A year ago today, to be exact.
The second smallest, and the most densely populated country in the world.
Along the French Riviera.
I wish I could describe the fanciness that was Monte Carlo.
But as I look back through my pictures, I feel like my words won't do it justice.
It's been a full year since I was rubbing elbows with royalty,
and in my reflecting on this crazy once in a lifetime experience,
I truly realize what a crazy amazing day this was.
I have said it once, and I'll say it a thousand times, blogging shows me how awesome my life is.
One of my favorite things of life is when I tell people I have been to Monaco.
But not to France. (YET!)
People get so confused.
You see, Monaco is surrounded by France.
But hey, I had my
Tendered in, and explored this tiny little city-state on foot.
Walking through the harbor is something you MUST do if you ever find yourself in Monaco.
Just a regular harbor, with regular boats.
But um, no.
Do you see my dad up there?
That boat looked so small, until he was standing next to it.
(Also, he is happy because those are Hummer brand bicycles, the real reason for the pic).
The boats in the harbor are more than just yachts.
Fancy craftsman sailboats too.
(That's a technical term I just made up).
Proudly displaying the red and white flag of Monaco off the end of their vessel.
Once we walked through a fancy tunnel (have you seen the Grand Prix? That tunnel), and up some stairs, we were in the heart of Monte Carlo.
Fancy cars whizzed by like it was race day.
You are within an inch of your life on the streets of Monte Carlo.
It's kind of exhilarating.
And next thing you know, you're up on the hill, standing in front of the Grand Casino.
The place where
The views are spectacular.
And your pockets start to itch.
Because you're at the Grand Casino.
You gotta take 20 Euro and try your luck.
Sadly, when you go inside, despite your own opinion, you are not VIP, and you get to gamble with other cruise ship arrivals in one big room.
But still. You gambled at THE GRAND CASINO.
You aren't a big winner, but if you were, you're in the right place.
Monaco is a tax sanctuary!
Anyway, after being 20 Euro poorer, it was time for some gelato, and on foot explorations.
Monte Carlo is all things beautiful, all things fancy, all things classic, all things French Riviera.
There was a little wifi hotspot in front of the Valet at the Fairmont hotel. So I stood there for a while catching up on emails, watching the high rollers zip down this street, and arrive for check in.
At one point, there were three of this exact same Ferrari parked there.
And I let my parents go their own way...and I took a slow return back to the ship.
Along the back side of the Grand Casino.
There wasn't a soul to be seen.
After being on a ship with 1600 of my closest friends, it was a very welcome sight.
Monte Carlo, is built along the hillside. So there are a lot of tunnels, and switchbacks to explore.
Eventually, I made it back down to the waterfront, after finding myself in a few weird tunnel dead ends, where I was greeted by the statue of the very first Grand Prix winner.
I'm pretty sure he is along lost relative.
The sun was starting to sink, and so I knew I need to make my way back to my
This time, I took the long way around the harbor. Admiring all of the boats, the big homes up along the cliffs, the Palace, and the hustle and bustle of the beginnings of the night life.
One of the coolest parts about our stop in Monaco, was that we stayed in port until 10pm.
My parents and I enjoyed an early dinner on the back deck of the ship, while the city began to light up.
It was all things spectacular.
And this is my most favorite story from Monaco:
Sitting up on the deck before we left port, my dad turned to me, and said,
"Kim, do you notice anything familiar about that boat" - pointing to this ginormous sailboat anchored right next to our ship. Well, except it didn't look ginormous in the Monte Carlo harbor. Just regular.
I stared at it for a minute, and it did look kind of familiar. But I had been staring at boats all day...soo...
Anyway, my dad, has an incredible memory, and reminded me of the time we saw that exact boat docked on the piers in San Francisco. The reason he remembered it, was it was a sailboat with all aluminum sails. Super fancy technology all over it, an exceptionally modern design.
In SF the boat seemed extravagant, huge, out of place, and was catching many people's attention.
We took tons of photographs of it, stared and waited to see the fancy schmancy owner walk off the ship.
And here I was, halfway across the world, in the Mediterranean sea, and that same boat was once again, only a few feet away. In three years time, that boat had sailed from the San Francisco Bay to the Monte Carlo Harbor in the Mediterranean Sea (and who knows where else).
My mind was blown. I never dreamed I'd see that boat again, let alone, here.
I felt like a little bit of home had come out to say hello to me on the French Riviera.