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Organising a Stag Party or Hen Do in Spain

Organising a Stag or Hen do in Spain might seem like a simple task. All you need to do is arrange a date, book hotel rooms in probably Barcelona or Madrid, organise flights for everyone and buy some wigs or some inflatable toys for the lucky person getting married. However, you will soon find that you forgot to do a few things. Imagine the scene: it’s Saturday night, you’re all dressed up (all 20 of you) and you are all hungry. You start looking for a place to sit down and eat. But you soon realise that everywhere is busy. Everyone starts getting angry and that anger is focused at you, because you’re the one who is supposed to be sorting everything out. In order to avoid such problems, here’s a quick guide on what you need to do to make your experience one to remember, rather than one to forget.
Make some arrangements prior to landing: book a restaurant for the main evenings, as restaurants on Friday and Saturday nights in Barcelona and Madrid are often busy with both locals and tourists eating out. Apart from that, even if you can find a place with a couple of spare tables, many will not want anything to do with a rowdy group of girls dressed as Dame Edna. So ring up beforehand, check it’s ok, book a table and leave a deposit if necessary. Many places have someone who can speak English, so there shouldn’t be any problems.
Whichever accommodation you choose, make sure it is central to where you want to be and check the price, location and acceptability of large groups, before booking. Often, holiday apartments offer better price and flexibility, so it’s worth looking into before booking a hotel.
Try to speak at least a little of the local language. A quick “hola”, “gracias” or “Que tal?” will go down amazingly well, and break the ice for the evening ahead.
Arrange a few daytime options for those that don’t want to drink heavily in the evenings. Groups are often mixed and some will simply not wish to stay out drinking and dancing until 7am the next morning. So have some activities prepared for those that wish to get up early. The ones that don’t want to come can easily stay in bed and just meet up for the next round of dinner and/or drinks.
Offer mobile telephones or make sure that everyone has their home mobile telephone with international roaming activated – not all operators offer this by default, so check with your mobile phone operator before leaving.
Pass round a few local numbers (the hotel or apartment company where you are staying, your friends of course, a taxi company and perhaps the police, just in case).
Finally, remember that Spanish people are not used to crowds of outrageous men or women singing songs, removing clothes, shouting, screaming, etc., so try and show some respect for your hosts. The best way to do this is prepare an itinerary before you go. Then, not only will you and your friends have a great time, but your hosts will enjoy the fun too. Follow these simple instructions and this will be an experience that everyone remembers fondly…

Fight Asthma With These Diet and Eating Tips

According to the latest information, asthma with its coughing and wheezing is up 60% from about 25 years ago.Approximately 23 million Americans now have asthma with the figures continuing to climb. Experts claim that what you eat helps fight asthma and coupled with diet will go a long way toward curing or at least reducing asthma’s inflammation. 

Some of the research-based tips that were suggested:

First of all eat a Mediterranean type diet. Overall this is a good diet not only for fighting asthma but to lose weight and get healthier. The main ingredients of this diet are lots of of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes, fish instead of meat, cooking with olive oil as well as staying away from white flour products and sugar. A new study finds that by eating a Mediterranean Diet the risk of asthma was cut by 78% after adjusting for gender, age, education, etc. Kids, who eat a Mediterranean diet, especially lots of oranges, apples, tomatoes and grapes, have less wheezing, allergic rhinitis and asthma. Children of mothers who followed a high-quality Mediterranean diet were 80 percent less likely to have persistent wheezing, the most common symptom of childhood asthma, the study found. They were also 45 percent less likely to develop allergies. The research, which was published in the journal Thorax, was carried out by teams from the Royal Brompton Hospital, in London; the University of Crete; Venezelio General Hospital in Crete and the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology, in Barcelona. The Faculty of Nutrition and Food Sciences, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal, and Department of Immunoallergology, Hospital of S. João, Porto, Portugal.s. reported similar findings.

If you are overweight or obese you should lose weight because your odds of developing asthma jump 50%, according to a recent review of 330,000 subjects by researchers at Denver’s National Jewish Health Center. They estimate that being overweight or obese accounts for at least 250,000 new cases of adult asthma every year. Although it’s a fact that children that are overweight increased the chances for asthma no figures were given.

