Home is Where we Hook-up

August 15, 2008

An afternoon in Monte Carlo, Monaco

Filed under: Travel in the U.S. — Heligypsy @ 5:34 am

The idea of exploring a country in a day exhilarates me. Not an “Amazing Race” kind of frantic running through streets, but departing a train platform and heading to a marina cafe for espresso and croissant as a start. Consuming $9 worth of coffee & pastry, drooling over glimmering yacht’s, we get our bearings in the richest part of the world that I have ever been in. At this pace how will I see much of the country? In this case quite a bit, since we are talking about the 480 acre Principality of Monaco, the world’s smallest French speaking country. A country surrounded entirely by France, just like San Marino near Tuscany, surrounded entirely by Italy. I do love these tiny enveloped countries within countries.

Wandering begins in the marina. Yacht’s with helicopters lead to jokes about Keith approaching to see if they need a helicopter pilot, the catch being that we would have to secure some contract for me as well – social director, perhaps? I have no idea the money I am looking at. None. It’s like trying to grasp the concept of time leading back 12,000 years to the Neanderthal man – I can’t put a context on it, but I am impressed in an overwhelmed sort of way.

Winding our way along Princess Grace Avenue we stop to read interpretive signs that show black and white photos of Grace planting cherry trees in the Japanese Garden near the Grimaldi forum, or cutting a ribbon at the base of the Casino, or waving with adorable little Prince Albert from a train car returning from Paris. All along the avenue young men, teens really, race around in cherry-red Ferrari’s. Later we realize they are renting these show boaty rides, but still…

Up towards the Monte Carlo Casino, and I am trying to remember what the Monte Carlo in Las Vegas looks like –Ā  isn’t that ridiculous? Vegas casino’s usually do such amazing justice to the originals they copy. Once we returned from Venice, Italy and went to the Venetian Casino in Vegas, later we realized we’d gotten a couple photo’s in the albums mixed up. I mean that’s flattery to the Venetian! Anyway, there is no resemblance that I could recollect here. The entrance to the casino was strung with velvet red ropes preventing admittance, it wouldn’t open until 2 pm that day, three hours away. We had to question whether they would allow us in anyway, we were both dressed nicely, and yet there is no denying we are in the “lookey-loo” category, not whale gamblers.

We moved along and I became hyptnotized by a mirrored sphere balanced atop a low fountain, reflecting the casino and the gardens surrounding it. Quite possibly one of my favorite things to have stared at all day

Seeking shelter from the heat we headed to the Mall, always an air conditioned refuge and all around great way to kill some time. Imagine the laugh we had by finding ourselves window shopping original Renoir paintings. One was sold, too bad, but we still had the choice of 3 others. Who wants to carry something like that around all day, huh?

By the end of afternoon we had walked nearly the entire route of the Grand Prix of Monaco, whose website says “To win in Monaco is hard because even a small error in the streets of the principality is fatal.” And that we believe, shaking our heads regularly as we crossed the narrow street, no more than a path really, in less than 5 steps. Once a driver (pilot, I guess they call them) has the lead, I’d say he keeps it.

For the most part we visited bits of each of the regions, viewed the Prince’s Palace from afar, to hot and humid to climb up when we’d had great views of it all day.Ā  Back on the train we begin our 1.5 hour pleasant train ride back to Alassio. We each make the little air check-mark that we so often do, laughing, cross another one of the “list”.

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3 Comments »

  1. Thank you for bringing me along through your updates, images… and now BLOG! I am really enjoying “our trip” šŸ˜‰ Unfortunately the more you check off on your list… the longer mine gets!

    Comment by Pat Williams — August 15, 2008 @ 6:02 am | Reply

  2. I’m so glad you’ve come along šŸ˜‰ I guess the longer list is a good thing. Mine gets longer too!

    Comment by borderlinegypsies — August 15, 2008 @ 11:04 am | Reply

  3. […] An afternoon in Monte Carlo, Monaco […]

    Pingback by Europe uncovered with a trip to Milan, Ibiza and Rovijn — September 6, 2008 @ 2:57 am | Reply


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