Reactions Nice blog - free to view

Reactions Nice blog - free to view

It's very easy to immediately like Nice even on a cloudy day.

The sea of the Cote Z'Azur is a dreamy blue and Nice seems to have a far more laid back attitude to life then its Mediterranean siblings Cannes and Monte Carlo, it's a city that feels comfortable in its own skin.

The Meridian hotel that hosts this year's Amice congress is one of the more luxurious hotels of Nice's famous Promenade D'Anglais; well it has to be in order to justify the €19 Wifi and the €7 bottles of water in the mini bar, there's a €65 half bottle of Brut in their as well; note to self don't drink the champagne whatever you do.

When you walk along the Promenade D'Anglais you see a mix of upmarket hotels next to a couple of older looking casinos that wouldn't look out of place in Atlantic City or Nevada; although they do seem popular with the floods of flip-flop clad patrons coming through their doors.

They must also do a pretty good trade as these same thrill-seeking gamblers leave a short while later with considerably less joie de vivre than they exhibited when they went in.

I left a dreary Gatwick this morning with Norwegian Air and despite the anxiety that normally comes with flying with an unfamiliar European Airline, the experience was very pleasant.

The sometimes surly staff that can accompany British budget carriers were replaced by delightful Nordic hosts and hostesses who did everything possible to accommodate the whims of their passengers, even those of a bored and imaginative reporter with a little too much time on his hands.

I was quickly informed that there was free Wifi available on the flight, take note Hotel Meridian, although I think that I may have been made aware of this service so I would stop annoying the staff.

The flight itself was very comfortable and would have in fact been exceptional if the two empty seats weren't occupied by a very chatty couple two minutes before takeoff who gave off a slight odour of cheese and onion crisps.

Also I don't think I'm an irritable traveller, I tend to get annoyed at slow walking dawdlers and people who can't seem to follow the simple instructions presented to them in almost every language ever spoken by mankind.

However I don't have the slightest problem children and they can even be very funny when they are doing the best to embarrass their parents, but whenever I'm on a plane and a parent is pointing at a picture of a dinosaur and loudly asking a bored three year old what colour it is, I have an incredible urge to interrupt and shout: "For goodness sake he doesn't care; can't you see that and neither do the rest of us. And for your information that Triceratops that you are having trouble with is Green!"

All in all though despite sharing a plane with a few colour-blind amateur paleontologists and people wearing the new Walker's fragrance collection, I will definitely recommend going Scandinavian when you are selecting your next low budget airline.

Tonight's activity will hopefully involve a trip into Nice's old town and a slap up French dinner.

Tomorrow Gabriel Bernardino will speak to the Amice Congress here at The Meridian, discussing Solvency II.

Public/private partnerships will also be on the agenda and a panel will ask whether insurers can take some of the load off government on healthcare and pensions. 

On a day when the UK government puts pension reform in the Queen's speech perhaps tomorrow's sessions will shine a light on whether insurers in the UK can also play a role in British pension reform.

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