I never expected in my life to go to Monaco. Princess Grace? Glamorous casinos? Luxury at it's finest? Done!
We slept in a little bit since we were trying to catch up a bit and had a late breakfast in the cafe. When we got off the ship we got in line for the Hop On/Hop Off tour bus. As another bus disembarked a gentleman handed us his tickets and told us just to use them. Score!
|Our view from the ship eating breakfast... so gorgeous!|
|Stepping onshore in Monaco. The yacht to the left is owned by the guy who owns the Atlantis in the Bahamas!|
We got off the bus at the second stop because the Japanese Gardens sounded interesting to walk through. Peeking through the trees on one side was the Mediterranean and the other was the city of Monte Carlo. A definite calming oasis in the middle of the city, complete with koi ponds, sand circles and lovely gazeboes.
Walking past the gardens was the Grimaldi Forum. It was closed at the moment but it seemed like a gorgeous venue for conferences and the like.
Naturally we posed for some pictures right near the Forum. A friend told me Ryan looks like a giant based on the angle I took this picture from... oops!
Monaco is very, very expensive. Even though we had the free bus tickets Ryan and I decided to walk around simply because there was so much to see and experience. Ferraris are sharing the road with Rolls Royces, MacLarens, BMWs and Lamborghinis... insane! Everyone was in designer clothing and carrying designer bags... I even saw an Hermes! I have never seen one of those in person and I was pretty bummed not to get my camera out fast enough. That wouldn't be creepy at all. So needless to say passing stores like the one below was normal. Yikes!
|BABY Dior. Not even Adult Dior!|
After wandering a bit more we found this church on a side street. I wanted to stop in and light another candle so we walked around there for a minute. I couldn't find a name on the chuch anywhere, traveller fail, but it was beautiful.
Walking down the streets we had such great views. The mountains surrounding Monte Carlo are just beautiful. We literally walked the entire city end to end, which is basically the entire country of Monaco just about! Needless to say our feet were sore. There are such hidden gems when you explore like that though. And, since it is Europe, churchs are hidden anywhere! The one below was in the middle of a large construction zone off a main pathway. It was tiny but simply beautiful.
|I also loved the orange trees they had everywhere!|
|I love that the iPhone has panorama!!|
Then it opened up to a whole different part of the city and the palace. The red and white sign hanging between the buildings is the Rimaldi crest and those things were everywhere.
|And the gorgeous palace!|
We ducked into a small shop and I got my mom a keychain. When my aunt travelled she always got my mom a keychain so I thought I'd get her one in that spirit. I just didn't realize the next time I'd get to see my mom to give it to her would be at my aunt's funeral. It was very bittersweet but she cried happy tears with her keychain.
At this point we were kind of tired so we did get back on the bus. I was bummed since the next stop was the Cathedral where Princess Grace was burried but Ryan didn't feel like getting off the bus, especially for another church. Men. But we did drive by.
|Fearless leader deciding what stop we should go to next!|
Apparently no casino is complete without a Chanel store right outside. And Prada beyond that. Oh be still my overpriced heart. We wandered around to the back of the casino and enjoyed the view before walking back towards the harbor.
After the casino it was getting late so at the harbor we hopped on the Bateau Boat which was only a euro extra with the bus tickets so we took the boat back to our ship. We stopped for a late lunch in the Blue Lagoon and it was the only time on the trip I really was not happy with the food I got on the ship. My tuna salad sandwich was severely lacking in tuna and it took a long time to get the food. We tried not to eat there if we could help it, but it was open 24 hours so for late night snacks it worked better than for an actual meal.
After relaxing in our room for awhile we made our way to the cigar bar. Most of our nights went in this fashion. Get back, lie on the bed and watch part of whatever movie was on the English movie channel (or BBC news), then head to the cigar bar. We met a circle of friends (from Texas, Kansas City, Denver, England, France and more) that we would drink and smoke and talk until we got hungry and went to dinner! Sometimes it would just be Ryan and I, other times our good friends Kristii and Debbie (the mother daughter duo of awesomeness from Texas) would join us. Then back to the cigar room until the evening show (ranging from Magic Show to Acrobats) and then to the various lounges and bars until we were ready for bed.
|Gorgeous sunset when we left the harbor in Monaco.|
This is the typical night for us. An Old Fashioned of sorts for Ryan from the whiskey bar, Prosecco for me from the champagne bar, and a lovely cigar from the cigar bar. That night we hung out in the Medusa lounge and slow danced to a few songs. Older couples blew us out of the water with their foxtrot, tango and waltzes, but we tried to wing it for a few slow ones. We also listened to a stupendously talented band in the atrium that blew our socks off. It was a great evening.
Next stop - Toulon! Provence, France
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