When Pamela and I saw that one of our ports of call was Cannes, we immediately thought about diverting to another destination. Cannes is neat, but there were other destinations nearby that sounded more interesting. So, a few of us from our larger group made our way to the train station in Cannes and decided how to navigate the intricacies of the French train schedules. Between local and express trains, schedules that varied based on the day of the week, and our boarding time for our cruise ship back in Cannes, we managed to book a train for the hour or so ride to Monaco. I had been to the casino in the Monte Carlo district back in the eighties. To be honest, though, I remembered little about the city and the surrounding area.
Fortunately, the tracks ran close to the coast and the views along the way were remarkable. Unfortunately, the French must think that air-conditioning in May is a luxury despite the fact that their train cars’ temperature approaches that of the face of the sun. Nevertheless, we made it to Monaco with no unexpected delays. The main attraction of the day was the changing of the guard. As we exited the train station, we made our way up the hill to the castle known as the Princes Palace. A crowd had already gathered but we managed to take up positions that gave us a marginal view of the proceedings. Although not nearly as elaborate as the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, the guard still put on quite a show. They were quite somber and serious as I suppose one should be when guarding a royal residence. What’s hard to imagine is who would attack the castle in Monaco. It would be a bit like attacking the Disneyland castle. Both are simply too pretty to threaten.
As a bonus, the view from the top of the hill was magnificent. This image was taken from the palace grounds overlooking the harbor and marina of Monaco. I took a group of seven or so images and stitched them together with the panoramic feature in Photoshop. Every time I use that piece of software I marvel at how well it works. I was also pleased that there were some dramatic clouds present in the sky to enhance the scene. As a bonus, the Grand Prix of Monaco was held only a week or so later. You can see the grandstands lining the harbor in the right center of the image. It was a blast to see highlights from the race a few days later knowing that we had walked on the very streets where the race was held.
I’ll post a few more images from Monaco in the days to come. It really is like a fairy tale city. Everything is neat, orderly, and clean. The cars on the streets and the yachts in the harbor are awesome to behold. I probably couldn’t afford to live there, but it certainly is a fun place to visit.