the princess grace diaries

it's a good thing we didn't end the night with another trip to wayne's, as the next day we decided to set off early to explore some of the towns within the vicinity of nice.  the first stop? monaco.

only 3 euro and we could catch the 20 minute train to monaco.  had i known it was this easy before, i may have visited the last time i was in the south of france.  instead we ended up spending a few extra days in marseilles doing all that marseilles had to offer - which was almost nothing.  i wouldn't say monaco was a big crazy happening place either, but it was incredibly beautiful.  worth the day trip and worth WAY more than 3 euro.

yachts. everywhere.

a bunch of grace kelly lookalikes.

one of the things on the short list of to-do's was visit the monte carlo casino, or as most of you probably know it "the casino from james bond." we were torn on whether to do this first or to do the walk up the hill to see the palace first, so we stopped to ask a tourism office for advice/directions.  the woman told us in broken english to make sure to be at the casino before 2 pm, so off we went.

unfortunately, what she must have meant was that the casino does not open until 2pm.  while we were allowed entry to the first room in the casino when we arrived, gambling is not allowed in the casino until after 2pm.  likely, this was a good thing, as i was "feeling lucky" and had decided i was good at craps based on my experiences during a weekend in vegas a little over a year ago. totally forgot for a minute that even betting and losing $20 could potentially mean not eating for a week.

the infamous casino.

a photo i took of the inside that another woman near me was scolded for.

view of the casino through a clever little sculpture outside.

after a quick trip to chanel to drool over things i could never afford, we headed over to the other side of the port where the royal palace of monaco was located. this meant a steep 20 minute walk uphill in extreme heat, which for us meant accepting the disapproving glances of others on the bus that we took one stop to get up said hill. i don't regret it.

i'm not sure what i was expecting from the palace, but it was actually quite plain looking for monaco standards.  even the post office in this place was something to gape at, so when the "royal palace" turned out to be just another peach building with a guard in front of it, i was slightly disappointed. 

the view from the palace, however, was spectacular.  i have about 400 of what looks like the same photo (trying to get the perfect angle?), and still i feel i haven't been able to capture how beautiful it was up there.

the royal palace - not exactly what i expected. where are all the diamonds?

wishing i also got a photo of the giant baby statue that was outside this museum.

view of the port from the royal palace.

about 1,000 photos and a tuna sandwich later, we headed down the hill to catch the train to our next location for the day. my only disappointment in monaco? i didn't get a stamp in my passport for going there.  with a country that rich, i was totally expecting to receive a gold encrusted stamp or something fancy in my passport that i could show off with later...

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