The journey of a thousand miles begins with...the perfect pair of shoes.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Cruise: Villefranche, Monaco and my moral dilemma re: Johnny Depp

Hello, my faithful readers. I hope you had a lovely weekend. Okay, we're going back on the Disney Magic cruise ship. Are you ready? Of course you are.  Bear with me, it's long and full of photos and my moral dilemma will be explained later.

Day...something (you really lose track of the days, but this may have been day 10 or 11) brought us to the lovely village of Villefranche-sur-Mer on the French Riviera. Again, it was another glorious day.   The boat docked and we had to take a tender into shore, which Indy thought was awesome.  The view was spectacular, as were the boats in the harbor.  This was my absolute favorite:

This is the town of Villefranche.  I could totally live here.

Looking back at the sailboats.  The Disney Magic is in the back.  I'm sure the mouse ears on the smoke stacks probably gave that away.

We climbed about a million stairs on our way to the train station as I really, really wanted to go to Monaco.  From the top of the first tier, we had an amazing view of the beach.  I should mention that this was a topless beach.  Indy leaned over to me and whispered "Mom, some of these women forgot their bra tops!"  I laughed and told him this was a beach where they didn't have to be worn.  He shrugged and it was no big deal.  Whew!

We got to Monaco via train in about 10  minutes.  The train station was fancy and the country itself was lovely.  And expensive.  Holy cow.  For those who may not know, Monte Carlo, where the casino is located, is a ward of Monaco, with Monaco being the actual country.  The whole country is about the size of a postage stamp (.76 sqmi), so I'm not sure why they have ward (sections), but it's their (little) country so, who am I?

We were there on a Sunday, so most of the stores, except the touristy places.  We walked past the Louis Vuitton store and in the window they had a croquet set in a LV case.  I couldn't get a good photo because of the glass, but you can see it.  It was €8000.  About $11000.  Yikes!

Just down the road was the Casino.  James Bond took the opportunity to do his best JB pose.  Silly.

We were all pretty warm, so we grabbed a table at the Cafe de Paris (it was in Casino Royale) and grab something to drink.  See the size of that Coke Indy's drinking?  It's 33cl, which is about 11oz.  They were €8 EACH.  That's about $32.  James Bond almost had a stroke.

The Casino didn't open until 2pm and you had to be "dressed" to go in, so obviously we didn't.  I still got a photo of the interior through an open door though.  Fancy.

Exterior from the back:


After that, I wanted to go see the palace, which is on top of this cliff. 

James Bond and Indy weren't all that thrilled and were pretty tired so they decided to head back to Villefranche and head to the beach.  I figured out the bus system, which was complicated since the Grand Prix had been run the week before and the buses were taking alternate routes until all the barricades were taken down.   Oh, before I went up to The Rock (as they call the palace), I passed a bridal shop with dresses that cost about a bazillion dollars.

Once I got as far as the buses go, which is about a 10 minute walk, I headed up the hill.  The streets were tiny and full of character.

The front of the palace and the main square.

 The view from the right side of the palace square:

The view from the left side of the palace square:

Nice views, eh?  I took the tour of the palace,I wasn't allowed to take photos though-boo.  Prince Albert narrates the tour on the headphone in the English, French and Italian versions and has a lovely, mellow voice.  BTW, it's pronounced muh-NAHH-coh, not MON-uh-coh, like we would say it.  The tour started on the balcony that overlooks courtyard where the royal wedding between Albert and Charlene was held last year.  When I watched the wedding, I was all "I SAW THAT!  I STOOD ON THAT BALCONY!"  I'm a bit of a dork like that though.  There were paintings of Princess Grace everywhere.   Good golly was she beautiful.  There was even a painting taller than me that shows Rainier and the 3 kids with Grace looking down on them from clouds.  It  was sweet, but also kind of creepy.

After the tour, I headed over to St. Nicholas Cathedral.

There are 26 Monegasque rulers buried in St. Nicholas.  Here are the graves of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier:

  I finally decided to head back to the bus stop and head back to Villefranche.  This is what was waiting at the bus stop.   Pretty!

So, here's the moral dilemma.  My beloved Johnny Depp, as you may know from this previous blog post, lives in Plan de la Tour, France, which is about a 45 minute train ride from Monaco.  I could easily have left James Bond and Indy at the beach and gone to see my beloved.  Oh, you know he would have let me in and been so thrilled that I had come to him.  What to do, what to do?????  The train lured me.  Johnny lured me.  Take the short trip back to Villefranche or make the hour long run to my beloved?  It would have been so simple!  In the end, of course, I took the train to Villefranche and bid my beloved adieu.  I know we'll be together eventually, so what was one more day?


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