Some say Mon A Co, some say Mon ARE Co. I say Monte Carlo.
Monte Carlo, Monaco
Our team is certainly getting professional. We left Canne on time and set off for Monaco. Once out into the open sea, Paul took over the wheel to give Brian a well-deserved rest and time to read his book. Cannes was very hard to leave behind, as the Med was too rough to travel, so the Captain decided to turn back into a bay along the coast up from Cannes. It appears other boats were having the same issue, as we recognized some of them from previous stops. After finding out how to turn on the anchor (which took about an hour) we dropped it. We moored there for about 6 hours, which gave us lots of time to relax and read. At about 6pm we continued the trip to Monaco. It was obviously a non-event, as I had gone below to read my New York Times, but fell asleep instead. We were very lucky and managed to book onto the marina we stayed in on our last trip, and I also think we got the exact same mooring. Without doubt Monaco is the highlight of our trip so far. We had intended to stay only 2 nights, but in the end, we stayed 4. Nothing has really changed about Monaco, all the trappings of luxury are still present. Cars like Bentleys, Rolls, Maserati, Ferrari, Porsche, Mercedes, McLaren, are a dime a dozen. This is when you need a Holden, as they would be a rare site. Brian & I walked the Grand Prix circuit, the girls and Marty & Libby took the London Bus tour, Paul & Trish went to the old town. Brian and I had very strict instructions not to get dehydrated, so we followed them to a tee. (there quite few pubs around the circuit). As Brian and I were making our way to the circuit, we heard this loud screaming from a London Bus driving passed. We just looked at each other and thought it couldn't be anyone else other than the girls. Sure enough, there they were waving madly from the top of the bus. We pretended not to know who they were and just kept walking. As it turned out when we were at one of our hydration stops, the bus went passed and then the girls and Marty & Libby appeared. They had seen us, and decided to join us for lunch. Having the extra few days in Monaco was good. It allowed us to take our time to see and do the many activities there. Since our last visit, the Marina has upgraded its ablutions, and quite frankly they would put any five-star hotel to shame. Well done Monaco! There are many places of interest in Monaco, but I suspect the 3 main attractions are the Palace/changing of the guards, Oceanography Museum, and the Casino. Unlike my last visit, I could spend a considerable time at each place. The tour of the palace was great. It is well preserved, steeped in history, and still used today. The Oceanography Museum is simply amazing. It is perched high up and out over the edge of a very sharp cliff face. Just building it was a feat. Once inside however you can see the vast collection of marine animals. The aquariums are amazing and you could spend much longer there than I did. Brian and I also went to the auto museum, which is the Princes private collection. It is very good and well worth seeing.
After a while, we met the owners of a yacht on the opposite side of our jetty. They were an English couple with 2 small children. Helen & ??. Helen asked us where we from, and we mentioned WA. She replied by saying that only last week her friend from WA had just gone back to Bunbury after staying with them for two years. As it turned out the girls knew the person and her mother. Unbelievable to think you would be out in the middle of the Med, and you know somebody in common from back home.
On the last night, it was all about going to the Casino. We all brought clothes with us to meet the dress standards, and I must say we scrubbed up well. We caught the number 6 bus just around the corner from the marina. Before you knew it, we were there. A quick walk from the bus stop, through the beautiful well-kept gardens, and hey presto, we were there. (inside the gardens we saw a woolami pine tree from Australia. These trees are nearly extinct and only grow in a very small area in NSW. To help preserve the specie, seedlings have been planted in other areas of the world, one of which is Monaco. Once we arrived at the Casino, and looked around you realised we were in a very popular and special place. Outside there were lines of very expensive cars, and many restaurants full of people. The Casino itself was built in the 1800's. Architecturally, inside and out, it is quite beautiful. Once in the Casino, we took out time to view this amazing building. The ceilings are all painted with murals, the artwork was unbelievable. Unlike the Perth Casino, this Casino is more traditional, and lacks all the neon lights and gizmo's.
It wasn't long before food was on our mind. We booked into 1 of the 3 restaurants. The food was delicious. The service was excellent. We had a young Italian waiter assigned to us. As the night went on and she got to know us better, she let her guard down. Eventually she too was part of the crew, and relished in our humor and antics. The Casino is constantly being cleaned. I was suffering from a bit of an upset stomach caused by all the rehydration stations Brian and I had visited. This meant a few unplanned visits to the loo. On my first visit, I was greeted outside my cubicle by 2 very good looking young women, dressed in a very fancy uniform. Frightened the crap out of me so to speak. I am sure I went to the Hommes and no the Femmes. However, they were the cleaners, wiping everything down. Marty also ran into them later in the night.
After our meal, Libby and Marty decided to have a flutter on the roulette. Time had passed and the Casino was really starting to fill up. We all stood around and watched, the amount of money changing hands was quite obscene really. After a couple of hours and a lot of enjoyment, Libby was busted, and Marty was $25 Euro up. It was time to go home. We caught a couple of taxi's back to the Port. Thanks Monaco it was great.