Hello from Berlin! I am so very happy to be here, Rene is the best host I could ask for and the weather is brilliant (for now)! But alas, you all want to know about Monaco. It won’t take me long to describe my time there: Beautiful and Expensive. When I get home and can post more photos (or later this week), you will get a better idea of details.
I was thrilled by the resort I stayed in, it was a welcome change after being in older flats. I was also surprised by a lovely view of the Mediterranean from my balcony. This almost made up for the fact that the least expensive thing you could get in the hotel was a bottle of water for 7 Euro. Crazy.
In Monaco, I visited the Monte Carlo Casino and Place de Casino, where there are many people mulling about. On two different occasions, I was held prisoner on the Cafe de Paris terrace, sipping wine or champagne and people-watcing. It’s better than any movie you’ve ever seen! The gardens established by Princess Grace (seems almost everything in Monte Carlo is named after Grace Kelly!) are stunning. I’ve never seen so many perfectly bloomed tulips of every color in my life! Monaco is a beautiful resort republic, a little larger than 2 sq. miles. I can only imagine going back if on a romantic getaway, and with a lot more cash than I had this time around! Being off-season, it was pretty boring most of the time.
Cannes and Nice were an entirely different experience. In the southern French towns, I found incredible beauty, history and art. When I return to the south of France, I will definitely stay in Cannes or Nice. I was also surprised by the Italian influence still so prevalent in these towns, although it makes sense with Italy being so close you can see it! Also apparent was the old Roman influence, with many fortresses dating back to the 12th century.
On Thursday, I booked an afternoon tour of Cannes. To my delight, I was the only passenger, and so I ended up with a personal guide. We began with a drive along the stunning French Riviera (Côte d’Azur) and headed straight to one of the highest points in Cannes, for a breathtaking 360 degree view. After touring Croisette Blvd (Festival Palace, famous luxury hotels and the beach!), we heading toward Antibes. In this charming resort town, we saw yachts at the world-famous Billionaire’s Quay, larger than I had ever seen before! We ended our tour in the medieval Provençal village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence, where I bought some freshly made biscuits for myself, and caramels for the gals back home.
Nice was also a special trip – again I was the only passenger and so had a personal tour guide! My tour guide on Friday told me so many incredible stories about the history of Nice and Cannes and Monaco. I learned of the South African pirates that forced the people living on the coast to build fortified cities on the tops of hills and mountains, to protect themselves. In Nice, we went to Castle Hill, where I took panoramic photos of Nice, and witnessed some beautiful waterfalls. We visited a Russian Cathedral and an old Monastery and its gardens. I had over an hour to tour the outdoor market in old town, by the Opera house, and to peruse the world-famous flower market. I loved it. Nice was just as wonderful and beautiful as Cannes!
My last night in Monte Carlo, I decided I needed to experience the nightlife. I left my hotel around 10:45 pm and headed to Le Bar Amercain, a jazz bar in the Hotel de Paris. I enjoyed a wonderful jazz band (Great Singer!) and some dirty martinis before moving on to Jimmyz, the most famous nightclub in Monte Carlo. Arriving there around 1:30 am, I danced my booty off until my feet hurt so bad I had to stop! I met some new friends in the VIP section (you know me) and moved on with them to a all-night pizza bar around 5:00 am. By 6:30 am, I could barely keep my eyes open, so one of the gentlemen in the group offered to walk me back to my hotel. We caught the sun rising over the Mediterranean, which made the all-night adventure even more worthwhile.
So that’s my Monaco week! I’ll be in Berlin for almost two weeks, so I can take my time exploring and enjoying. The weather is supposed to take a cold and rainy turn in a few days, so I’ll be getting out as much as possible early in the week. Ta ta for now!