Published: December 22nd 2010September 25th 2010
I awake pretty early, and I make my way to the train station. Today would be my last full day in Europe, and I wanted to make the most of it. I arrived at the train station, and I was going to ask for directions. Unfortunately for me, the station had no attendant this early. I thought to myself, “What do I do now?” Lucky for me, there were two young guys at the station. I was hesitant at first to talk to them for they appeared to be like many young kids these days. Longer hair with baggy clothes, hat turned sideways, etc... One was riding his tripped out stunt looking bike. Anyway, I asked if they spoke English, and they did. I asked them how to get to Monte Carlo. They said they were going the same way, and they told me which train to get on. I took their advice, and I sat and waited for the train. It finally came, and I boarded. Again, this train was a local train, and you did not need a reservation. I found me a seat, and I patiently waited as each stop came and went. From my station to my
destination were nine stops. This equated to about forty minutes. What a beautiful ride it was. The view from the window seat I had was extraordinary. The beauty of the Mediterranean Sea along with the houses that were seated on the sides of the mountains or hills was a sight to see. I was so excited by this time. Finally, the Monaco-Monte-Carlo stop. I exited the train, went down the long hallway, and out the train station. My first reaction or thought was “Wow!” The placed just reeked of money. I could see the sea, and it was lined with the yachts that were so big, I believe you could fit my house in some of them. There were just so many. Maybe it was because there was a boat show going on. Not for sure, but there were definitely a lot of rich there for sure. I had my main objective for this trip. I wanted to see the changing of the guard at the Prince’s palace. Now, how do I get there? I had read that you could walk the island in a very short amount of time, so off I went. I started following the masses, but
this really was only leading to spots in town and toward the famous Monte Carlo Casino. I make my way up the mountainside. What beauty the higher I got. There were these extravagant houses and hotels that were positioned on the hillside. How beautiful they were just sticking out like they were. Also, the more I walked around; I noticed that the cars there were not like the normal cars you see on the road here. There were Mazaratti’s, Lamborghinis, Ferrari’s, of course BMW’s and Mercedes. They actually had these brands as dealerships. I just have never seen anything like this. Monte Carlo is also where they hold the Grand Prix. I walked on the same street where the race takes place. I was in awe most of the time I was here.
I still wanted to achieve my objective, and I was starting to cut the time thin I thought. The changing of the guard takes place every day at 11:55 am and by this time it was around 10:30 – 10:45. I still had time, but I still did not know where I was going. I asked some tourists, and they did not really know. I kept walking,
and I ended at the Casino entrance. I would have loved to have gone in, and actually I dressed like I read you had to dress to go in. You have to have on dresser clothes and shoes, and I had on slacks and a collared shirt and not shorts and flip flops. My problem was that I only had a short time while here, and I decided to bypass until maybe another time. Besides, I did not need to lose any money, for it was a little tight at the moment. Anyway, I saw a police officer there, and I asked him the way to the palace. He pointed and asked did I see the castle on top of the hill. That was it. He said just walk toward it and go up the hill. I told him thanks, and off I went. I kept getting closer and closer. I could tell because the castle was appearing larger and larger. I made my way to the front entrance are, and I had to cross the street and walk up this long entrance way. I made my way and started up. Up, up I went. I could tell I was
getting close, for there were some street vendors selling little trinkets. Same as before, as they were not real pushy, just ask you pretty much one time, but not really a hassle. So, I walk to the courtyard of the palace, and I instantly notice how beautiful it is. I walk around the courtyard for a few minutes from side to side and overlook the landscape below. What beauty. The palace overlooks the sea, and the landscape with the before mentioned houses and hotels on the sides of the hills. I was in awe once again. I actually made good time once I figured out where to go and what to do. I still had around forty five minutes or so before the changing of the guard, so I decide to tour the palace. I ask the time it takes, and I was told thirty minutes. Perfect I thought, so I pay my entrance fee, and I pick up the headphones for the audio tour. I make my way through the palace listening to the history of each room. Actually, Prince Albert still lives there with his family. He is the son of Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly. I actually
stood in the same room where Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier were married. I can’t describe my feelings for what I was witnessing and enjoying. Overjoyed and amazed I suppose, but I still had one more objective to achieve. I finished my audio tour, and I had about fifteen minutes until the change of the guard. I make my way out of the palace, and I notice that the people were gathering around the roped off area near the palace. I make my way to join the masses, and I find me a spot front and center of the palace doors. I did have to do a little elbowing to get to the spot I had, but it was worth it. I was behind about three short women, so I could see very well. Perfect spot I thought for this event. The guard wore white uniforms, and there was one at all times walking back and forth in front of the front entrance area. He would start on one side, walk sixteen paces, turn on a dime, and march back. I counted several times, and it was like clockwork. Never a miss and he was so precision in his marching.
He looked to me like a toy soldier. The time was at hand for the change of the guard. The crowd was quite large by now, but I had a wonderful spot. Some of the guardsmen came from behind up the center of the palace area, and some came out from the main entrance. There were eight on each side, and they went through several marching renditions in tandem all the while maneuvering their guns as well. I got a little emotional at this point. I wanted to see this very thing for several months, and I finally was here. My eyes welled up in tears while I was watching. I really don’t know the reason, but I was so happy to be at this very spot. I watched until completion, and when the guard was changed, I clapped loudly like everyone else. It is funny, for the new guardsman did the same as the previous. March to the right sixteen paces, turn on a dime, and march back. I wandered how long the training time is to memorize all of this. I walked around a little more, had some people snap a few photos of me, and back down
the hill I went. I thought to myself that I had probably walked more than a mile, and I was not exactly sure how to get back to the train station. I went a short area, and I notice that I was right at the station. If I would have went right out of the train station upon arrival instead of left, I would have been right at the palace. No worries I thought, for I got to see a very good portion of the area by going the long route. Sometimes you see more by being lost, and oh the joy when you do find your destination. I get to the train station, and wait until my next train. Now I am going to backtrack and go past my normal stop to go to Cannes. There will be a total of eleven stops, so I know that my feet will get a deserved rest while on the train. I board the train, take my seat, and I am off again.
Still amazed at what I just witnessed, I am off to my next destination which is Cannes.
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