have that final NMC appointment with my documents, get finally registered, I should start within a day or two. Yaaaay!
So thrilling I know! I have never been so excited to work. As much as I love travelling, after three months you do start to miss routine and sleeping alone in a room. And even having down-time to yourself where you become a couch potato with the television. Oh and having an income again will feel amaze-balls. I forget what it’s like to have money coming in rather than just continually draining out.