Nice times in France and high rollers in Monaco
As the weather in the southern hemisphere warms up I am waving a big fat goodbye to winter (which ended nicely with a trip to Fiji) and crossing my fingers that I will find a way to skip next winter. Perhaps I’ll fly north for the winter. Reading the pages of my first travel journal is certainly giving me itchy feet. Perhaps I’ll head back to one of my favourite places in Europe…
Friday 13th June 2008
On our way to board an overnight ferry to Corfu, Greece. But first, let me catch you up…
After Barcelona, we headed to Nice – my favourite place so far. We went out for an included dinner (part of the Contiki tour) then to an Irish bar for “a couple of drinks”. Had a great night out in Nice and started to make more friends with those on the tour.
Oh! Forgot to mention our stopover in Bordeaux between Paris and Barcelona – that was a beautiful place and it wasn’t overrun with tourists. We walked around to find our own dinner and ate at an Italian restaurant with three other couples and two girls. It was a nice night and we got to know a few people. Tim had the most amazing bruschetta and veal in the whole world!
Our second day in Nice started with a nice sleep in until 10am, then breakfast on the pebble beach – baguette with ham and cheese and juice that we got from a little convenience store along the esplanade.
Found some other guys on our tour and laid on the beach with them for most of the day and swam in the French Riviera. It was such a beautiful and relaxing place. Makes me miss the Gold Coast (where I went to university).
That night we dressed up and went to Monaco for dinner and to check out the Grand Casino at Monte Carlos! The dinner was one of the best we’ve had so far – but Tim chose duck liver pate for entree and he didn’t go much on it! The scenery was unbelievable. We stopped halfway between Nice and Monaco to take pictures and there was a French family picnicking nearby. They offered me cake and I said, “no, merci,” but they persisted, so I accepted It was a nice butter cake.
The casino was very extravagant with flash cars lined up outside. Ferraris, lamborghinis – you name it! There were tourists everywhere. Tim and I went in for a while (€10 entry) and there was an old guy that showed up dressed in a sky blue suit. Two casino workers went to hm straight away, pulled up a chair for him, brought over a little table with an ashtray, lit his cigarette, brought him a red cocktail, and remained there to wait on him hand and foot. He didn’t do anything himself. He told people working at the table how much to bet on each square (he was playing craps) and at some stage he was betting €20,000 a hand! He threw €500 chips around like they were nothing! And, on the same table, there were us Contiki people placing €5 bets! Hilarious. The guy was winning big too – €80,000 or so.
While in Monaco, we also saw the church that Grace Kelly married the Prince of Monaco and the cliff she crashed her car off. We also learned that it costs €1 million to apply for citizenship in Monaco – and there are no guarantees that you’d actually be accepted! No one pays tax in Monaco so lots of big business people apply because it’s a big tax haven.