Making Our Way from Nice to Miami

Next stop on our roving retirement, Miami Florida. Why you might ask? Because we wanted to go someplace warm before the start of the holidays and ski season. Ski season for us is usually long, intense, and cold. So, to keep peace in the house, we agreed to go someplace warm for a few weeks.

Why Are We Leaving France?

The primary reason we came to France in September was to validate our 2020 long-stay visa and get our visa renewed for next year. Happily, we were able to validate our current visa without much trouble, but the renewal is not likely to occur until sometime after January 2021. So there wasn’t much point in just waiting it out since we usually visit family in California around Christmas. It made sense to leave France now since there isn’t a compelling reason to stay and le confinement is no one’s ideal way to pass the time.

The Day Before We Left France

We’ve been in Nice since early October, but the last month has been under confinement. During confinement, non-essential businesses have been closed, although a surprising number have taken the opportunity to remodel. Restaurants are struggling to keep afloat serving just takeout and delivery.

Something was different on our last full day in Nice when we chose to walk through Old Town on our way to the beach. Many shops were open, the streets were starting to come to life. It turns out confinement was loosening the next day and the local officials were ignoring the stores getting an early start on Christmas shopping. Diana bought a scarf and had to pay cash because the proprietor needed to avoid the paper trail.

Restaurants are still expected to be closed until mid-January, but it was great to catch the vibrance of the stores coming back to life. We look forward to returning and picking up where we left off.

Airports And Flights

Uncrowded airports are the new normal and this trip was no exception. This was our first time departing from Nice, so it took a little time to get oriented. Our first stop after check-in was with the police, who had to approve our travel attestations on our phones under penalty of 135€. We chose “caring for family” as our reason du jour and were waived through without incident.

Airport security, i.e. TSA, was not a problem either as there were few travelers. The airside VIP lounges and many concessions were closed, so we headed to the gate area to wait. We encountered immigration control en route to the gate. Again, no problem passing immigration but we then found ourselves at the gate with no concessions open :-|. Next time, we’ll know better.

Once again, British Airways canceled our original booking, so we chose to give Iberia through Madrid a try. Air Nostrum is the Iberia regional carrier. Their service to Madrid was on a regional jet, which seemed pretty full. They managed to serve a surprisingly good hot meal on the 2-hour flight to Madrid. It really put BA to shame given the British long-haul business class still comes with pre-packaged sandwiches.

Connecting Through Madrid

Connecting through Madrid airport involved a lot of walking, but the lounge was open and uncrowded! We chilled awaiting our flight with some wine and beer. The flight itself was as expected. The service was modest by pre-Covid standards, but quite acceptable. Again, the flight was only about 2/3 full.

As a special treat at the gate in Madrid, I got the dreaded SSSS stamp on my boarding pass. It stands for secondary security screening selection. The TSA reach extends to inbound flights, apparently. I got to enjoy a long walk with an escort to a small room at the end of the terminal. Two minutes of swiping electronics with a swatch for detecting explosives yielded no news. Another long walk back to the gate and I was finally MIA bound.


When contemplating where to go from Nice, our first thought was “go someplace warmer”. Naturally, Playa Del Carmen came to mind, but I’m a little leary of catching the virus in Mexico these days, so we passed on that. We haven’t spent much time in southern Florida, so we decided to check it out before heading to CA.

Our plan is to check out Miami, the Keys, the Everglades and SW Florida.

Can you recommend any favorite south Florida haunts?

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  1. I’m flying Iberia if I can ever get back to Europe again!! See you guys in January in Colorado.

  2. Welcome back to the good ole U.S.A. I have NEVER seen an immigration area so empty! Glad some of the lounges were open! Bay Area is on lockdown again (no outdoor seating) in case you haven’t heard! Not so warm here, but supposed to be 70 next week! Enjoy Miami and stay safe!

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