From the ship, Monaco is outstandingly beautiful with elaborate buildings, condos, and casinos, built onto the side of its mountainous hillside, meeting the sea with exclusive yacht-filled marinas for the financial elite.  At a distance, the city seems claustrophobic, since each block gains elevation, making it visible behind the previous one.  Although a photographic, picturesque city, things are very high-class and expensive, so perhaps it’s a hidden blessing that my time there was limited.

On a day I had more time off, a few of us opted to catch a train to Nice, thus crossing the border into France for my first time.  It would have been wonderful to know more about the area before hopping over to another country on a whim, but that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the experience.  We relaxed in the sun at a street side café for a wonderfully mediocre breakfast accompanied by some not-so-mediocre chilled red wine.  Now I’m no connoisseur but I am fully aware that one does not refrigerate red wines.  Nonetheless, I had wine and a croissant in France, thus successfully accomplishing a long-time goal.  Yay me!  We didn’t stick around Nice long enough to discover what made it unique but I have no complaints, I just didn’t have the time to uncover a surprise love for the city…yet.

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