Thursday, June 13, 2013

Monaco - Monte Carlo


Wednesday morning we boarded an inexpensive train for the 20 minute ride to the Principality of Monaco. Though it is only 0.7 square miles in size.

It would be the last inexpensive thing we would do for the rest of the day.

No income taxes in Monaco makes it a haven for the uber-rich. Even though it is only 0.7 square miles in size, it has 32,000 inhabitants (note all of the very tall buildings). Monaco ranks behind only Vatican City (0.2 square miles) on the list of the world's smallest countries.

Isn't that a '52 Nash Rambler?

Incredible scenery was to be had
on this ride across the Cote D'Azur

Once we arrived in Monaco, it became the 21st European country that we have been able to visit due to our time spent coaching in EuroBall.

The first 20 in alphabetical order were:
Austria
Belgium
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia

Finland
France
Germany
Italy
Lichtenstein

Netherlands
Norway
Poland
Russia
San Marino

Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
United Kingdom
Vatican City

On our first trip to Europe, a cruise about nine years ago, we also hit Croatia, Greece and Turkey to bring our total count of visited European countries to 24.

What a ride!

Monaco is Colorful

They look ready for the beach

Monaco's Coat of Arms

Monaco is noted by collectors
for their high quality stamps

Artsy House Detailng

Vibrant Colors

Monaco's Harbor

Monaco boasts of having the world's
highest per capita annual income

This mini-harbor tends to back up that assertion.

No retired teachers live here that we could find.

Palais Princier

This medieval castle is the well guarded home of Monaco's ruler, Prince Albert.

A Tribute to Prince Albert I who loved
the sea, reigned from 1889-1922

He is responsible for the building of Monaco's famed aquarium.

Laurie overlooking Monaco's Harbor

Magnificent!

The Changing of the Guard
at the Palais Princier 

Fronçois Grimaldi

Dressed as a monk, he captured Monaco in 1297 and began the dynasty that still rules this mini-country to this day. The current Prince Albert's reign makes this the longest lasting royal family dynasty in Europe.

That's saying a lot.

AT EASE!

A Crown

On Guard Duty
at Palais Princier

The Police Station
sporting the Grimaldi Family Crest

Pastels Everywhere

That shade always says
the Mediterranean to me

Main Altar of Monaco's Cathedral

I know that I said that we were not going to visit churches on this trip but Prince Rainier and Princess Grace Kelly were married here in 1956. The Princess was buried here in 1982. Prince Rainier's tomb lies next to her.

Old habits are hard to break.

The Catherdal's Floor

Above the Main Altar

Princess Grace's Resting Place

In the Jardin Botanique

Isn't that a Champion Falcon?

Overlooking the Mediterranean

Monaco's Cousteau Aquarium

Built by Prince Albert I in 1910, Captain Jacques Cousteau directed it for 32 years.

We ate one of these, head and all,
once in Palermo on Laurie's Birthday

Scene of the recent
Monaco Grand Prix

House Bauble Decoration

Just try to stand in our way
I DARE YOU!!!

Vignettes of her life are all over
Monaco's landscape

Amazing Little Streets

A Lemon Based Beverage
Sounded SO GOOD!

A Modest, Personal Pleasure Craft 
at Anchor

Sparkling Water

Found on Monaco's
Head Butt Walk of Champions

YIKES!!!

So Pleasing to the Eye

A Plage!

Why does that woman have a top on?

Fire Department

Colorful, Resting Fountain

Steps leading to the World Famous
Monte Carlo Casino

Neat Mirror

Atop the Casino

Bond . . .
James Bond

Ornate Casino Tower

The Casino in the Reflection

Casino Skyline

Good spot for a café and people watching

Ferrari out front of the Casino

In Monaco, one of these is like
a Ford Escort in California

Down the street from the Casino, I spied my first ever Maserati dealership.

These were all great ideas for me since I need to buy a car when I get back to California.

Great Architecture Abounds

Peaceful Casino Area Garden

Except for that giant lizard spewing into the pond.

Contreras . . .
Laurie and George Contreras

I have got to get a pair of those!

One last round of Monaco Wall Art

After another glorious day on the Riviera, we re-boarded the train to enjoy our last evening in Nice.

After a good meal where we dined on a variety of Nice specialities that were quite tasty, it was time for dessert.

Gelato was needed so, of course, we sought out the Fenoccchio Gelateria on Place Rosetti. 

Some Weird Flavors

Although I was later informed by Julien Urgenti that the Tomate Basilic is wondrous indeed.

Avocado Gelato?

On this warm evening we stayed with the basic gelato rule that we learned in Sicily years ago . . . if it's hot, go with citrus flavors.

Pineapple and lemon it was! Laurie went goofy and tried the piña colada.

I should have tried the 15 scoop cone

While they performed well . . .

She was enthralled

Cool old sign near Place Massena

38 rue Droite
06300 Vieux Nice
Telephone 04 93 85 51 16

If you are ever in Nice for just one day and you are hungry, GO HERE!!! Reservations are a good idea.

Thursday morning I was up very early and opted to let Laurie sleep a bit longer while I walked 15 minutes to see one last great sight in Nice.

No, the Train Station was not it

I did have to walk by it though. It was quiet today due to France's one day train strike which necessitated that we rent a car for the next two days to work our way through Provence on our way to Lyon.

The sight, past the train station, that I wanted to see was Nice's Russian Orthodox Cathedral.

I think I found it

It was given to the 500 rich Russian families who lived in Nice as a place for worship by Czar Nicholas II in 1912.

The Entrance was closed

It was only 6:55 a.m. after all.

 A better view of the Entrance

 The back side faced the morning Sun

Nice Witch Hat

In summation, the Cote D'Azur, or the French Riviera if you will, is all that it is cranked up to be and a lot more in our estimation!

Magical.

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