May 18: Started the day getting our train tickets to Monaco, found a really cool guy to stay with on CouchSurfing and decided it was fate that we spend a bit of time there, not to mention my burning desire to visit the late home of Grace Kelly. Once all that business was sorted we set out to the beach, Maria was a little concerned at our lack of towels and other somewhat neccessary beach equipment, but I tried to tell her we'd make due, and so using our shirts, bags and soft white sand we laid out all afternoon soaking up the sun. Grabbed a super tasty sandwich and croissant at the metro station, the little oven churning out warm baked carbs was too much to resist. Headed back to the hostel to grab our bags and off we were to Monaco!
Arrived at the Monte Carlo station about 8 pm and met Andrea, the lovely Italian guy who was letting us crash with him for the night. After refreshing our sweaty selves and unloading our packs we took a walk down to the center of Monaco, and can I just say, although I have been, in the scheme of things, a handful of places in the world, it has been thusfar the most, esthetically beautiful place I've seen. Words, photos, can't really begin to describe the elegance and beauty surrounding you. It's divided in 2 parts, France and Monaco, so in moments we were in two places at once! A big part of the country's looks come from money, that being said you can't begin to keep count of the Jaguars, Ferrari's, giant yachts and women dressed head to toe in Chanel. Finshed the night with a cigarette on the balcony looking out on the dark blue ocean with the most incredible rust colored moon reflecting off the water.
Had the best sleep thus far! Went out the same time Andrea headed for work, a ridonkulous 830am.. ok not that ridonkulous... Grabbed some chocolate croissants and set out to explore. The Grand Prix is on next sunday so the majority of the city is shut in preperation for the event. Climbed what seemed like an endless number of hills to get to the Palace and Catherdral where Princess Grace is buried, it's a little morbid of me but I was intent on seeing it! Again all the buildings are absolutely stunning but lack the character and maturity of some of the other churches and palaces we've seen so far. Walked back down and around to a little cafe and had a glass of wine, a baguette and brie, yes please! Met up with Andrea on his lunch break as he graciously offered to let us keep our stuff at his while we went off to be tourists. He gave us some great suggestions for Italy and by 3:40 that afternoon we were on a train to Italy!
And that is where you'll find us now, the border between Monaco and Italy is about 25 minutes apart and from Ventimiglia we had an hours wait till we hopped on our first Italian train to Milan. The beaches and scenery along the way are breathtaking, something I'll enjoy looking back on one day. Every group of persons we pass has waved and cheered us on, how encouraging! Will get in to the city about 9 pm and have a hostel booked for 3 nights, Queco has been texting Maria all day with all the things we have to see, places we can eat, and has us in the know of which clubs are opening each night we're here, which ones have the cheapest drinks and of course, the cutest boys. Tonights plan however at the moment is to hammer down plans for the rest of Italy and shower!!!