Surrounded by BIG money in Monaco
Trip Start May 18, 2007
62Trip End Jul 18, 2007
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We just arrived back from the "twilight zone" after spending the day in Monaco, Monaco (yes, Monaco is an independent country so we have added another to our list!). This place was amazing and the minute we arrived at the Monaco train station we knew we were in for a real treat! The walls were MARBLE - now just for a second, think about train stations in Europe! Most are totally gross and this one was a place you could spend time in!
After marveling over the immaculate station, we found the exit and climbed up the stairs, past Versace, Gucci, Prada, and Hermes to the Prince Albert Palais (palace). It was a gorgeous hike up the clean staircase with breathtaking views of the Monaco harbor filled with yachts above the blue-green Mediterranean Ocean
We stopped into the Musee Oceanographique which Jacques Cousteau ran for 17 yrs and had a wonderful display of sea life which we thoroughly enjoyed and a must see in Monaco! http://www.atotalwaste.com/travel/oceanographiqueMonaco.html
During our beverage stop we saw several helicopters come in for landings at nearby condominiums which put it all into perspective for us. It is all about money here and LOTS of it.
Monaco is spotless and almost reminded us of Singapore with the cleanliness and blooming flowers everywhere. Monaco has the highest per capita income of any place in the world and we saw lots of it today! Mercedes after Lamborghini after Bentley after Rolls Royce after Ferrari after BMW after Astin Martin - the list goes on and that does not account for the YACHTS!!! Oh my gosh, these were not just your typical yachts but many of the yachts you see in our pictures are listed in the Top 100 mega yachts of the WORLD! Yes, we looked some of the names up on Google, for example: Sweet Doll comes with a price tag of $28 million US and what a beauty at 150', and one of the smaller yachts in the harbor today! http://yachts.monacoeye.com/yachtsbysize/pages/sweetdoll01.h tml
Another beauty was the Wedge Too, measuring 213 feet 3 inches
http://www.robbreport.com/Articles/Wings-Water/Yachts/Best-o f-the-Best-2003-Megayachts-Feadship-Wedge-Too.asp - truly a beast
In this harbor we counted ~25 yachts OVER 90 feet, with the mega yachts accounting for over half! Simply amazing and so many had busy deck hands polishing the chrome and swabbing decks, and several were having dinner on the deck!
After a few hours of this we decided we had seen enough wealth but still had not made it to Monte Carlo! We headed up the long winding road and once there we were surrounded by millions of dollars of cars, leaving the yachts in the near distance!
We attempted to enter the Monte Carlo casino but were stopped when they tried to check out camera gear - no cameras are allowed inside! Ooooooohhhhh! Unfortunately we did not get to pull a handle on a slot machine and Ryan was really feeling lucky today hoping we could win at least $285,000/day so we could charter one of these yachts for an outing OR purchase one of the dozen Bentley's we saw which go for $300,000. No such luck and we left the slots AND the big boy toys behind.
On our way to the train we spotted a Monaco wedding party outside of a small church and with our big cameras we fit into the crowd
We caught the next train home to Villefranche and rested for a bit before dinner where we had horrible service from the same gal as the other night! However, we spent the time car watching, not people watching as we are on the main autobahn between Nice and Monaco and we saw Lamborghini after Ferrari after Bentley after Porsche after Mercedes - multiples of each rip past us as we waited for our food so the time passed quickly.
We returned to our hotel and Franco warmly greeted us and asked if we were going to join in his backgammon game! Ryan had told Franco that Laurie would join him in game and tonight was the night. We sat down with Morrie, a nice 80 year old French man who spoke good English, and began a game. The game went quickly but Morrie had to refresh Laurie's memory on how the hell to play the game! Laurie won the first game and we swore he let Laurie win! The second game was brutal and Morrie clobbered Laurie - it was a mess! We had a friendly chat with Morrie and Franco and Laurie knew better not to enter into a tie-break game
Tomorrow we are on our way to Antibes and Juan Les Pins and know we will have our fill of more yachts as Antibes is the largest yacht marina with 1600 slips! More to come...
Today's walk: 5.4 miles
Total for the journey (163 miles, 30 days)
Ryan and Laurie