Today we choose
to visit the fabled principality of Monaco and the Monte Carlo Casino. Rather than take the main highway we decided to follow
the coast to take in the French Rivera. Normally on the main highway it takes about a half hour from Cannes to Monaco as it
turned out it took us over an hour and half but worth the time and effort.
road led us through Antibes, St Paul, Nice, Villefranche s Mer and finally Monaco. We wanted to explore Nice more but time
only allowed us to pass along the broad boulevard along the beaches towards our destination. After Nice the road became exciting
and dangerous. It was a mountain road half way up the mountain sides. One error and you would join Grace Kelly. Below the
Mediterranean glistened in the sun with coves and harbours, small villages and boats at anchor. A little old lady from Pasadena
would have difficulty driving this route. Finally we arrived at the Monte Carlo Casino and parked the car underground about
five hundred yards from the main building.
We had lunch
in the Cafe de Paris located to the left of the Casino. We had it on the patio and wanted to see and be seen. The food was
so so, the service was so so, and the bill wasn’t so so! Above us was a glass canopy and every so often a mist was released
to cool the air around us. A small drama was played out a few tables over when a couple was asked to relinquish their table
since this was the lucky table of one of the gamblers and he always sat there. He probably had rabbit for lunch and kept the
foot. The couple demurred and gave up their table without a protest. We all understand gambling is an important affair here
and every effort must be made to placate those who drop a buck or two.
we decided to enter the Casino. Outside right at the red carpeted main entrance two red Ferrai cars with Kiwaiti plates
were parked. It’s facade is the equal of any other monumental important building in France with angels trumpeting,
horses reared up, stone garlands draped on the edge of the building and other decorations. Inside again impressive as you
would expect. However as in most of the churches in Europe the lighting does not do the interior justice. It is low and dim.
When you see the interior in a movie they light it up and can appreciate the cherub s and naked woman in the murals and the
glistening gold paint on mouldings but normally it is an eye strain to see most of the interior decorations.
to gamble. Wee mousier that will be 10E to get in and let us see your passport please. We now entered but didn’t have
to experience the airport screening and pat down we have experienced elsewhere in some other buildings. There were a dozen
black jack tables in the main room but only two had players. There were only ill dressed Americans in Bermuda shorts playing
not in tuxes with a sequined lady hanging on every move. Elizabeth wanted to gamble. No to card games but yes to the one armed
bandits. With the loss of 40E in short order that brought the total cost for 20 minutes in the Casino to $70. No comment.
Off to the side was a hallway with a sign private gaming. That is where I knew
James Bond was playing with his martini shackened not stirred.
We left and
decided to walk to the old part of town along the coastal roadside. We got two blocks and the heat got to us and we said let
us go back and drive there. We got the car and went some 15 blocks and tried to find the heart of the old town and the palace.
Several turns around the block where we thought it was discouraged us and we decided we had had enough of Monte Carlo. Regrettable
it left us flat.
We had been
running around on our adventure too much and we simply wanted to have a snooze in our air conditioned room back at the hotel.
Mr. Adventurer had played out his cards and was on the losing end. Time to cash in what chips I had left and head for bed.
I wasn’t going to be the next guy to break the Bank of Monte Carlo.