Eat the good fats and avoid the bad ones. Omega-3 oil, found in certain kinds of fish (sardines, salmon, tuna) is a potent anti-inflammatory. A study by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School and reported in Nature Immunology found that adults who ate fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids reduced asthmatic symptoms. These fatty acids are found in cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel and anchovies. Adults who never ate fish as children, were more apt to develop asthma and at an earlier age. An Indiana University study shows that high doses of fish oil of at least 5 g daily helped prevent exercise-induced asthma symptoms. Stay clear of omega-6polyunsaturated fats (in corn, soybean, regular safflower and sunflower oils, and in meat and many processed foods) as much as possible, as they induce inflammation and promote asthma according to studies by the University of Maryland Medical Center.


Low sodium intake won’t help. Up until recently it was thought that a low sodium diet would help control asthma. Recently in a British study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, researchers compared the effects of a low-sodium vs. normal-sodium diet on asthma control in nearly 200 adults with asthma for six weeks. The study showed that subjects who restricted sodium intake for six weeks had just as many asthma symptoms as those on normal diets. It still might be a good idea to restrict your sodium intake though.

Pregnant women need to watch what they eat. Dutch research, reported in the American Journal of Respiratory and

Critical Care Medicine shows that pregnant women who eat nuts or nut products like peanut butter every day up their children’s odds of developing asthma by nearly 50%.

De Boer En Los Campeonatos Internacionales De Pádel

Del 15 al 18 de mayo se celebrarán en el Real Club de Polo de Barcelona los X Campeonatos Internacionales de Pádel. La organización de este evento deportivo ha vuelto a confiar en la profesionalidad de De Boer para el montaje de las estructuras temporales de alojamiento para los patrocinadores y los asistentes al torneo.

Este será el segundo año que De Boer erigirá el VIP Village del torneo, al que asistirán figuras de renombre internacional como Fernando Belasteguin, el anterior campeón del mundo.

Aunque en muchas partes de Europa el pádel es aún un completo desconocido, este deporte ya forma parte del calendario habitual de competiciones en Sudamérica y España. De Boer ha sido responsable de la construcción del perímetro de un evento deportivo inolvidable en Barcelona.

De Boer: Instalaciones flexibles para un deporte de vértigo

El pádel es un deporte híbrido entre el tenis y el squash y se caracteriza por ser un juego muy rápido y dinámico. Las pistas constituyen espacios pequeños rodeadas de paredes que la pelota puede golpear (igual que el squash). Estas particularidades convierten al pádel en un deporte vertiginoso.

De Boer se adaptará una vez más a las necesidades de flexibilidad propias de este deporte, y tendrá ocasión de volver a demostrar su experiencia en la organización de eventos deportivos con la construcción de dos carpas Chalet de 5 x 5 m2 y de 10 carpas tipo Pyramid de 4 x 4 que alojarán tanto a los patrocinadores como a los asistentes al torneo. Estos últimos podrán disfrutar de un ambiente único y de un exclusivo catering, organizado por el Real Club de Polo de Barcelona.

Una vez más, De Boer ha demostrado su amplia experiencia y calidad a la hora de ofrecer soluciones de alojamiento temporal y hospitality para eventos deportivos.

Sobre De Boer

De Boer es la agencia europea líder en alquiler de estructuras y servicios para una amplia gama de eventos y alojamientos temporales en todo el mundo. De Boer ofrece soluciones innovadoras y temporales de alojamiento para grandes eventos y festivales, almacenamiento, gestión de equipajes y supermercados.

Con sede en Alkmaar, Países Bajos, en la actualidad cuenta con delegaciones en Alemania, Reino Unido, Bélgica, Francia, España, Suiza, Austria, China y Qatar como también en Estados Unidos. De Boer cuenta con 350 profesionales en todo el mundo, ofreciendo trabajo temporal a más de 150 trabajadores. Desde el año 2005, NPM Capital forma parte de sus principales accionistas.

Para mayor información:


A Brief Guide To Barcelona – Part 1

Outside the city limits of Barcelona lie intriguing suburbs, a striking coastline and amazing mountains. All lie in wait for the intrepid visitor.

Antonio Gaudi, the late famous architect, commissioned Parc Güell, a peculiar array of vibrant ceramic benches, large ornamental lizards, mosaics and pavilions of knotted stone. It is located behind the city and commands a great view of Barcelona. Initially constructed with a view to being a market, the 84 stone columns of the Sala Hipóstila are well worth a visit. Gaudi resided for his last 20 years in the Casa Museu Gaudí the spired house found on the same site.

A well established home of learning, Gràcia has a very down to earth feel. Vibrant nightlife can be found in its Plaça del Sol which is also a great place to visit by day.

