Sunday, August 28, 2016

Discovering the Riviera: Monaco

As soon as I bought my ticket to France and the trip was official, I told David that he had to bring me on a date to Monaco. Mostly because I liked the way it sounded haha. Our day trip there was the second last day of my trip, and my last sightseeing expedition.

We got in the car to drive to Monte Carlo, but when the GPS stopped working before we even left the parking lot, we decided it probably wasn't worth getting lost, and hopped on the train instead. 

Even though Monaco is less than 1 square mile in area and is completely surrounded by France, you can surprisingly still tell that you're in a different country. When you get off the train in France, you're usually greeted by cement walls and graffiti. However, in Monaco all you see is wall to wall marble. If you weren't aware, Monaco is dripping with $$$$$

When we ate lunch at a mall food court (which doesn't sound glamorous at all), it looked like this.

Another sign you're in a different country- the flags! 

Since there's not a lot of space, there are a lot of high-rise buildings- something you don't see too much of in France.

The first place we wanted to go was the palace, but by mistake we ended up at Casino Royale instead. Cue the James Bond theme music. I know exactly zero things about cars, and even I could tell that every car in that lot cost way more than my college education.

We asked someone how to get to the palace, and their response was that we needed to take the bus because it was too hot. Merci for that. We decided to walk anyways, and lived to tell the tale. Although we were almost defeated when we saw the hill/rock it was on. Somehow I forgot about climbing this hill back when I was here 6 years ago. Probably because I had youthful energy back then.

Picture taken from on top of the rock we climbed

Even though we made it there alive, when we saw the line we opted not to do the palace tour on this trip. That's a reason to come back next year, I guess! Instead we just enjoyed the views and the exterior of the palace. And spent about 10 years standing in line to buy water.

I'm fascinated by tiny countries like this- especially one as small as Monaco. Somehow its managed to stay independent for something like 8 centuries. I just finished a book about the Grimaldi family and it was fun to know things about the people all the streets are named after. I'd love to hit up some more tiny countries next year- Andorra? Liechtenstein? San Marino? We'll see!

We tried to see the cathedral where Grace Kelly is buried, but we got there just as a wedding was starting. Another reason to come back.

This little door is on the steep ramp going up to the palace. 

I had to take a picture there since I remembered it from 2010. I stole Brittney's spot ;)

Streets of Monaco on the way back to the train station:

Even though the weather was a little too hot for walking around and we didn't see everything we planned on, it was still a great day. I can't wait to travel so much more together in the next year. This was our 6th country we've been to together. Not bad for not even being married yet.

The following day was spent laying on the beach, and sadly the day after that I traveled through London all the way to Chicago. Today marks exactly 1 month until the wedding, and I'm ready! Well, not ready concerning the wedding preparations, but so ready to not live in different countries anymore. Let the countdown begin.

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