3 Countries Before Noon
Monaco Travel Blog› entry 11 of 58 › view all entries
May 31st, 2009 – by: reger1520
The train station was absolutely nuts. It is an old building that is way too small for the traffic it handles. I attempted to buy my ticket, but they only accepted European credit cards and coins. Not even cash. I don’t understand this continent. Scotland bought my ticket for me and we set off for the platform.
Luckily, the French train workers weren’t striking that day and our train was on time. The train itself was very nice and I now understand why they’re so popular here in Europe. Even though it was not a high speed train, the ride through the mountains and along the coast passed in no time.
There is no passport control of any sort on this train to Italy and Monaco. Once we arrived in Ventamaglia, we simply hoped off the train and we were in the streets of Italy within minutes. I hadn’t planned on visiting Italy at all on this trip but a day trip never hurt anyone. One of the benefits of traveling alone is that you don’t have to consult anyone else about potential plans. I just get up and do whatever I feel like doing.
The town itself was actually very interesting. I was expecting some small industrial town with very little tourism or culture. We just wanted to say we’d been to Italy (Scotland had never been there before).
The town was absolutely packed with a healthy mix of tourists and locals. Every little store it seemed sold wine, gelato, and every type of pasta imaginable. Our plan was to just stroll to the water front, see if there was anything interesting to see, then head back. Low and behold, there was plenty to see. The town was basically a huge open air market. I had never seen anything like it before. Every corner you went around, the market stretched down that street. Shoes, food, clothes, table clothes, suitcases. You name it, it was there. The prices were very reasonable as well (A pair of shoes averaged ten Euro). Once the sun started to intensify and we realized that this market was never going to end, we started heading back to the train station.
We arrived in Monaco after a quick ten minute train ride. Mission Accomplished: Three countries in one day (all by noon as well!) For those of you that don’t know, Monaco is known for being the lavish, posh hang out spot for the rich and famous, especially this time of year following the Grand Prix and the Cannes Film Festival. The residents of the country are the richest of rich from across the world. The population is 7100, however, 125 nationalities are represented. These people have waaaaayyy too much money.
Then there are the tourists. Droves of them. It is very simple to pick out non residents of the country. You are either wearing the most expensive Gucci suit driving a Maserati or Bentley or you are in shorts, a button up Hawaiian print shirt with a camera around your neck.
After lunch, we scoped out the yachts (I’ll let the pictures tell you about those) and then headed up to the casino. One interesting thing about this place is that there are public escalators throughout the country. It is built on levels upwards on a mountain. Pretty interesting to see. The casino was swarmed with tourists outside taking pictures and buying t-shirts. We took our picture, walked around the country a bit more, and decided it was time to head back.
Upon returning, I went straight to the beach for a few hours to relax from a long day of walking. I ended up falling asleep for a few hours, but felt rested and ready to go for the rest of the night. Later on today I will post about my last night in Nice and my crazy first day here in Metz!
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