People either love or hate the Temple del Sagrat Cor, a majestic basilica near the centre of Barcelona. Fantastic views and an amusement park are two of the attractions at Tibidabo, a peak among a wooded range that sits behind the city. Tibidabo is serviced by a glass lift that reaches 115m to the peak.

Constructed over 900 years ago and still attracting pilgrims to its La Moreneta (The Black Virgin), the Monestir de Montserrat is situated among a mountain range 50 km north west of Barcelona.

Accommodation in Barcelona is vast and varied. There is so much to choose from whether you are into hostels or modern, luxurious five star hotels. There are backpacker lodgings and various hotels spread across the city. It is not difficult to find a lodging that provides easy access to the cities main attractions.

Dining in Barcelona is a wonderful experience. The city has all there is to offer in means of great food and wine. There are plenty of Cervecerias which are bars that serve beer and various other drinks. There are dozens of restaurants scattered through the city that offer a variety of international cuisine. If traditional sea food dishes are your thing then head to one of the many marisquerias.

A Whistlestop Tour Of Barcelona

Visiting Barcelona, with limited time? There is so much to see in this fascinating city, which would normally take at least a week, but it is possible to see the major highlights in a couple of days too.

I would highly recommend the following:

The Gaudí masterpieces:

1. Temple de la Sagrada Familia – or Temple of the Sacred Family – Gaudí’s unfinished masterpiece and a must-see in Barcelona. A fascinating combination of the original architects’ vision (Martorell and De Villar), combined with the magic of Gaudí. Unfortunately Gaudí passed away before the work was complete. Construction still continues on this amazing building and your entry fee helps towards this.

2. Casa Milà (La Pedrera) – in the L’Eixample neighbourhood – Antoni Gaudí was commissioned by the industrialist, Pere Milà, to construct a building on the boundary of Barcelona and Gràcia, as both a family residence and also to be leased as separate dwellings. Owing to the way its facade appears to be carved out of rock, the Casa Milà was nicknamed “La Pedrera”, which means stone quarry. Amazing interior architecture, as well as the famous and fascinating chimneys on the rooftop.

3. Casa Battló also in the L’Eixample neighbourhood – a fairytale building. Originally Gaudí was commissioned to demolish the building, and build from scratch, but he convinced the owner to let him completely redesign the existing building. This was in the days when the Paseo de Gracia was undergoing a “keep up with the Jones’” battle – everyone trying to outdo each other with their architecture. Gaudí did an incredible job using tiles and scales on the exterior of the building, wonderful interior design, plus again the famous chimneys on the roof top.

4. Parque Güell (Güell Park) – ideal for a restful stroll after your busy days in Barcelona. Originally planned to be a residential area, it is now a beautiful park with many wonderful Gaudí creations in tilework and stone. The views over Barcelona to the sea are simply beautiful.

Other areas worth visiting are the following:

- The very famous Las Ramblas – a busy street between the Plaza de Catalunya and the port with many restaurants, cafes, bars, kiosks and the famous Human Statues of Barcelona

- Poble Español de Montjuic (the Spanish Village) – situated at the foot of Mount Montjuic. Created in 1929 on the occasion of the Barcelona International Exhibition, the Spanish Village is the only initiative of its kind which has survived the test of time. A collection of streets and squares, monuments and buildings, representing the different peoples and cultures of Spain. Some might call it kitsch, but it is an attractive and interesting place to visit, full of shops selling the handicrafts of the various regions. There are restaurants and cafes to enjoy a break and also an art gallery, Fundacio Fran Daurel. Above the entrance is a terrace cafe with incredible views (but alas, bad service and incredibly high prices!) However, the views were worth it!

- The Cathedral – a Gothic creation of great beauty

- The Palau de la Musica – a beautiful concert hall

- The Port, Barceloneta and the beaches

Barcelona has many more attractions, too numerous to list here – so if you are only spending a couple of days in this city, plan ahead for a longer trip to Barcelona in the future – you will not regret it.

Bio Fuels Take Food Off My Plate

The changing of existing crops to bio fuels from existing farmers or the creation of new opportunities for some farmers is leading to jobs and increased prosperity for some, but they are also helping to push up the price of bread in London, tortillas in Mexico City and beer in Barcelona. Food aid for the poorest people in Africa, pork in China and beef in Britain are all more expensive.What about my pennies? This increased use of food for fuel is leading to record prices for maize, as the demand increases so does the cost. Warburtons my favorite bread in the whole world will have to pay more for wheat which will then passed onto good old me! Could the days of a 20 pence supermarket own branded loaves that I ate as a student be over? And its not just bread that is effected, my bacon butties will get more expenssive as pigs are fed mainly on grain.The immediate best bet is that countries that are new to the EU such as Poland and the Ukraine will grow more food for export as they have a bigger market with more demand.
This at least will lead to my bacon butties remaining affordable and keep a smile on my face.

