From the delights of La Spezia and the surrounding areas, we made our way to the far west of Italy for a stay in Sanremo. By this stage we were well used to travelling around in slightly more luxurious conditions in our hire car. This was bad news for Jess and I as we were in for a rude shock when we finally separated from my folks and got back on the trains with our backpacks. But for the time being we were going to enjoy our cosy travel conditions.
Sanremo was quite the attractive coastal city. Given its proximity to the French border, it was not surprising to see that the city bore many of the characteristics of a French coastal city such as nearby Nice. In fact, it would be fair to say that Sanremo looked more French than it did Italian.
As with our previous stay in La Spezia, the plan was always to use Sanremo as the launching pad for a trip to nearby Monaco. Despite our proximity to Monaco, it would take several buses and trains to get there. So instead we decided to drive. Bad idea. Traffic in Monaco was an absolute nightmare and the streets were tighter than Joe Hockey's budget. And our satnav wasn't always giving us the most straightforward instructions. The feeling that we were in over our heads began to sink in as it became inevitable that we would have a little prang. In the end it was a thin street pole that slipped into our blind spot as Dad attempted a U-turn on a narrow street. The little b****** took out our taillight and killed the mood for an hour or so.
Despite the prang, we were determined to enjoy our day in Monaco. Dad and I debriefed over a few beers and ogled over the awesome cars pulling up at the Casino and nearby ritzy hotels. Ok, we might have had a little perve at the trophy wives and gold-digger Barbie dolls getting out of the cars to link arms with their 70-somehing Geoffrey Eddleston look-a-like hubbies.
While this was happening, Mum and Jess were enjoying their own brush with glamour and beauty as they toured the Royal Palace. They visited the Church were Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco is buried and enjoyed the surrounding buildings in Monacoville; the town on the hill where the Palace is situated. They also roamed the old royal suits and over-the-top decorated halls and rooms of the Palace. Turns out Dad and I weren't the only ones indulging in dreams of expensive goods!
After our brief brush with royalty and riches, we managed to safely return to the more humble surrounds of our apartment in Sanremo for a final dinner together. The next day we would depart for Milan, from where Jess and I would split with my folks and head to Vicenza. It had been a whirlwind 10 day period with my folks and we were terribly sad to see it end. However we took comfort in the fact that we were fortunate enough to be able to spend a little time with my folks while on this trip of a lifetime. It's something that will stay with me forever and made the sweetest trip just that little bit more memorable.
Next stop: Vicenza