Published: January 17th 2011
January 15th 2011
After the Dolomites, we took a 12 hour journey (1 bus & 4 train rides) to Monte Carlo. We went to visit our friends Erika (high school friend of Sabrina's) & Stephan who live in the tiny principality. Monaco is a rather surreal place. The tiny country on the Mediterranean (second smallest in size next to the Vatican) covers only 2 square kilometers and has a very wealthy population as a tax haven.
Monaco is really lovely, although we weren't very lucky with the weather and had rain during two of the three days we visited. The wet weather didn't bother us at all since the main purpose of our stop here was to visit with our friends, and we really had a fantastic time together. Upon our arrival in the evening, Erika and her little Westie, Fuji, met us at the train station. We quickly dropped off our bags then made our way to Stephan's family's restaurant for a delicious dinner and lots of catching up. For the next two days, Erika and Steph showed us around town, took us for a drive out to the french countryside where they often escape to their family villa during the summer,
and took us out for memorable meals.
After a lovely visit with our wonderful friends, it was time to say goodbye. We flew from Nice to Paris, Orly; spent the night and then hopped onto a 8 hour flight to the Caribbean island of Saint Martin.
St. Martin is about 300 km east of Puerto Rico and is divided between the French and Dutch territories of Saint-Martin and Sint Maarten, respectively. We are staying on the French side of the island in which is filled with French restaurants and a nearby boulangerie with freshly baked baguettes and croissants. Euros and USDs are both accepted, and many places accept them as equal currency (1 USD = 1Euro). Having exchanged money into USD before we left (but not really needing them in other destinations), we've been using dollars as much as possible here as they are worth ~30% less than Euros on the open market.
We rented a small beach hut in the middle of beautiful Grand Case. The hut is pretty basic, but it has a hot plate, fridge and sink so we have been able to cook for ourselves for the first time since late October! And
Still waiting for it's Michelin rating... surely at least 4 star!
the location is absolutely perfect. We're right on a beautiful sandy beach in a calm bay which is perfect for swimming in. Hotel Love is next door, where we stayed for 2 nights before the hut was available, so we have been enjoying the use of their wifi and bar service (they make delicious fruit smoothies). We chose not to rent a car and have not ventured far from our hut & beach. It has been a perfect way to unwind after a very hectic 2.5 months on the road - a vacation from our vacation.
We really haven't done much in St. Martin... and that was the idea... so we'll keep this blog short. Enjoy the lovely photos; looking at the beautiful Caribbean blue water never gets dull! We are going to work on our last entry which will be a summary of our trip; we expect to send this out shortly.
There are more photos below