Popular Spain Attractions In Large Cities

Spain is a popular destination for tourists from all over Europe and around the world. There are many Spain attractions in larger cities and small villages throughout the country. Museums, palaces and old churches give the traveller an opportunity to learn about the history and culture of the various regions in the country.

Popular Spain Attractions in Large Cities

Barcelona is located near the border of Spain and France. In this city, you can see a mixture of the various cultures that have influenced it over the course of history. The influence of Rome, France, Carthage and the Moors can be seen in architecture and history.

There are many attractions in the Old Town area of Barcelona. There are several old churches in the city. La Rambla is a tree lined road with street vendors and cafes. The Picasso museum showcases art works by the artist. Picasso spent a good part of his youth in this city. The Columbus museum is located on the site where he departed for the New World.

Barcelona comes alive at night. The city has a vibrant night life. Dinner is generally served late, at about ten o’clock each evening. The bars and clubs in the city really come alive after the dinner hour.

Madrid is the capital of Spain and a vibrant city. It is located in the center of the country. Many people visit the city for the famous museums and art collections. The old town area is great for shopping and places to eat. There are a variety of trendy night clubs with live music, if you love the night life.

The Golden Triangle is located in the center of the city. This is the location of three famous museums: the Prado, Thyssen Bornemisza and Reina Sofia. In addition to the great museums, the Royal Palace is a major attraction. This palace is used for ceremonial purposes. The throne room and gardens are popular with tourists. If you like bull fighting, visit the Plaza de Toros de las Ventas. This is among the most famous of all bullfighting rings.

Seville is the capital of Andalusia and the Province of Seville. There is a lot to see and do in this city. The old quarter has many attractions, including picturesque plazas. The fountains in the plazas are a good place to stop and rest and make a great background for pictures.

The Seville Cathedral is an ornately decorated cathedral that was constructed in the fifteenth century. The cathedral is home to an amazing collection of religious art. The tomb of explorer Christopher Columbus is located inside this cathedral.

The Alcazar is a royal palace that is open for tours. There are beautiful gardens on the grounds of the palace. The Torre del Oro tower is a maritime museum. This structure was originally part of a fortification built by the Moors to defend the city against invasion. The museum has a number of interesting exhibits on display.

Spain Attractions on the Mediterranean Coast

The Costa del Sol is a popular destination to sunbathe in the summer and escape the cold of the winter. There is beautiful scenery and a number of attractions to explore in the cities around this region. Malaga is a popular destination on the Costa del Sol.

This region has increased in popularity for golf vacations in recent years. There are a large number of golf resorts and golf courses located here. It has been nicknamed the Costa del Golf by some avid golfers. The weather in this region is great for golf all year round.

The Costa Blanca is among the most popular tourist destinations in the country. This area is especially crowded in the summer season. Most visitors fly into Alicante airport and travel from here throughout the region. The Alicante airport is home to many large and discount airlines. Book your reservations well in advance to get the best fare for your trip.

The Costa Blanca is home to larger tourist areas such as Benidorm and smaller villages with quiet resorts. The city of Torrevieja is located in the southern part of the region. This city is known for its salt production and salt baths. The salt baths are said to have curative powers for arthritis and skin conditions.

What To Do On The Costa Brava

Barcelona is the capital of Catalunya, one of the richest and most fiercely independent regions in Spain. Catalan people speak their own language and many do not believe themselves to be Spanish. The golden age of Catalunya was around the twelfth to fourteenth centuries, when Barcelona was the centre of the great seafaring empire of Aragon. In addition to Barcelona, Catalunya is made up of the cities of Lleida, Girona and Tarragona, and the long Costa Brava, stretching from the French border to Valencia.

Barcelona has become a real tourist trap for the fantastic mixture of activities on offer there. Its coastal location attracts sun worshipers who enjoy the beach front resorts along the coast, as well as the vibrant nightlife of the city centre. The cultural and historical delights of the town appeal to the sightseer, visiting for a long weekend, and the more active will love hiking in the nearby mountains, where skiing can be found in winter.

