Today Chau – a girl from Melbourne currently living in the UK that I met at the hostel last night – and I headed on an early morning train for about a half hour east to the seaside country of Monaco.
You could tell from just how lavish the train station was that this was indeed going to be a special treat. I once again had no plan and I didn’t care – the sky was pure blue with no clouds in sight. We exited the train station and could either go left or right. We chose left and started to head up passing by all the sailboats docked at the marina.
Soon we found a sign pointing towards the casino and figured that would be a good place to start. We walked down an underpass (walls and benches done in marble) and exited onto the street. Of course amoungst all the higher end hotels on our way to the casino there was a massive collection of luxury cars parked on the road.
When we arrived at the casino it was unfortunately not open for a couple more hours so we kept walking with a plan to come back. We finally found an information booth and got a map so we had some sort of idea where we were and what to do.
It was almost 11:30 and we noticed that on the other side of town at the Prince’s Palace they would be doing the changing of the guard just before noon. We caught a bus over there and stood in front of the palace along with many other onlookers.
Shortly afterwards the lavish ceremony began involving a dozen or so guards, drums and a intricate routine before they all left the one guard behind to pace back and forth in front of the palace. After the ceremony we went into the Palace (8 euros) and walked around before heading to a nearby restaurant for lunch.
I once again had a 3 course meal – something I noticed is popular here on most of the menus. We each had the meal and shared everything. We had a Nicoise salad, Prosciutto Salmon, Breaded Chicken followed by a tart and cream puff. Oh, and of course a bottle of wine.
After the nice leisurely lunch we went back to the other side of the city to visit the casino as it was now after 2pm. This time we took a short water ferry ride and after a little walk – we were there with one goal in mind.
Get a casino chip as a souvenir. Oh my God, I’m such a tourist!
We watched the table games for a bit before getting a dealer to cash 10 euros worth of chips – 5 for her, 5 for me. So now when I come back and sit at the poker table I have new card protector – so watch out!
By then we had been out for 7 hours and it was time to head back. I arrived back to my room to see my three Manchester girls eating Pesto flavored Lays potato chips. Holy crap! Best. Thing. Ever! I soon went downstairs to the market to pick some up for myself along with a salmon bagel and a salad for dinner.
The night ended with a pub crawl starting at 9pm. About a dozen of us went and we had a great time but when we hit a super crowded place around midnight I knew my night was coming to an end as it brought back some bad memories.
I walked home alone but it was all good. It was a great day and tomorrow will be more of the same…