Micro states of Europe travel blog

Monte Carlo casino lobby

The Formula 1 hairpin turn

Fast cars everywhere

A street in medieval Eze, France

Henri Matisse was its most famous top floor resident

Monaco cathedral interior detail

Up after 0530 for the facilities. Thought the shower door did not swing out so I of course immediately thought BB could never use it! Molasses Man aka Lou was taking forever at everything, telling him I was heading down early for brekkie moving him to 3/4's Molasses Man speed.

We could have had brekkie outside but the tables weren't set up yet. The pool is only open at 1000 so diners do not have to look at undesirable shapes and sizes over their bacon and eggs. Decent spread for choice this morning. Lou and I wound up with tears of laughter mostly at the expense of Stan who is a good enough trooper to play the pinata. He does return fire too. The SS BB came down. We figured the harbourmaster must have been warned when she was coming into port. Hey! Hey! Hey!

Still some little things I haven't mastered re the blog site but it is functional. Back up to the room to prep for the late--likely typical A-B--0900 tour start. Our guide was fine but she had the habit of detailing stories to the point you drifted off, not caring about the end.

We first stopped at the tourism office so the majority could get a 'passport stamp'. I've decided to skip the chance as they are not real thing but others like them for a souvenir. Monaco is not a member of the European Union but does participate in the Schengen Agreement re passports.

The peaceful African Garden was next. The guide went on and on about the importance of lemons to Monaco. Who cares!

Local residents are not allowed to gamble at the Monte Carlo casino. Lou had been told you needed a jacket and tie to enter but we were able to get into the lobby as we were. The opera is part of the same complex. The colours were more gold and copper in tone, a bit muted but still suggesting refinement.

We walked down to the slowest corner on the Formula 1 circuit. Many very fast looking motor vehicles were parked there. Others were seen in the course of the day. While the F1 cars get up to almost 200 mph/300 kph, the normal speed limit is 50 kph for the average Henri. It is quite humid even though the sea is almost within touching distance.

Back on the bus at 1035 for the trip to Eze, France, a climb uphill. This medieval town had character. It was small and would of course been worth more time but c'est la vie. The church was expectedly small but an enjoyable visit. A two Michelin star restaurant had a lamb offering for a mere 95 euros.

Back on the bus by 1155, heading to Nice. We had a walkabout first in the old sector and then were let loose for lunch. The guide had mentioned socca, a pizza-like concoction made out of flour. The Raccoon barged in, literally, helping herself to our lunch. We couldn't get rid of her when Lou and I sought out a beer. Toasting with water, Raccoon? Really?

After meeting in front of the apartment building where Henri Matisse lived, we carried on for a nice walk through more of the old quarter. It was more a chance to take pix for me than listen to the guide. I did particularly stress within earshot of the Sergeant Major that I had said something politically correct. She has the personality of a wet mop.

We passed the area of the Nice truck terrorist attack. The best that can be shown to these losers is life goes on. We went by the port en route out of town. A bit of nodding was in order. We drove through Cap d'Ail, the last French town before Monaco.

Up to the Rock where the guide prattled on about the Grimaldi family. Prince Albert lives year round in Monaco to stem any talk of a republic. The cathedral is not that old but it contains the graves of Prince Ranier and Grace Kelly, his Hollywood queen.

The palace was the last stop on the tour. Pix were not allowed for supposed security purposes but I am sure every room we entered was readily be viewed online. The variety of the colour schemes was evident. There was the expected beds, dressers, chandeliers, paintings and other knickknacks. The audio was good.

We got back to the hotel around 1800, Lou needing a beer. Stan joined and became the butt of most jokes. Same meant the showers and prep thereafter were quick.

Stan was late for the 1900 rendezvous. When he arrived in the lobby, Lou and I burst out into 'Folsom Prison Blues', at least to our amusement if not some of the group sticks in the mud.

Dinner was fine. Lou's voice booms so some of the other diners had louder than expected dinners when jokes, jibes and laughter reigned supreme. Peter had ordered appetizers. My main was a seafood pasta with an Aperol Spritz. Dessert for a Naples'concoction. Under small world, there was a couple from Ancaster, Ontario in the restaurant. I lived there from 1976 to 2006.

Back to check email and get the blog done. Why Lou would need a 0500 wake up call for 0630 brekkie is beyond me. Bed before 2300. With some time in Marseilles bunched in the middle, we have five train legs manana.

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