The most famous symbol of Barcelona and one sight that all holidaymakers want to visit is Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. Even those that have not visited the city will be familiar with the dripping wax image of the main façade. The famous architect began work on this church in 1882, however the task took a long time as the building work relied on donations, and it had not been completed in 1926 when Gaudi was struck by a train and died. Work has since recommenced on the church and much has been added since Gaudi’s death, but there is speculation as to whether the building will ever be completely finished, or in fact whether it really should be.

You can pay to go up inside one of the towers, of which there are now eight, each one over one hundred meters high. The initial design was meant to incorporate eighteen towers, one for each of the twelve apostles, four for the Evangelists, and one each for Jesus and the Virgin Mary.

Other piece of Gaudi’s work can be seen all over the city. You will want to pull the Park Guell, La Pedrera and the Mila house into your itinerary if you possibly can.

You can get detailed information about the sights of Barcelona before you go from your travel agent, the internet, or the tourist information office in Barcelona’s main square once you get there. Make sure you pick up a map showing all the main sights as well as the major stores, restaurants and hotels. Also consider going on a bus tour of the city. It is a great way to get your bearings in a very busy and crowded city, and give you an idea of the distance between places of interest. Talk to your guide, they may be able to give you local information about great eating places and temporary exhibitions that will not be marked on your map. You will never get bored in Barcelona; your only concern will be how to fit in everything you want to see.

Barcelona Guide: 10 of the Best Bars in Barcelona


Rita Blue: Placa Sant Augusti, 3
In a small square just off Las Ramblas, and next to an old church, Rita Blue is a favourite of locals and those lucky tourists who have been there. It’s location in the square allows for spacious seating outdoors, perfect for relaxing in the shade after a day’s shopping, but step inside and you’ll discover a chilled-out gem that combines modernism with a hint of Bohemia. Funky and retro, there is a plush upstairs bar, a darker basement where the dance floor fairly heaves as the night goes on, and a crowd bent on enjoyment. If you like decent mexican food, you won’t go too far wrong, but most first time visitors cut their teeth on the famous blue margaritas for which the bar is named.

Schilling: C. Ferran, 23
Boasting an ideal location on busy Ferran just off Las Ramblas, this bar is just the spot to get your breath back if you’ve been traipsing the streets all day. Appearing more like an informal library than a bar, the décor is muted and relaxed with high ceilings and the seating comfortable. Earlier in the day it is more of a bustling cafe, and serves breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, but as night falls it becomes a very lively cocktail bar, with a mixed crowd with a strong gay representation. Unlike many bars in Barcelona, service is usually fast, friendly and efficient. With it’s wide windows facing out onto one of the city’s busiest streets, this spot is one of the best to spend an hour people watching.

El Xampanyet: C. Montcada, 22
Tucked away in a narrow, cobbled street not far from the Picasso Museum, this has to be one of the pearls of the city. A bodega with blue tiled walls, marble tables, a zinc bar and a preponderance of artifacts, it combines the old and the new, and attracts an eclectic mix of old-timers and trendsetters. If you’re planning a night of clubbing then this is the perfect spot to begin, get a bottle of Cava and sip it over tapas before hitting the hot spots.

Casa Almirall: Joaquín Costa, 33
One of the oldest bars in the city, Almirall is dimly lit and popular with young locals preparing for a night of dancing. There is somewhat a Bohemian feel to the place, with it’s huge Art Nouveau mirror behind the bar, and nu-jazz and funky beats played at volumes which allow for easy conversation. Although the neighbourhood can seem a bit edgy, the street is a haunt for elderly prostitutes, the bar itself is welcoming and inexpensive, drawing a young and often international crowd.

Benidorm: Joaquín Costa 39
Just a few doors down is one of Barcelona’s odder little spots, a bar where you need to be buzzed in at the door, before stepping down into a haven of kitsch and smoke. Small and lively, Benidorm attracts a mixture of trendier locals and, for whatever reason, Scandinavians, and features plenty of 80s disco gear including a revolving mirror-ball, plus one of the smallest toilets in the city. The music is unpredictable, depending on the DJ, and they often have famous guests playing their favourite music, like members of Pan Sonic or even Peaches.

Cafe del Sol: Plaça del Sol
In the heart of the Gracia neighbourhood, in the famous Placa del Sol, is one of the most poular hangouts in that area. A perfect spot to chill out and watch the world go by, especially if you choose to sit outdoors, the crowd is a fine mixture of locals, ex-pats and tourists who have made it off the beaten track. There are quite a few other bars in this square, so if the music isn’t to your liking you have only a few metres to go to find something different.

