Lifestyles of the rich and famous

Trip Start Oct 18, 2007
Trip End Nov 20, 2007

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Day 11 Monaco - 28 October 2007

Pete got up fairly early and was out on deck as we approached and then amazingly reversed in to the port right in the centre of Monte Carlo. Al woke to the spectacular sight of Monte Carlo as he sat up in bed and looked outside.  We'd been told we'd be tendering but as we were (amazingly) the only ship in port we were able to dock.  There is only a single dock against the break wall at the mouth to the main harbour - the Rotterdam was quite dominating in the smallish space.  The harbour was way smaller than Al had expected and quite deceiving because the boats look small until you stand beside them and realise they are the biggest private boats/yachts you've ever seen. 
Took lots of photos as the sun rose and illuminated the buildings. We were able to see the casino and most everything thing else from our balcony - Al thought we probably didn't need to leave the ship, but we were both quite excited to get off and look around.  We didn't want to see inside the casino because we'd been told it was quite boring, so didn't bother dressing up. 
We intended to go to Eze just over the border in France.  So we headed around the harbour and up towards the casino where my info said the bus-stop was near. 
The yachts in this harbour AMAZING!!!!! On the BA flight I'd watched a doco on a yacht race held recently for mega-maxis.  A couple of the yachts were in the harbour, one by an Italian company called Wally (yes, true). If anyone has seen the movie The Island with Ewan McGregor there is a boat he keeps dreaming of and that he eventually ends up on - that boat was made by Wally. Got up to the casino and the view down across Monte Carlo was beautiful. The casino itself was just another old building but with a beautiful garden and surrounded by Bentleys and Ferraris and Maseratis.   In fact I've never seen so many Bentleys.  They were a bit common. 
Off to find the bus-stop and it was one street above the casino. Sat there with a couple of couples off the cruise, two Americans and the C.Kiwis that had their very cute little toddler with them.  Bus didn't come. The C.Kiwi spoke fluent French and confirmed with a gendarme we were at the right stop.  We gave up and headed down to the information centre one street below.  The lady in there told us that the buses didn't run on Sundays so Al raced back up and told the others that they'd be waiting until tomorrow. 
Thought about getting a cab up there but we decided to just wander around because it was a very nice place with friendly people.  Pete was in charge of the French - although we were both just getting comfortable with speaking a little Italian.  Pete did very well (although a little too well).    You never want to say your welcome too much like a local because they start to spurt sentences at you that you just look back blankly in reply.  We both had that happen a few times, which is kinda good, and kinda frightening.  At least we managed to say good day, good evening, order coffee, pizza, water and ask how much the wine was - not bad seeing as neither of us had learnt any French previously.
We both refuse to ask if whoever is serving us speaks English.  It's insulting to expect someone to do this even though so many do.  We both instead prefer to try our best (use sign language) and people often speak English back anyway (when they realise how bad your attempts are).  We read that in Venice they are adopting 5 different prices 1. Locals, 2. Fluent Italian, 3. People that try to speak Italian, 4. People who don't try to speak Italian, 5. People who are rude (usually English or American). 
Monte Carlo as you can imagine is quite hilly and after wandering around the old town near the palace the legs soon wore out. We found a little place for lunch.  We somehow order something in my very faltering French.  A table of northern English sit beside us and ask at least twice if the waitress speaks Anglais.  Needless to say the service they receive (bad) is vastly different to what we received (pretty good). Pete has Salad Fruit du Mer (all Pete knew was it was something to do with the sea).  Al has something else (turns out to be just Mozzarella and tomato).  We want the dessert, but don't know what to ask for so decide to go to a boulangerie so we can point to what we want - bad move because they're all closed and it's only about 2pm. 

We head to a fun fair like a mini Luna Park - yuk - that has been set up on the road that is part of the F1 Grand Prix track near the swimming pool (for all you F1 GP fans) and look for bad sweet food.  Pete has churros and Al has something else (at least with a French name) that's full of chocolate (nutella actually).  We head back to the ship - stopping to take (more) reflection pictures.  
Gorgeous sunset as we sail
and Al spends hours talking to Ed over the verandah railing.
Free champagne with dessert tonight and an apology from the captain for the hold up with embarkation.  I found out that for those who arrived at 11 there was a priority embarkation line for suite guests but by the time we arrived chaos ruled and we just in with everyone else. 
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