Day 14 - La Torbie, France via Monte Carlo, Monaco, to Riva Del Garda, Italy
Today was a grand day. We had breakfast at the wonderful hotel we stayed at last night. I should have mentioned that this was a hotel that Napoleon stayed at when he was in the area. Napoleon had good taste clearly. The breakfast was if you can believe it, even better than the dinner the night before. We were treated to freshly squeezed orange juice, coffee for me, hot chocolate for Syd, an assortment of croissants and other breads and pastries, fresh salmon, scrambled eggs with truffle cream (real truffles sniffed out by truffle pigs), homemade jams, fresh yogurts, and I cant even remember what else, we ate like gods this morning. On top of that we were able to eat on the terrace because the other richy people do not wake up as early as us and we were the first ones there.... hee hee. The terrace is overhanging the mile high mountain we were on overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, whoa. That is the best breakfast I ever had. All of the furniture in the bedrooms and dining rooms are antiquities from the 18th
and 19th centuries and I probably either slept, or ate dinner ate a table Napoleon did. Perhaps I will be motivated to conquer a kingdom tomorrow :)
As much of Monte Carlo was closed yesterday we decided to head into town again and check it out when there was a little more action. That was a crazy idea. Monte Carlo is built on a mountain, a very steep one. Every road is 45 degrees up hill. Traffic lights are everywhere which means I have to stop my standard on a hill and restart it on the green lights without rolling backwards down the hill. As well, I always always always have a 6 figure car behind me. A Lamborghini, or Rolls Royce, every time. How is that possible? Why do I never get a ford focus parked behind me at a light on a hill. :) I also stalled the car like 30 times in the middle of intersections because of the heavy traffic. I am now banned from Monte Carlo on orders from the Prince of Monaco.
We did some shopping but in the end, I think I over ratted Monaco just a bit. The shopping is
good, but much to expensive for me and there really isnt much else for the rest of us in society. I will take Cannes I think any day, even if it doesn't quite stack up to Monaco. In the end all we purchased were two CD box sets of music to listen to in the car, Sydney bought the best of Michael Jackson and I bought the Best of Genesis. Perhaps odd purchases in Monaco, but whatever.
That was the end of the French Riviera for us. Next it was on to Italy. Once you cross the border into Italy is still remains beautiful. The drive from Monaco to Genoa is one of the most beautiful in the world I am sure. Sweeping views of the Mediterranean from high up in the mountains at times and others you are driving along side it. The Italian sea side towns perhaps do not have the same prestige as their French counterparts, but they are just as beautiful non the less. The only downside to the drive today was that I drove right past Andorra. Andorra is one of the smallest countries in the world and I could have visited it very
easily but we decided to drive on. Andorra is just one exit off the highway and Syd and I both could have added that to our list of countries but we decided to keep on going.
In the end we are glad we did not make the pit stop in Andorra. Our final pit stop of the day was to the village of Riva del Garda in Italy. This is a destination I found in my book the 500 most beautiful natural wonders of the world. As has been the case all through this trip t really is one of the most beautiful places I have seen. Lake Garda is a massive lake in the northern portion of Italy between Milan and Venice. The lake is about 50 km long but not very wide and is tucked in between mountains. I would suggest it is the equivalent of Lake Okanogan in BC, however with a very Italian feel. There are also ancient ruins on one of the mountains we may go see tomorrow. Our hotel is right on the lake and it is a very vibrant and active town. We finally went out after dark and really had a
blast in this small little town. There are lots of people out shopping, eating and just out having fun. We hope to spend a few more hour in this town in the morning before moving on.
I have noticed this a lot in France and have continued to see this in Italy. I bring this up hoping someone can give me an answer to a question. Why do people in France and Italy not use toilet seats? The toilets are designed to have a toilet seat. You can see the holes where fasteners would go to attach a toilet seat, yet there is never any toilet seats, frequently this is the case in the hotel rooms as well. Are people stealing toilet seats? Is there a toilet seat shortage? Is there something unsanitary about toilet seats? I must have the answer. Speaking of toilet seats I did see the coolest toilet seat ever in Monte Carlo. This toilet see when you are done sitting on it, has a brush and mini hose that extends out of the tank and scrubs down the toilet seat while the seat it self rotates under the brush. It was so bizarre yet amazing. it also had little fans to dry the seat off. Craziness. After seeing this I know Europeans understand toilet seats, in fact they have made the coolest toilet seats I have ever seen, so where are they all? :)
I have one major hurdle to deal with for the rest of the trip. Sadly, the GPS unit we were using (relying on) to get us to cities and to hotels within cities, is dead. She was acting up yesterday trying to get us to drive off mountains and into the sea, and today she just wont turn on at all :( We have had to rely on the good old fashioned road atlas we picked up at a gas station, however that will not help us in cities. If you don't hear from us after tomorrow, we are driving in circles in Venice. I have no idea how I am going to navigate that city without GPS. I have been on the look out for a Venice city map, but no luck yet. Sorry grandma about the GPS, I don't know what happened to it... :(
Our Assessment of Riva Del Garda Italy
Kyle - So Beautiful, super relaxing and million dollar views, Italian hospitaliy (Not so good, but you get over it) 9/10
Sydney - It is a very lively city at night with a very pretty lake - 9/10
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