So tomorrow I head off by train down to Cannes. This is not my first visit; in fact Cannes was the first place I travelled to outside the UK, when I was 18. However that was (mumbles a number) years ago and I don’t remember it too clearly.
All I remember was that it was ridiculously expensive. We (me plus a friend, and I use the term loosely) picked Cannes for our holiday for two reasons: firstly because we had heard of it (Cannes festival and all that) and secondly because a company called ‘Magic Bus’ (long since disappeared) did the journey in 24 hours for thirty quid. In the days before budget airlines (yes, I’m that old) this was a real bargain (ironically when I looked at flights out for this trip EasyJet are doing it now for just thirty-five quid, albeit in that usual EasyJet way of ’35 to get you there and 110 pounds to come back again’).
We did no research in those dark pre-internet days. Lured solely by the thirty quid journey we failed to realize how expensive Cannes was. Most of the hotels were full, and even if they weren’t we didn’t have enough money to stay in them, leaving us no alternative but to sleep on the beach. Even so we still ran out of money in less than a week.
My friend rang her parents in tears, and they wired her the airfare home. I wasn’t prepared for the humiliation of a hundred ‘I told you so’s’ and so I ended up hitchhiking up to Paris and then organizing the cheapest ferry crossing I could find (it was just 11 quid on the smelly Dunkirk route; it’s funny the things you remember).
I never saw my travel companion again; I don’t even remember her name now. We both lived in London but our paths never crossed.
Anyway on this trip I am hoping to avoid much of the great expense of Cannes by renting an apartment complete with a fridge and cooking facilities, thus limiting my need for the six-euro cola or forty euro ‘set lunch’ that the French Riviera is famous for. Hopefully my money will last me longer than five days this time.