Living the High Life for a Couple of Days
Trip Start May 04, 2011
110Trip End Feb 20, 2014
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Where I stayed
What I did
I’ll let the photos tell the rest of the story of my day. I bought a few souvenirs, including a really awesome lighter that is shaped like a casino gaming chip. I then got a text from Tish saying they had checked in and were ready to meet! Yay.
They met at my palace, I mean, hotel and we strolled around to the key touristy places that I had been avoiding because I knew I would go there with Tish and Kieran. Their hotel is just below mine. It was really great to see some familiar faces and the 1st time I have been overseas with friends (apart from Bali which was mostly family). And to not eat dinner alone! I’m so happy that we were able to meet up, and at such an awesome place. Got ripped off something cruel at their hotel bar (7 euro for a coke to go with Kieran’s 15 euro jack daniels! And my 250ml beer was 12 euro).
The next day, I caught a bus to the shopping district and then met T&K at the Palace to watch the changing of the guard which occurs at 1155 every morning. Not a massive spectacle like the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, but everything in Monaco is on a micro scale, but still impressive. Walked the streets of the Old Town and had a look thru the Cathedral where Princess Grace got married and is buried
T&K had driven their hired Mercedes to the Palace, so we jumped in that and went for a spin up the coast and then up the mountains to view down on the coast. The panoramas are amazing, and I felt very fortunate to not only have friends with me, but ones with a car! And Kieran as a driver who is brave enough to take on the roads. I shut my eyes a few times thinking we were either going to get side-swiped by a bus/truck or cascade over the edge of the cliff. Mum – u would’ve vomited for sure.
We ate a 'casual’ dinner before getting ready for a night out on the Monaco town. I had free entry to the main Monte Carlo casino (normally is 10 euro)
In between all this, I had been thinking about how to get from Monaco back to Nice in time for my 1030 flight to Athens. The hotel advised to leave 3 hrs before departure if catching the train. That would leave me with only a few hrs sleep and then from the train stn u have to bus to the airport – painful. So I enquired about getting a chauffeur driver to take me to the Nice airport (40 min journey). BUT, to my amazing surprise, a helicopter to the airport is cheaper and only 7 minutes! So, in a moment of reckless splurge (but somewhat sensible decision making aided by Tish’s encouragement), I paid the 110 euro to get a chopper to the airport. Boy was I glad when I could sleep in a bit and then have a driver pick me up from the front of the hotel at 835am to go to the heliport. The ride was smooth, great views of the coast, with 5 other people, luggage checked-in by the helicopter company and I reckon less than 5 minutes in the air. I have been in a helicopter once before at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, but it was a complete blur because I was so busy taking photos
And that brings me to now. I wrote most of this on the plane to Athens and now finishing it off in the hotel because a thunderstorm is currently thrashing Athens. I hope it eases soon so I can finish exploring. Man, I have not been blessed with good weather this trip like I was in Oct 2009, but I’ll make use of this time to connect to the free hotel wireless internet and check a few things...like my bank balance! I’ll update the Greece blog in a day or two dependent on internet availability and time as I progress thru the TopDeck tour. But all good so far. I’m sharing a room with 2 other Australian blokes. Good people, total group of 16. I hope and pray for good weather on the islands! Au revoir.