Thank goodness for the Mediterranean Sea and the warmer weather it brought with it. Nice and Monaco were much warmer than the other places I went to with my parents and Scott, and we even got to shed our coats in favor of heavy sweaters. And the sun shone brightly on the days we were there and our hotel was right along the seaport outside of Nice at Port Saint Laurent. So in the mornings we would get up and walk along the pier, taking in the fresh scents from the restaurant and choosing one at random to eat at.
Nice was a beautiful town, and we spent most of our time exploring the Old Town. One of the things I love best about European cities is the plazas and squares that they have, usually accompanied by statues and picturesque fountains. Nice was no exception. I am always the adventurous type, up for long hikes and hard finds, and I was especially excited to climb the steps all the way to the top of this high hill to see the Chateau and anything else that was up there. I made Scott come with me, and later my parents, although Scott’s bad knee definitely took the brunt of the trip. Pretending to be small children, Scott and I thought it would be fun to run up all the steps to the top, but as we got halfway up, we quickly realized that we were passed the age where that seems entirely fun. It was a trek worth it though as we were rewarded with amazing panoramas of the city, an ornate cemetery, the likes I have never laid eyes on, a waterfall, and a few caves.
My favorite story from the Mediterranean is about a bus driver, however, and I think at least my brother would agree. We were trying to figure out which bus would get us back to Port Laurent and I asked a bus driver who was driving a bus number we had taken into the city if he was going that way. He told me that he was at the end of his route and if I wanted to get the right bus I would have to walk along the nearby park and then cross over onto the right side at the end. We followed his directions, and when we got to the point, I saw that there was indeed the correct bus number there and that the driver was the driver I had just spoken to! He smiled and let us on, and we could not stop laughing as we realized he basically told us directions on how to get to him and where he would be when he turned the bus around. Luckily we made it in time.
We spent Old Years Night, as my parents call it, and most of the day in Monte Carlo, Monaco. Monaco is every bit as glamorous as I thought it would be. The moment you enter the city-country, everything is posh. The buildings look newly renovated and are masterfully designed. The gardens are lush and green. The people are stylish. Everything screams the rich and famous. And Le Casino was no exception. In front of the famous casino were the best cars money can buy from Aston Martins to Lamborghinis and everything else on the spectrum. Scott and I paid the cover price to get inside the casino, but you are not allowed to take photographs inside. This made me sad; as the casino was one of the most gorgeous places I had ever been to. Scott and I tried our luck at the slot machines for some time, and then we made our way to the ballroom where we enjoyed a nice glass of wine before checking out the games tables on the outside patio deck. All of us later went to the Christmas village that was set up on the port, and Scott and I took a long ride on a ferris wheel above the waters. Such a small place packs quite a bang.