Thursday, 17 September 2015

Snapshots of Monaco

Samedi 12 Septembre

Woohoo, Monaco, we finally met. I love how beautiful the location is. I love its Monte-Carlo Country Club with the clay tennis courts overlooking the glistening Mediterranean sea and the hillside backdrop- The best location for a tournament. That's what made me fall in love to begin with. Even though it's not actually in Monaco, it's close enough. I think I just basically love Roquebrune-Cap-Martin and its coastal walk and the way Monte-Carlo's skyline grows ever closer. I love that the country/ city/ principality is so tiny but so independent, yet also stands comfortably within France.
"Sit and watch the rich people go by," my mum said prior to the visit. No. It has flashy fast cars but they're a part of the Monaco Grand Prix, an event that brings practically all residents together. It's wealthy but that's the nicely presented train station and the suitably nautical colour combination of blue and white at the harbour. The underpass full of mirrors is strange but it's not grubby. I love the palace, up on le Rocher de Monaco, which looks like something from a fairy tale. It's very apt because Monaco can be perceived in two ways: "Where the other half live," rich in hedonism and luxury, or this enchanting place between Nice and Menton full of dreamy views and sparkles and a heavenly coconut milkshake drunk at an outside cafe.

Myself and my family got off the train at Carnol├Ęs station, a 30 minute journey from the center of Nice and took a short walk to the beach. It was here where our Promenade Le Corbusier walk began. Behind are mountains and in front is the winding stretch of the south coast. Here are things found along the way:
  • As we began, a random procession of flower adorned old cars with cute sounding horns passed us through the quiet and amiable street. We initially thought it was a wedding until one with dolled-up mannequins with their arms in the air drove past. Then we thought "hmm maybe not."
  • Photogenic homes. The kind with fancy pristine white gates and fences, stone walls decorated with ornaments and large gardens exploding with colour. 
  • Landmarks such as the Chateau de Roquebrune-Cap-Martin.
  • Rocky areas to the side of the footpath which are perfect for stumbling across for better views and a short time-out. 
  •  A fat, grumpy pug try to escape from its owner while we sat and had lunch (salad and ice cold drinks) down at a cafe on a beach about an hour and a half in. (We then walked for about another hour before reaching Monaco)
  • Lots of steps and the occasional runner. "I want to run here"
Altogether it took about 3 and a half hours but, done without stopping, could be completed in about an hour and a half. 

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