Did you see my video on Monaco? If not, check it out here
I met Rowan in 2010 through work and, trying to be a social person, I asked him what he was doing that weekend. He replied, "My whole Sunday is going to be F1." As somebody who knows very little about sport or any type of physical activity, I assumed he meant he was going to a music festival and replied, "That sounds nice. Good weather for it if it's outside... You could dance." Luckily he never corrected me, I felt I had impressed him with my cultural knowledge, and we continued to be friends outside of work. When we started seeing each other, I soon realised that F1 stood for Formula 1 and that it was one of his favourite things in the world. I'd always wanted to do a video on Monaco so it seemed cruel to book the trip and not do it when the Monaco GP was on. Because look how happy he was to get the tickets. Naw.... Come on everybody, say it... nawwwww. It was a very Oprah moment.
I hate to brag but my favourite thing about booking the trip, was booking the helicopter that took us from Nice Airport to Monaco. Please don't think this is how we usually travel. I asked if we could play some hip hop while we flew. The pilot said no. That's cool, I respect that.
Notice how we're smiling in these pictures? Yeah... we stop doing that pretty soon. We booked an airbnb place just outside of Monaco because for some reason I had forgotten my 1000 Euro a night budget at home, so it was much more affordable along the coast outside. When we got off the bus with our suitcases we then realised... there were a few more stairs than anticipated.
Because data collection turns me on, we had pedometers on us (don't ask) and by the time we made it up that devil staircase, I had clocked over 2000 steps. I'm not going to lie, it was hideous. I run out of breath when I walk up a road so walking up that many stairs meant I was like a Biggest Loser contestant except I think the chances of a heart attack were higher in my case. You guys know I'm a big cat lady and we had a cat accompany us along the journey and at first I would say, "Aw, how gorgeous!"
By the end of it, every time that damn cat kept climbing out of my sight, with no signs of exhaustion, I would swear under my breath and I'm ashamed to admit I called it a "show off arsehole" at one point. Because it's true, the cat was an arsehole. I get bad when I'm tired.
Complaining of an unfit person aside, the view at the end was, as old people say, worth it. The place we stayed at was also gorgeous and it's balcony offered the view in the picture above. That said, as soon as I got over the view I went online and booked us a car so I'd never have to do that walk again.
Monaco itself though? Pretty damn impressive.
With the most millionaires and billionaires per capita, you'd have to expect at least the amount of boats, designer stores, and sports cars we saw buzzing around. I even strolled passed a store that sold private planes and jets. Here's the price if any of you feel kind enough to shout me one. I'll pay you back in awkward dance moves.
To be completely honest though, the thing that gets me the most excited any time I hit France or anywhere near there, is the baguettes. Holy mother of goodness. I consumed one of these. Every meal. Every day. At one point Rowan asked if I wanted to eat at one of the nice restaurants in Monaco. I got dressed for it, we stepped into the door, and then I turned around and asked for another baguette instead. You can't beat them. It's impossible.
Happiness was soon rained upon. Get it? Yeah you do. Don't worry, I had a baguette hidden under my rain jacket and ate it after the rain stopped. Luckily, rain wasn't present for qualifying or the race.
Although we only had limited time in Monaco, the race part was done and dusted after 3 days so we had another 4 to enjoy the city. I'd ... maybe go so far as to say I think you could see most of Monaco in two days happily and not feel like you've missed too much. It's tiny- the second smallest country in the world after The Vatican but two days would give you enough time to see little things like the changing of the guards, visit the palace, perve on all the cars outside the casino, visit the old town, and stroll along the water. Handy tip as well, if you're not in the mood for the expensive prices of the popular cafes, head towards the palace to places des armes monaco. I grabbed more pasta than I could finish there for a normal price and came back for the truffle stand. Yeah I know, life is tough.
Surprisingly, I'd say Monaco is one of the few (if not only the only) places I've ever visited in the world where I've left feeling no real urgency to come back again. Not to say it wasn't great, it was. I guess it very much felt like a place for its locals. Where they were exactly, was a little bit of a secret although I imagine the majority of them must stay behind closed doors, on their yachts, in holiday houses outside of Monaco, or at invite only events. For tourists or visitors though, the place was actually rather quiet at night compared to other places I've been. There were a few exclusive clubs and nice restaurants but once the f1 parade had moved on the city felt very still and empty. I don't mind the quiet, in fact I prefer it, but with trains and buses stopping not very late into the evening, it seemed to me that Monaco was a happy place to be left undisturbed.
Tell me, if you've managed to make it this far, are there any places you've ever visited that you feel you've seen properly? I must admit, it's a very rare feeling for me!