La Fianna: Banys Vells, 15
This is a bar with a difference, a strange mixture of old and hippy, goth and trendy, and is usually packed to it’s not so high wooden rafters with all kinds of punters, listening to the odd musical mix that is the norm here. Originally created to have a North African/Arabian feel, the interior is one of red velvet curtains falling to cobbled floors, with enormous chandeliers of candles and Moroccan light fixtures. The food available is representative of the many countries from whence the staff have arrived, from Scandanavia to South Africa, and prices are very reasonable, so if fancy fare that is a little different to the usual Spanish or Catalan, then this is a perfect spot for you.

Bar Marsella: C. Sant Pau, 65
One of the oldest bars in the city, Bar Marsella opened for business in 1820, this wee gem has enjoyed the custom of some of the greatest artists to have lived in the city, including Picasso, Dali, Gaudi, Miro and the American novelist Hemingway. For many years it was the only place to get an absinthe, and today is known as THE absinthe bar, where it is served with all the formality of days gone by. The clientele is an odd mix, trendy youth drinking alongside Euro-trekkers whilst the last of the Anarchists sit at the bar sipping their lethal concoctions with other old-timers and survivors of the French Mai 68. Pure history, and an essential stop for seasoned bar-hoppers.

Belchica: C. Villarroel, 60
You are more likely to hear French spoken here than Spanish or Catalan, as Belchica is the city’s only Belgian bar and is thus home to many French-speaking Belgians, who come to enjoy a wide range of fine beers from home. There is a choice of over 40 Belgian beers, including the popular Leffe, Hoegaarden and Stella on draught. There are regular DJ sessions, a large screen TV for all manner of televised sports, but mainly football, and a space for photographic or art exhibitions which change frequently. Very popular with European and North American tourists.

Bar Pipa: Plaça Reial, 3
Almost hidden away in the corner of Placa Reial, next to Bar Glaciar, this unusual spot is actually a club dedicated to pipe smokers, although I’ve never actually noticed many within. Convenient for the jazz and funk lovers leaving the nearby Jamboree venue, part of Pipa’s appeal is it’s wonderful opening hours – from 6pm til 6am. There is a decent pool table, they serve a good range of cocktails, and the music is always good without being overpowering. For anyone who doesn’t fancy a night in a packed club, but doesn’t want to make it home before dawn, Pipa is the ideal spot to sit and relax and await the dawn.

Nearly Broke In Nice, France

I had been backpacking for three months around Europe and had reached my final destination of Nice. Too bad I had 10 days till my flight home and I was nearly broke!

As I sat in the Gar de Nice, the train station, I started giving serious thought to how I was going to survive for 10 days on $150.00. I had just arrived from two weeks in Barcelona, a Spanish girlfriend and, well, it had seemed worth it at the time.

Lodging seemed like a good place to start. Hmmm…the Ritz? Probably a bit pricey. Eventually, I found a bed in a communal room in a hotel with a lot of character. By communal, I mean eight beds for both boys and girls in one room. By character, I mean the place was old when Napoleon was in power. The snoring alone was enough to raise the ancient roof.

Still, it only set me back $8 a night, so I had $70 to live off for ten days. $70 doesn’t go particularly far in Nice and some involuntary dieting was coming front and center in my mind. Even McDonalds was expensive, but the clean bathrooms made a daily trip worth it.

Fortunately, one of my roommates was Thomas from England. He was broke as well, but intentionally so. He had come down from London to relax on the beach. Every night, he went out and played guitar in front of cafes for spare change. He made the equivalent of $10 to $15 a night and felt he was playing well. I pointed out the money was being paid to make him go away. He just smiled.

Thomas soon figured out I was dead broke and empathized with my situation. For the next 10 days, I would follow him on his musical rounds and keep an eye out for the police. Apparently, the local authorities frowned upon freelance guitar sessions. This was particularly true when he played the extended version of “Hey, Jude” in front of diners that weren’t tipping.

Afterwards, we would buy wine and grab a bus to Villefranche Sur Mer, a beach area just to the east of Nice proper. There we would visit various friends Thomas had made over the years, drink wine and eat until the wee hours of the morning.

I have to admit is was a very good time and I was melancholy when the day of my flight finally came. Okay, the snoring in the room was obnoxious, but you could avoid it by staying up all night!

If you get stuck in Nice and are low on funds, Thomas still goes every summer. He’s the tall guy singing Beetles tunes off key.