I have arrived! After 48 hours of travelling, I am finally in Nice. And so what did I do today? I left the country again, and paid a visit to the very lovely Monaco.
Oh my. I suppose I got a bit of a taste of what was to come on my train in last night, as the last half an hour or so of the journey hugged the coast and provided gorgeous views of… well, yachts really. Lots of ’em, each bigger than the last. I wasn’t the only person taking photos from my seat.
Exiting the train station in Monaco, I walked into another world. A world where fur reigned supreme, people paid 10€ for keyrings (sorry Mev, I’m claiming that Monaco’s part of France for keyring purposes) and there was a total lack of both graffiti and traffic lights. Not that traffic lights were unnecessary – everyone seemed to be on top of each other, crammed into about three square kilometres between mountains and ocean.
Monaco Ville seemed to be similar to the nicest parts of Paris, without the masses of tourists. Oh, there were tourists all right, but we all seemed to have the same idea when visiting the principality – better put on my nicest pair of jeans, a shirt not bearing the name of a city I’ve visited, and maybe the backpack should be left at home. We blended in to a certain extent, but our trusty maps and runners gave us away.
I checked out the Palace first, however I was unfortunately a week early – tours of the place go from April to September. It wasn’t that big, but it certainly had the best view of any of the palaces I’ve seen so far. The little shops around the grounds also gave it the feel of Genovia (Amy, I am hoping you’re the only one that understands this movie reference). One of the shopkeepers though was very intrigued with me being Australian though, he wanted to know if there really was one woman to every twenty men and if I knew of someone who could send him some cheap crocodile meat. Is this what people think of us?
I also had a look at the Aquarium – now I’m not really a fish person but I had been told that this was the best Aquarium in the world. It was pretty damn good – I was in there for ages. Me and every primary school student in Monaco, I think. There was even a huge exhibition on global warming – apparently it’s one of Prince Albert’s pet projects. Did anyone know that he went on an expedition to the North Pole last year? I’m certainly liking this Royal Family.
Afterwards I had a little wander down to Monte Carlo and the casino district for some serious people-watching. No celebs unfortunately, but the locals were entertaining enough. Money certainly doesn’t buy you style however – I’ve never seen so many fur coats and multi-colored Louis Vuitton handbags. Unfortunately the casino charged 10€ just to get inside the gaming part, so I wandered around the lobby and the pokie part – which really just looked like any old Tabaret. I had a coffee just outside the casino however (definitely paid for solely the location, it was the worst coffee in the world) and watched people coming and going. I got a better vantage point right out the front then, me and about a dozen Italian teenagers. It took me a while to realise they were checking out the cars, whilst I only cared about the people in them (or more specifically, what they were wearing).
Cannes tomorrow for a bit more of the same, followed by possibly St Tropez on Sunday before heading to Milan. Have only seen a little of Nice, but half of the city is blocked off as tram tracks are currently being laid down. But for now I’m back to reality – a dinner of two minute noodles back at my hostel.