Monaco…the second smallest sovereign state in the world, after the Vatican. I learned that interesting fact today on our thirty minute scenic tour of the lovely city. I also learned it only covers one square mile and has a population of 35,000.
A twenty minute train ride took us from Nice to the center of Monaco and a long, steep walk down winding steps took us to the busy harbor of Port Herculè. We had lunch overlooking the harbor, admiring the mammoth yachts lined up like cars in a downtown lot.
The sun warmed us as we hiked up the hill to the Prince’s palace (a short walk, one woman told us in broken English as she pointed the way up the hill…yeah right). I’ve done my share of complaining, but I have to admit, it’s worth it when you get to the top and see the panoramic views in all directions.
We toured the palace, which is a museum but also home to the Prince and his family. I knew very little about Monaco’s royal family before today, except for hearing something years ago about Grace Kelly. Now I know that the Gramaldi family has been ruling Monaco since the 1200’s, that Prince Rainier (who married Grace Kelly) was responsible for the current positive economic state of the country and that their son Albert II now rules. We were not supposed to take pictures inside the palace, but Ron got a few with his I-phone.
From there we took the scenic tour and saw more of the city including the casino for which the section of the city known as Monte Carlo is famous.
We’re back at our hotel now and soaking our feet! On our last night before flying home, we intend to relax, no rushing out to catch the sunset at just the right moment, no more sights to see (if we haven’t seen them by now, it’s too late). We’re both craving crepes, so that might just be our dinner. The French make a crepe like I’ve never had it in Canada. Ron says his grandmother used to make them that way—so thin and light with mounds of real whipped cream and filled with just the right amount of sugary, carmely filling. Bon appetite!