Monte Carlo, Monaco:
This morning we arrived in Monaco which, for most practical purposes is also Monte Carlo. This is debarkation/embarkation day for those who aren’t staying for the next leg and the newbies just coming on-board. We have a bus tour that is an overview of Monaco and leaves at 8:15. Margaret decided to go today which is great! We had breakfast at La Veranda with a beautiful view of Monaco and Monte Carlo and the huge yachts in the harbor. Another gorgeous day although it looks like it will be a bit warm. After breakfast we waited in the theater for all the departing guests to be called. Our numbers were finally called and we headed off the ship and found our bus quite close by.
The exciting thing is that Margaret was well enough to go with me today! And, it turned out to be the best tour so far although parts were duplicates of things I had already seen. But, not a problem.
This is a very interesting area in that Monaco, built on what is called “The Rock” is, in essence, a separate principality with it’s own royalty, as most people know. The principality is subdivided into 3 municipalities with the first being what is a walled city with the palace called Monaco – Ville, which includes many government buildings, an aquarium, a typical medievel city with housing, retail stores and cafes. The next is Monte Carlo, which is, in essence an adjacent city, the principle residential and resort area. Finally, there is La Condamine the southwest area including the harbor area where we were docked. These areas were merged in 1917. One thing I’m constantly surprised at is how recently a lot of these areas were still fluid and changing hands. Makes you realize that other parts of the world could still be in flux, even today. Think Ukraine.
Turns out that this tour was about 3.5 hours and, in addition to covering Monte Carlo and Monaco, it would also go up to the medieval village of Eze, all the way north to Nice, and then return via the road above shore to Saint-Jean-Cap Ferrat, Villefranche, Beaulieu and back to the port. The roads were narrow and windy (a strange word in writing…meaning curvy, not having lots of wind and making me a bit car sick), the tour was very interesting and the views were incredible. It would definitely be worth spending at least a couple hours in Eze as it was the best example of hilltop villages that I saw on this trip, and I saw a lot of them. A must do if you ever go here as it is very close the Monaco.
As we headed out of Monte Carlo you could see the stands were still in place from the Monaco Grand Prix Formula 1 car race that had taken place just a couple weeks earlier. The race is sort of like the golf tournament that took place every year in front of our former house in Montreux (Reno). It takes about 3 months each year to put everything in place and then take it all apart. It must be really, really good financially for the city to put up with that in such a tiny place as I was totally against the golf tournament in Montreux which, when fully analyzed, actually lost money each year.
Back on the ship we had a very nice lunch at Compass Rose, Margaret headed back to the cabin for a nap and I went for a hike up the hill to Monaco – The Rock. This will be continued in the next post.