Money, Money Everywhere: Monaco, land of cars, rich people and money

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Europe » Monaco
September 9th 2015
Published: September 10th 2015
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Yesterday we went to Monaco, bought round trip tickets on the train for $10.60E each, and wanted to stop in Eze along the way. We discovered not ALL the trains stop so we went flying by Eze, saw it looked like a wonderful coastline and ended up in this fancy train station in Monaco.

Got out and wandered along; noticed how clean it was, how hot it was and yes, how rich it was. Very obviously full of money; we saw what we thought was a 6* hotel and it turned out to be a Cardio Thoracic Clinic – good lord, people have money! You know it and you see it on TV but until you experience it, completely different.

We wandered along a little lost, a little in awe and then found the Tourism Board so went in to get some info and a map. They were extremely helpful and gave us some suggestions on what to see and do for the day. Michele then asked them where we can find the rich men and the lady burst out laughing, said she lived there and she still can’t find them! Then I asked about getting my passport stamped, and they did it there. Squealed with excitement, it’s official I’ve now been to 54 countries, and I did a little happy dance for quite a while!

First stop Casino: not as grandiose as I anticipated, and we had to pay to get in, guess the upper class can’t stand the lower class wandering around ruining their winning streak. Then we wandered through the “Japanese Gardens’ which truthfully were not very Japanese, it certainly was beautiful and well kept but nothing that made me think of Japan and their sculptured trees and flowers etc.

We did stroll along the Formula One route – making vroom vroom noises all along the way, awesome! What was super cool was Michele mentioned she was craving a smoothie (not something we’ve seen anywhere in France) and I kid you not we stumbled upon this tiny shop right across from the main harbour and I joined her for one. I thought mmmmm banana, blueberries and strawberries sounded delicious to me. They were at least 50% water, but refreshing nonetheless. Then the bill came. Good lord. 9E each. (13.50CAD). Good god, I was regretting every sip at that point, had blown my entire budget for the day on a glass of water sprinkled with blueberries!

Apparently there is a Yacht Event going on and of course they were massive, grandiose (yes I’ve used that word twice now) and so over the top. We saw 2 kids (under 20 for sure) driving their Ferrari into the yacht club entrance, this shit really exists! Cars were expensive, fancy just out of this world for us, took quite a few photos; Rolls Royce, Bentley’s, Ferrari’s all over the place, but no Lamborghini’s (I was hoping to see at least one).

Afterwards we took a stroll up-up to the Old Town and then it had a bit more charm. There were lots of tourists of course (while not peak season Sept is still quite busy in general, especially for Europeans to do a quick get away). Some beautiful buildings, old cathedrals, and of course the top medieval wall circumnavigating the ‘village’. But just then boat loads of cruisers had arrived (literally) and it was swarming so we took off the other direction and wandered back down.

In the interim, we had noticed a fire off in the distance and it was starting to grow significantly. When we were up in Old Town we discovered just how massive it was, blotting out the sun, and they had 4 water bomber planes and one helicopter trying to help control the blaze. The planes kept buzzing us which had me super excited and I kept trying to capture them with my new zoom lens, but missed them frequently! We still can’t find anything in the news about it, so not sure what it was, but it was NOT a small fire.

Stopped and had lunch then boarded the train to go to Eze, wondering if it was going to stop or not (we hoped). YYYAAAYYYY, It did! Then we discovered that we had an option to A: walk for 90 minutes “just f**king-up” or take the bus for 1.5E. Guess what we decided, o recently accomplished Mount Blanc Trekkers? The bus, of course! It was late, and crowded, but holy doodle the switchbacks that bus driver pulled off were impressive, seriously 180 turns frequently, and over 1,600 metre elevation gain in a very short period of time. And it was so worth it!

Eze is utterly stunning, my photos will not do it justice, but I’m so glad I read up on it, as you would never even know it’s there driving by. Cobblestone streets, medieval walls and even a luxury hotel snuggled into it’s winding streets (over $500E per night), with each room being unique in it’s design. What a romantic place to spend time in, I would highly recommend it for a honeymoon or anniversary get-a-way. We took heaps of photos of and just loved strolling around, then headed back down to catch the bus back to the train station and home. On the way down we got to actually see the bomber planes pick up water for the fire in a quiet bay – THAT was wickedly cool as I’ve not experienced that before, and again was squealing like a goofy skydiver :-)

St. Laurent de Var, where we are staying is only 15 minutes by bus from Nice (like California, it never really stops, just village/town after village) so really it’s like being in the suburbs and is quiet. It is also what Michele calls a Lipstick Front Town. And she is so right. Beautiful along the waterfront, get up a little higher away from the beach and it’s Ghetto all the way. The train we rode made me want to hand sanitize myself from head to toe, and the streets were lined with garbage, cigarette butts, graffiti and so on. On the way home, we discovered this Bread shop was open and the guy inside was so charming and handsome and he had wine and snacks and organic sauces, spreads etc. We stocked up, with a (hopefully) good bottle of wine, delicious baby pizza with just tomato, spices and olives (and so good you could die) NO CHEESE! He then gave us some fresh cake to take home for free, what a sweetheart.

It was a long, eventful and fun day and both of us were tired, hot, and sore feeties, and we had a quiet evening at ‘home’ chilling out. MORE PHOTOS BELOW.....

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Tourist Choo Cho0 trainTourist Choo Cho0 train
Tourist Choo Cho0 train

Michele won't let me ride this in any city; she's such a party pooper!

15th September 2015

Hey PurpleNed glad to see what you are up to! Looks and sounds like an amazing trip - stop by if you are in YYC - I'm at the crowfoot office now....I get around as well, just never seem to leave the city! Cheers

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