Buuuuuut still you probably shouldn’t. =) So Monaco is not actually part of France, it is a very small sovereign city-state surrounded by 3 sides by France (the 4th side faces the coastline) with a castle and everything – it is also one of the wealthiest countries in the world! People there mostly speak either French or Italian. I have been there three different times now, and I really love it. =) The first time I went was on a whim back in September- had talked to a girl I had just met that day who was going with a few friends to Monte Carlo to celebrate after finishing an exam, and they were going to get on the train in Antibes around six, so after I got home from school I literally ran around trying to decided if I wanted to go, asked Hazel but she was thinking that she didn’t know if she wanted to pay 20 euros for just the train ticket(it ended up only costing 9) and then whatever it would cost at the casino and for dinner, and she would rather spend the money if she was going for a whole day and not for 5 hours. Very valid point, and I was struggling with this too but in the end I tried to find something to wear and ran out to catch the bus. Luckily I remembered to grab a pair of under-skirt shorts on the way out and some flip flips for when my high-heels started to eat my feet. Basically if you are in the vicinity of the Monte Carlo square, everyone is dressed up – and if you wear shorts after five in the evening you won’t be allowed in anywhere. They really try to keep a certain appearance about the place. (Sidenote: Has anyone ever seen that BBC show – “Keeping up Appearances” with Mrs. Bucket (Bou-que) it was kinda funny, always felt sorry for the poor husband for being married to her). The train ride to Monaco is one of my favorites because the train hugs the coast, giving you a front seat view of the Mediterranean as it zips in and out of tunnels in the mountains, each view more magnificent than the last. Monaco at night was still very illuminated and there was this huge yacht show. However you would have to pay 6o euros just to look at them. Hah, I just took pictures from above stalker-style and foiled them! There was this neat mechanical-looking dragon so I took a picture of it for you, Alex! So we walked up to the square where the Hotel de Paris and the Monte Carlo Casino are. Dinner was nice – we ate outdoors at a restaurant nearby and I decided to try anchovy pizza (I didn’t want to spend too much money that night) because I had never had anchovies. They are saaaaaalty….  reeeeaally salty. Anyways, so we headed over to the Monte Carlo and parked directly in front of the casino was a row of ferraris… very nice.  And there were some other pretty awesome cars too, I liked the blue Ferrari California. =)  And there was a really neat concept car on display: VERITAS – which I had never heard of, I just know it means “truth” in Latin. The car in question is the Veritas RS III – and although I have pictures of it you can probably see it better if you just google it. So the Monte Carlo is pretty amazing inside as well – you have your rooms for roulette, for blackjack, and private rooms for the high-rollers, which you can get into for a pricey entrance fee. They have a room for slot machines as well, which is where I went! (I didn’t want to put down too much money, I just wanted to see if I was lucky. Lol, I only won 15 euros but it was pretty sweet!) Oh sidenote: There is a story that floats around CERAM because all the teachers know it too, but this one student went to the MCC and won 300 euros – so guess what he did: Paid for a helicopter ride back to Antibes! Sweet. As beautiful as the casino is on the inside with all it’s old world ambiance and detailed decor, the exterior is even more beautiful and intricate, every sculpture, every motif. I was not allowed to take any pictures inside the casino, but I do have several of the outside and in the daylight as well. The second time I went to Monaco was during the day to visit several gardens. There was an “exotic garden (Jardin Exotique)” which had some pretty cool cacti – a lot of what I had seen in Arizona but still very neat. They also had caverns but I just missed the tour. The cool thing about Monaco is that when you are trying to get somewhere and you start from high up you can see where you need to go and follow it all the way down. That’s how I got to the second garden – you just weave in and out through and down the streets. You can also see what people do with the rooftops! They have gardens on them! I would like to imagine having a rooftop tea party there =) So the next place that I went was a rosarie in honor their Princess Grace, and it had some very interesting names for the roses (not their real names, but I suppose the names of people and things she liked) For example, Elvis was one name… hehe. There was a fountain there and I filled up my bottle of water and it even tasted like roses!  I have pictures of the roses and the Japanese Zen Garden I went to after that as well, I put them up one post ago.  On my way down to the rosarie I came across a cemetery of families of Monaco since long ago. The sculptures are amazing… I am beginning to notice that my favorite form of art would be sculptures… they just capture so much, every curve, every edge… in marble, granite, etc… and their expressions…  hmm. The gravestones were gorgeous, and my favorite was an angel watching over the grave of two families with her finger to her lips for silence (tread softly and let them rest in peace is what I take from it). I walked to the harbor after that, and saw a pretty sleek speedboat and it reminded me of something Jonathon might like (color scheme being black and orange and it makes me think of a James Bond sort of feel… not that he’d like it  for the second reason, but yeah, pretty sweet). I headed up a crazy huge hill to get to Monaco’s castle which is still very much in use today. Of course when I got to the top I found the elevators. heh.  For lunch I found this amazing Asian Tapas place named ZenZen – a chain sort of fast food place, but it being Monaco and all it didn’t seem like a fast food place to me. They have the cutest macot hee hee. Man, I had really been missing buffalo wings…. yum. HAH. Yes, I know, I am in France and I miss buffalo wings – go figure. Oh, and I know I haven’t been putting much of anything up involving food that I have made while I have been here, but a lot of that was me not wanting to spend a lot of money or having the time. But recently I had decided to take the time, eat a bit healthier, sit back and enjoy.  The third time I went to Monaco was to meet up with the roomies after I spent my day in Villefrenche Sur Mer (my favorite views are from that city- I will do that post as well) and it’s funny, Monaco is pretty easy to get around, find your way after only the second time. Enjoy the pictures, and enjoy your day!  =)

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