We drove to another country for lunch today – the principality of Monaco, which is about 6km down the coast from the apartment. Monaco is the second smallest country in the world, behind the Vatican, but as it is officially a country it increases the number of countries visited on the trip to 23!
We spent the afternoon in the capital, Monte Carlo, which is famous for its lavish casino and the formula 1 car race through its streets. Our first stop was Casino Square where we looked at some of the cars parked outside the casino, including Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bentley, Maserati, Porsche and Rolls Royce.
It was lunch time, so we took a front row table at the Cafe de Paris that overlooks the casino, only to find that the front section of the cafe only serves drinks and ice cream. We abandoned our prime people-watching spot and went to the restaurant section in the rear. A bit on the expensive side at 68 euros for two entrees and a bottle of water, but it is Monaco after all!
After lunch we walked through Monte Carlo and up the hill to see the Palace. It isn’t a very impressive building from the outside (although I’ve read that the interior is lavish). Bev and I were not impressed with the drill-skills of the sentry as he moved back and forth outside the palace – very sloppy!
However, we were fortunate that our visit (on 3rd September) coincided with 70th anniversary of the liberation of Monaco by the Allies in the second world war. As part of the liberation celebrations, two major military historical exhibitions had been set-up in front of the palace, each recreating army camps from World War II as well as World War I. There was a large display of American WWII vehicles and equipment outside the palace that included a large collection of Willy’s Jeeps. They even had a female trio in uniform singing period songs (Andrews Sisters??).
Next on the agenda was a walk along the harbour to admire some of the super yachts that are berthed there. There’s an awful lot of money floating on that harbour!
And just for giggles, we looked at the available properties in a real estate window. 990,000 euros will get you a studio apartment and a two bedroom apartment will set you back six million euros!
We drove back over the invisible border to France and our apartment, to think about where we will go for lunch tomorrow!