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  • Writer's picturesophie sherwin

Should you go Back - Part Deux

Pastries in Antibes
Pastries and Coffee by the Sea...pure bliss

Lunch devoured, sand eaten, red nose with a coating of white (no, not of the sniffy kind, the highest factor of sunscreen that my friend has which is like a layer of white concrete), hoarse voices, belly laughs, engaged in silly child behaviour, it was finally time to go but to carry on the party elsewhere

We had a tight turn around as we had to be in Monaco for a theatre play. Heady with wine and delight I open the door to my Airbnb. I got quite used to shitty airbnb’s when I travelled pre-pandemic but it still shocks me that people think it is okay to rent out places which clearly has an allergy to cleaning products. The owners couldn’t even be bothered to take the chairs off the table after cleaning the floor! But, I did not have time to indulge in any negativity as I had to shower, look half decent and run out the door.

We jump on a train to Monaco but sadly it was dark so I could not see the landscape. If you ever or have been to the SOF you will know that the train ride is out of this world. It is so pretty along the sea, I never tired of it when I lived there. I didn’t mind as we could indulge a little more of catching up.

We arrive in Monaco and when I get off the train the familiar smell hits me, I take a deep breath allowing it to fill my nostrils and smile. However, I am pulled out of this moment of nostalgia by my friend telling me we had to rush. We get to the theatre when I learn the play is actually in French. I had asked her earlier but for some reason had not listened to the answer and assumed as she was taking me it would be in English. My French is…ahem…..I call nearly fluent especially with a few wines….however, I think it probably more like a baby making sounds rather than words, but I always give it a go. We arrive in time but before we take our seats we do some pleasantries and, then my friend tells me that we are only staying for about 10 minutes unless she falls asleep. So, no guilt if I do nod off as I had been up since just after the moon had risen, I had some wine and I am old and the clock was creaking to my bedtime. I won’t be able to understand a word anyway and it was dark and oh my god – I have never sat in seats as comfortable as those in that theatre! As the lights dimmed, I kind of settled down to have a quick kip. Just as I am dozing off nicely - my friend nudges me and whispers far too loudly “Right…NOW”. I did not have time to gather my thoughts or figure out what the fuck she meant when I was ejected from my seat by her shoulder, my bag which was on my lap falls on the floor, and my feet clearly had not unwrapped themselves, I feel my body and nose catapulting towards the stairs. It all happened so fast until I realise I was a crumpled mess on the floor but just as I am trying to assemble some kind of dignity, my Ninja of a friend grabs me, pulls me to my knees so I can I crawl up a couple of stairs to the door. Somehow I manage this SAS move, dragging my bag behind me and now of course we had drawn the attention of half the theatre who were more amused at watching this rather large woman trying to extract herself from the carpet with her friend pulling her, as I could hear some sniggers along with a few tuts.

We manage to get on the other side of the door when all I could do is giggle and say far too loudly “what the fuck?”. Door bursts open to see an usher whispering very loud expletives in French but all we could do was fall about laughing. I manage to get up and we both stumble out of the theatre, in a flurry of apologies.

We decide we have had far too much excitement for middle aged women and head to a restaurant for dinner to gather ourselves. I feel I have earned myself a large glass of wine so we order . We chat to the waiter who thinks he remembers me from before which is of course very disconcerting as I do not remember him so I must have been a few sheets to the wind when I was last there.

The boats and apartments overlooking Monaco yacht club at night
Monaco at Night

We decide to start heading home and optimistically we think we can try to make the train in 10 minutes (though the station is 20 minutes away) and so with undigested food and wine weighing heavily in my stomach, we intermittently jog with fast walking to the train station, any appreciation for how good that wine tasted was a distant memory. And when we did get to the platform no locomotive could be seen. All that jogging which had now dislodged all my food from where it was supposed to be going, I had to concentrate and swallow hard to keep it down.

Next and last train was in over an hour so we decide to take a walk. The thought of more wine at this point was rather distasteful, so I was happy to walk around a little and remember a place I used to know…

Luckily my dinner managed to stay down but it was touch and go a few times and we got the last train out of Monaco. Phew…on the train we were subjected to a very loud chorus of cackling, screaming and shouting from a bunch of drunk teenagers (they all sound the same whatever language they are speaking) all the way back which was rather irritating but it did keep us awake.

As I got into bed that night, I pondered on my day and if I would come back to live – and there is a secret part of me that would love to…but I also appreciate that it was not all roses when I was there before.

The next day passes without any hiccups, I start the day getting coffee and some pastries from a very well know patisserie to take with me to lunch, then I take a walk with the grey, drizzly, threat of storms sky, but it does not take away the beauty of the shoreline, cute houses, history and loveliness. After my walk I

spend the day on my friends terrace, chatting, eating, drinking and entertaining her, her husband and her son. Much later, exhausted but happy I fell into bed.

I am supposed to move into my next town and Airbnb but my friend convinces me to spend more time with them so I agree to have lunch with them again. Before I go there I spend a moment to myself I go and sit and have a coffee and croissant which is just perfect.

The rest of the trip goes very well with far too much wine, lots of catch up's with other friends, a lot of sunshine (and some rain) but it was drama free....

But I still wonder if I could go back to live and if the opportunity ever arose and it is meant to be then HELL YES...anything to be in permanent sunshine, near beaches, friends, the food, the French men and did I mention the wine??? Enough said. However, I say that if you want to ever go back, do it with clear glasses and not your rose tinted ones as they can skew your vision. If you have to make that decision then check in with yourself and feel how your body is reacting? Always a great gauge, but I do believe that sometimes we do need to go back in order to move forward but just don't get bloody stuck in the past!


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