TRAVEL THERE: SCENERY TO DIE FOR AND A CASINO
There’s a reason Monte Carlo is a playground for the rich and famous. Everything is pristine, beautiful and very, very expensive. I rode along in the tourist train, eyes wide open, taking pictures as fast as I could with my phone.
Gawking at the Other Half
All the boats are yachts and all the cars dreams on wheels. Beautiful people stroll along the streets with tiny little well-groomed dogs and chat with one another in shady cafes. It is not crowded. Normal people can’t afford to be there.
The train left their parking area across from the Jacques Cousteau Aquarium and first wandered down a hill past the harbor where all the yachts were docked.
The streets wound around the harbor offering spectacular views, like this shot Bill got of our ship. I rode along, primarily people watching and not paying too much attention to where we were, because Bill had informed me we’d be staying on the train and hurrying back to the ship. That was fine with me.
Quick, Get Off the Train
Suddenly, Bill was impatient with me, because I was not getting off the train. I thought all that had been decided. I knew our friends were getting off to go to the casino, but I failed to see what that had to do with me, since I was under the impression we were going to stay on board.
Things had changed and I hadn’t gotten the memo. Soon the whole crowd was standing on a sidewalk deciding what to do. Without map or guidebook I didn’t have a clue. I was just there.
The crowd trotted off and we followed. Come to find out, we were headed to the Casino. I hadn’t wanted to be in Monte Carlo in my lounging pajamas in the first place, but I really had no desire to go hang out in the Casino during the day with all the tourists.
I had hoped we’d get all dressed up and visit the Casino in the evening. I understood there was only a slim chance of this, but it’s what I wanted. I’m still allowed to dream.
We went up the stairs, had our bags checked and entered through a bunch of fancy glass doors. The lobby is all about giving tourists someplace to hang out so they can say they have been to the Casino in Monte Carlo. It is also the only place the tourists can go.
Here it is. This is what it looks like. The building is absolutely gorgeous, but you can’t see it for all the tourists and the giant gambling display. I couldn’t help but wonder whether the beautiful people glide past this in the evening or they just have the display up during the day. I guess I’ll never know for sure.
The Rest of the Tour
After wandering around the lobby, snapping a photo I shouldn’t have and taking a potty break, we went back outside, waited for the tourist train and rode back to our starting point. Finding our way back to the infamous escalator was easier than finding it in the first place.
At the dock, the tender loading station was set up with beautiful flowers, cold washrags and lots of fruited water. In spite of my chagrin at being on a tourist train, looking my worst and my disappointment at being a tourist at the casino instead of a patron, I still have to admit, it was a gorgeous place. Enjoy these photos and come back next week for a different sort of look at Monte Carlo.