Monaco and the Rainbow Flag

Monaco is an interesting place. Home to the longest reigning monarchy. The highest per capita GDP in the world. The second most densely populated country. Host of arguably the most prestiguous race in motorsport. A tax-haven for the rich. A port of call for the worlds most luxurious yachts. All of this in a country less than half the size of Vancouver’s Stanley Park.

It’s easy to be cynical when it comes to Monaco. It appears to exist almost purely as a playground for the rich and a vacuum for tourists. The entire country is an ostentatious show of wealth. Ferraris, Mercedes, Audis, BMWs and more line the streets. Yachts line almost the entire coast. All the expensive brands of clothing and accessories line the streets

There are so many reasons why I shouldn’t like this place. But I do. I love it.

The one euro bus that drives along the coast to Monaco would be worth it just for the beautiful ocean views even if it just circled back to Nice. Luckily for me, it stopped in Monaco. The bus dropped me off on a nondescript corner. The only sign that it was Monaco was the police officers wearing funny nautical hats. But then I wandered down to the main port.

Just look at this place

A Rolls in front of a yacht – pretty much what this place is about

After cooking all my own meals in Nice I splurged a bit and ate a delicious panini. Later I wandered into a rather large restaurant that was empty and ate a delicious ham and cheese crépe with a chocolate crépe for desert. Both were good. I’m glad I indulged in a little french cuisine before I depart for Switzerland.

The Panini

The Crépe

The Dessert

I visited the Oceanographic Museum which is half aquarium, half art gallery. One display in the art gallery appeared to be two human skeletons having sex while on fire. I don’t quite understand how that relates to the ocean at all. The aquarium was interesting although quite small. There were lots of sea creatures of the small variety to see including some, like sardines, which are apparently very rare to see in aquariums.

For the bulk of the day I wandered the track of the Monaco Grand Prix which was cool both because I’m a budding formula 1 geek, and because it goes by a lot of the interesting sights to see including the Monte Carlo Casino. Watching the Grand Prix on television really does not give you a good idea of just how tight the track ca be, how sharp some of the corners are, and how steep much of it is. One day I want to watch a race there.

This is roughly where the starting line is

Massenet corner

In front of the Monte Carlo Casino – the cars whiz by this

Hairpin turn – it’s incredibly steep

The tunnel

Piscine – named because there is a pool just off to the right

And to top off an already wonderful day, a surprise waited for me in Nice. As I walked towards my hotel I began to hear loud dance music in the distance. I wasn’t sure what to expect as I got closer but eventually I knew what it had to be. There were lots of half naked people dancing around on parade floats, waving rainbow coloured flags and spraying people with a hose. I had wandered into Nice’s pride parade! Or as they call it, “pink parade”. Heading back to my hotel turned into a party as music blasted and people danced.

The Pink Parade – there were tons of people, this shot doesn’t really do it justice but I didn’t take any other photos

Also, what the hell France. Legalize same-sex marriage!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *