Monday, April 27, 2009

Nice Nice and Monarchial Monaco

I arrived in Nice Sunday afternoon and checked into the hostel, the Villa St Exupery, named after the author of "The Little Prince". It was a pretty good place, with nice rooms, a large bar/cafe that served good meals, a great number of computers for guests use, en suite bathrooms, a large kitchen, travel advisers at breakfast and more.

I was in a 12 bed dorm. Also in the dorm were an Australian couple, Elvis and Mel, who were traveling around Europe after having worked in London for a while and as it turned out had also booked the same place as me in Paris. There was also a British couple and a Canadian whose names I did not catch, and a few others who I didn't talk to much.

On Monday I went to Monaco, land of fancy casinos, fancy hotels, high police to citizen ratios and fast cars. I caught the bus from Nice which took about half an hour. I got off close to the big casino. It was not yet open, and at any rate I wasn't going to pay €10 just to look in the door. I did go in to one of the less exclusive, regular people casinos nearby, and almost had a go on the Star Wars slot machine, but it would not accept coins and I wasn't willing to put more than €2 into the thing.

Next I took a ferry across the harbour and climbed the hill until I reached the Oceanography museum. While I didn't visit the museum, it was here that I boarded a mini-train tour around town. The tour finished where it started and I continued up the hill stopping in along the way at a church where the royal family are buried, and then on to the Royal Palace. I visited the palace and the adjacent Napoleon museum, which had in its collection some of Napoleon's hats and other knick knacks, a number of historical documents, the evolution of the uniforms of the Monagasque forces and more.

I then walked down the other side of the hill and visited the numismatics & philately museum, the car collection of the Prince numbering 100+cars, all expensive in their day and ours, and the maritime museum which was a tightly packed collection of model ships. Having had a full day I headed back to Nice and the hostel.

On Tuesday I walked around Nice. Nothing really exceptional to mention. My plan shortened when I reached the beach, which was entirely devoid of sand, and instead being made up completely of stones. I sat on the beach a few hours just watching the ocean.

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