Day 6. Monte Carlo to Arles.
24/5/18. Thursday. Sunny, hot.
Early start today after ports out last night; breakfast at 6.30. Because the F1 race track is right in front of the hotel, the hotel is totally blocked and we had to leave by the back way, up the adjoining walk to the Casino, across a temporary overhead bridge which goes over the track - and a F1 car roared past right under us - what a buzz, (well, I thought it was a F1 car, but Ian said it was just a medic car, but it made a heck of a noise and was going fast)- up steep streets to meet our bus. It was quite a walk, and we were all pleased to receive a bottle of water as we got on the bus. The Tour Director who we’ve had since Day 1, travelled with us to Arles, where we joined the boat. A very pretty drive with the sparkling water on our left, and towns and mountains and villages on our right. We drove past the road where Tina Turner lives, stopped at Cannes for an hour+, and had lunch at a roadside Service. We arrived at Arles where we boarded the boat at 4ish. We were fortunate enough to be invited to the Chef’s Table dinner for 20 people. Wow - just to try some different foods - some we liked, and some not so much. But it was good to be able to try them in small amounts. We shared the table with a couple who were at Monte Carlo and we had chatted with before (some others have joined the cruise from the Barcelona add-on, and others have just joined the cruise) and found that Allan and Ian both joined PMG in 1959, Allan in Melbourne and Ian in Brisbane. They were both made redundant about the same time, and shared many memories and stories. It was good to see Ian animated and chatting. After a beautiful dinner it was time for bed. We should go for a walk, but it’s been a long day!
We said goodbye to our tour leader Rebecca, who left us at the ship. On the way down, she gave some interesting information, including the following:
School is from 8-8.30 till 5 or 6pm, with lots of homework. There is no school on Wednesday’s. They receive free lunches, upmarket enough to include duck. But they pay high taxes - about 2/3 or their incomes. The inheritance laws here are very strict, and you can’t disinherate your children. The inheritance tax is 60 per cent and some houses and farms are abandoned because the family can’t afford to run them.