Villefrance, Nice, and Eze France, and Monaco
Jun 4, 2012
|Day 3 - Villefrance (NICE) France, Eze France, Visit to country of Monaco and visit to Monte Carlo. Travelled Grand Prix road.
Oy, jetlag pretty much sucks! Seriously. I don't know how you can be dead tired, falling asleep at a stage show, then go to bed around midnight, only to wake up at 2 AM and not be able to fall back to sleep. Tried reading to see if that would help. All that did is help me finish my book by about 5:30 AM... and I needed to be up and out the door for our excursion by 7:15 AM. I knew if I tried to get even that one hour of sleep, I'd be a zombie for the day, so opted to just stay up and power through the day. So far, so good. If halfway through this entry, it's just a bunch of random letters, I probably fell asleep on the keyboard! :-) Okay, I'll stop whining now... on with the day!
The one nice thing about being up that early is getting to see some amazing sunrises. It was actually still pretty overcast early this morning, but I think that only enhanced the beauty of the French Riviera starting to glow on the horizon as the sun came up. I think I spent a good hour on the balcony snapping tons of pictures as the details of the landscape came into view as we got closer and the sun rise. I am probably waxing too poetic here, but I think I'll let the pics speak for themselves. Really, just stunning.
We enjoyed another breakfast on the balcony (really, is there anything better?) before heading down to join up with our tour group. Because there is no actual port for the ship to dock at, we were being tendered to the mainland from where the ship was anchored off shore. Once ashore, we met up with our guide Sylvee and our bus driver, Christian. Our bus was one of several that were crammed into the courtyard of a 16th century fort with what I can only assume was a shoehorn. One thing I have to say is that the guys they get to drive these buses are nothing short of amazing, the way they manage to manipulate this huge buses around some of the sharpest turns imaginable. We started the tour with a drive through Nice and Villefranche, traveling by way of three corniches, or "cliff roads." The corniches were a series of roads that wound their way up the side of this mountain. The views were amazing! From the top corniche, the one I believe Sylvee said was originally built by the Romans, you are able to see France, Italy, and Monaco side by side. It's a little nervewracking traveling up those narrow roads in this huge bus that overlooks the edge of the road, with what looks like nothing to stop it from falling off! We visited a small village at the top of the mountain called Eze, which was very quaint with its architecture that looked like a page out of medieval history book. Nestled among these buildings were several gardens; the scent of what I was fairly certain was jasmine was everywhere. It was really quite lovely.
OH! Forgot to mention. Since part of tour included a visit to the Grand casino in Monte Carlo later in the day, and they won't let you in with sneakers, we are walking these cobbled streets in dress shoes! OW! I don't recommend it.
Our next stop was in Monaco, where we visited the grounds of the Palace of Monaco's prince. In the same area is an impressive cathedral where Grace Kelly was married to the Prince (forgive me, totally blanking on his name right now). When she died in 1982, she was buried within the cathedral along with other members of Monaco's monarchy. Surprisingly enough, we were able to take photos within the cathedral, which we did. There some incredible icon images framed in gorgeous gold leaf tabernacle frames. We took some time to do a little shopping in the area and bought some souvenirs.
Our last stop was in Monte Carlo, where we had a full lunch at a restaurant within a short walk of the Grand Casino. While we were eating, the weather, which had been looking a little threatening for part of the day, decided to put on a show, and we were treated to a thunderstorm that cooled things off quite a bit. After we finished lunch, we walked over to the Casino and went inside to throw a few Euros away... which of course didn't take too long. Although I did fairly well playing on 40 Euros for over an hour. Unfortunately, pictures inside the casino are not allowed, so we'll just have to be satisfied with the shots of the exterior, which are still very impressive.
Finally at 4:00, we boarded the bus to head back to the tender to reboard the ship, where we went to the room and showered. I crashed for a couple hours, trying to catch up on some sleep. Then it was down to the theater to see a production of Saturday Night Fever. It was okay, definitely much better than the showing of it we saw locally, but I guess I am still just too tired, and I just couldn't get into it. Still, the dancing was impressive, and I really liked what they did with the sets.
Anyway, as I am finishing up this entry, we are just about to head up to Portofino for dinner at 10 PM (I KNOW! OMG! So late!), with a Tylenol PM chaser for me. :-) I am going to get some sleep tonight if it kills me!
Till next time, ciao!