Before we got on our boat, we made a little stop over in Monaco.
First. Where is Monaco?
Monaco is a teeny, tiny country in the southeast of France. It is surrounded by France on all three sides.
See that itty-bitty red dot down there in the corner? That's Monaco. (And don't get it confused with Morocco. They sound similar, but they are oh so different...)
This here is also Monaco. Those mountains out in the sunset are France.
The border of France and Monaco provides some beautiful sunsets, as you can see.
We were staying in nearby Nice and only ventured in to see some of the sights in Monaco.
Sights like this. The Monte Carlo Casino, playground of the fabulously wealthy and beautiful.
Or the sights of all the yachts and boats anchored in the harbor.
Monaco has two famous car races every year. The Monaco Grand Prix and the Monte Carlo Rally. We didn't see any racing, but we did see this statue celebrating Monaco's famous racing past.
In fact, some of the cars we did see wouldn't go at all. While standing in front of a grocery store eating some pizza, a man with a woman and baby in his car was struggling to get it started. He would turn the key and all that the car would elicit was the tell-tale clicking of a dead battery. Matt approached him and asked him if he wanted a push. He spoke no English so Matt acted out pushing the car. The man eagerly shook his head and said "Oui! Oui!" Matt, Alexander, and Aidan then got behind his car and pushed him into the street. He popped his clutch and sputtered away with a shout of "Merci!" out his window. One good deed done.
Here is a view of the fortified section of the old town of Monte Carlo. Prince Albert II, the current ruler of Monaco, lives not far from here in his palace. Monaco has been ruled by the Grimaldi family for over 700 years. Through out that 700 years, they have only had the one palace to reign from, where as other monarchs built new castles and palaces all the time. Why didn't the Grimaldis build some new digs? Seven hundred years is a looooong time to live in one place. The reason they didn't was real estate. Monaco kind of lacks it. They are small. Like really small. Actually, Monaco is the second smallest country in the world and the most densely populated. It has the area of less than a square mile, and in that area of less than a square mile they have crammed over 36,000 people in to it.
The city is part of Monaco, but the hills above the city are France. In this picture the whole country of Monaco is shown.
But don't feel too bad for Monaco just because they are small. What they lack in size, they make up for in luxury and glitz. Yachts, jewels, $100,000 cars (everybody's got em)*, furs, and casinos are all common place in Monaco.
And don't forget that the occasional movie is shot in Monaco. Like the movie Monte Carlo starring Selena Gomez that my daughter watched no less than 50 times. Kind of why we took a picture of a hotel. Just for her. Here it is!
All in all, Monaco is a absolutely great country to visit if you are in the area. I highly recommend you take a drive through it. Just don't blink, cause you'll miss it.
*Up about where I am talking about what is in Monaco, I quoted a song. Hundred thousand dollar cars, everybody's got em. I will give bonus points (in my head because I'm really not keeping score on anything) if you can tell me what song that is.
Up next our time in Spain!