I'm in the Money!

Trip Start Oct 31, 2012
Trip End Nov 11, 2012

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Flag of Monaco  , Italian Riviera,
Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The train ride to Monaco was unreal, leading us down the coastline of the French Riviera. There are no better words to describe Monte Carlo other than posh, lux, and impeccable.
When Sami and I arrived in this little city, we were amazed at how well groomed the town looked. It oozed wealth with offices to buy super yachts, private jets, and the rarest of European sports cars.
After settling into our hotel, we visited Price Albert of Monaco's palace which sat atop a hill overlooking the city and lavish ports. We were amazed at how large these yachts appeared even after climbing the steep, winding and narrow walkway up to the palace. Some were the size of a modest American home. The palace itself was anything but modest and was surrounded by old cannons with neatly piled pyramids of ammunition.
We walked down to the ports to a carnival boardwalk that strongly felt out of place as it cheapened the fact that we were walking amongst multi-million dollar vessels. This area must have been inspired by the many families and tourists who vacation here, but it was the last thing we expected to see in this affluent community.
From the ports we walked to the other side of the small country to find beaches, mostly following the Grand Prix race route. Once at the beach, we sat at a table right on the sand and enjoyed a lunch in the afternoon sun.
Our next stop took us through a neighborhood which made Rodeo Drive feel dirty and cheap. Only the finest retailers in the world were here and the precision of the landscaping was impeccable.
Next was one of the main reasons for choosing our journey along the French Riviera - The Monte Carlo Casino. This is the place that put the "Martini, Up. Shaken, not stirred" on the map. Sami was thrilled to experience this, and I was ever more in awe at the architecture of the building. While the bar and chandeliers glowed with crystals, we were both surprised at the size of the main room which contained only 9 tables. An offshoot from the main room was an open parlor which required gentlemen to wear a jacket and tie, however the terrace overlooking the ocean connected to this room, which housed roulette and craps tables was closed for the season.
At the Monte Carlo Casino, we played a few hands of 21 and walked away winners. It wasn't until we went into the Sun Casino at the Fairmont hotel to play craps (since craps wasn't unavailable at the main casino) that Monte Carlo had the last laugh.
Later that evening we strolled back to our hotel and through the carnival, which surprisingly was the busiest area of the city. We stopped in the small neighborhood just below our hotel for dinner, a nicoise salad and of course...pizza.
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