Drinking champagne on business class
28 December 2013
End of the year comes with a lot of reflections.
Fortunately, I was doing all my reflection in Liguria where the reflection is that of the Mediterranean Sea crashing against the black shores of the Italian Riviera.
I am one of those travelers who clean and clean before traveling. Everything is organized and put away properly and locked up so that on return, I would come back to a fresh start without worrying about cleaning anything but laundry.
This time, the only thought that ran through my head was work. When one starts to think the dread of returning to work before even going on vacation, it is a telling sign that changes must be made. Maybe this is the year, having turned that big 3-0 that I start taking charge and bringing myself towards happiness.
So as my vacation starts, I received the splendid news of a complimentary business class upgrade on the Lufthansa plane to Munich. Score! But being so used to going to economy class, I walked right past my seat before realizing the big roomy chairs were actually our seats!
Unfortunately for my height, sitting in business class meant my feet can’t touch the floor and I spent some of ride with my legs dangling like a child waiting on a bench for a schoolbus. Since it was a red eye flight, I cuddled up as I leaned mostly backwards on the a la Lazyboy-like seat.
Service was very attentive. The food was actually better than I am used to for airplane food. Grilled vegetable salad with sundried tomato sauce and rosemary roll. Cardamom and cumin shrimps with steamed fennel, shiitake, and carrots and potatoes. There was even filet, which at first I thought they meant fish but was actually filet mignon. Dessert was a simple chocolate cake garnished with toffee and walnut, laced heavily with cloves. I even felt a little bit on the risqué side and dared to order white wine. As it was a German airline, I had to try the Riesling, sweet German wine. I’m sure with the travel sickness pill, and the alcohol, and then the coffee didn’t sit too well with my body still recovering from a winter cold.
However, it turned out well as I slept on and off through the ride, waking only to slight turbulences. Business class is lost to me since someone of my size, I always have room to sleep and stretch pretty normally even on economy size. And I always feel bad asking for things from the flight attendants so I never use that free service.
Arrival at Munich was cold clear day. Brisk but blue skies greeted us. Half asleep, I went through custom and got first stamp on my new passport. The layover was over 4 hours long as our flight had arrived half an hour early. I fell asleep as the seats in Munich do not have those silly armrests as they do in most airports.
The flight to Nice was with a regional airplane so we had to take a special bus that delivered us to where the plane was refueling. Because it was not by the airport, to board the plane, we had to take those staircases from the outside. I always want to turn around at the top of the stairs and wave when I enter a plane that way.
The flight view from Munich into the mountains and clouds where towns and hamlets nestled at the base of the mountain and between with snaking rivers was breathtaking. It was like a Bob Ross painting. “Let’s paint happy trees.”
Landing into Nice was miserable with cloud, heavy rain, and headward wind, causing much turbulence. Despite the murky weather, the Côte d’Azur remains like a shining blue turquoise among a dark land that seems to cover it and we, humans, are sweeping the dirt aside.
As we took a semi-domestic flights, I’ve noticed at the second stop, we never get our passport stamp, like I last had landed in Italy from Zurich. So alas, no French stamp on my passport but I must and will rectify that as soon as possible.
Night descended as a driver picked us up to continue the rest of the trip via car to Bogliasco, the sleepy town of Liguria. Most towns in Liguria are quite sleepy when it’s the cold season.
Trudging through the rain, weaving through the motorway and tunnels under mountains and towns, we passed by Monaco. I was informed that Monaco and Monte Carlo is the same place, except, Monaco is the name of the country aka Kingdom of Monaco while Monte Carlo is the name of the city. I finally know the difference now!
Three hours later, we arrive in the minuscule town of Bogliasco, just east of Genoa. We were greeted by my boyfriend’s mother and family friend. It felt quite late with the darkness and the rain, the wind roaring the sea below us. Dinner was at Just Peruzzi, a pizzeria restaurant and pasticceria. What I love most about the northwest of Italy is the bread and bountiful seafood and love of pesto. And plenty of bread flowed the table including a new type of bread I hadn’t tried, called schiaccia, translation, “squashed” bread.
With the strange travel hours and eating habit, we split dinner with pesto troffie and diavola pizza, my favorite type, which is mozzarella, tomato, and the key ingredient, spicy soppressatta. What is a “she-devil” pizza without the spice?
After a cup of cappuccino, which I was informed, Italians do not ever drink cappuccino after 12 noon, I soundly passed out until the next morning.