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  • Writer's pictureTerri Tomoff

Monaco 🇲🇨 Smells of Cash & Cars

It was a thrill to visit another country, albeit a minuscule principality of 0.75 square miles bordering France and the Mediterranean. Although “independent,” Monaco is run as a piece of France, with much Italian influence in food, architecture, and more. More as in car dealerships on several corners (the cars are inside) selling Maseratis, Rolls Royces, Mercedes Benzs, Ferraris, and Lamborghinis. People there must be buying them because those cars are being driven all over the principality. Tiny streets too.

The feeling, or smell in the air was lot of cash and head-turning cars mentioned above, everywhere!

Everything seemed squished into the sweeping slopes of mountains that run to the sea. I don’t think I could live like that, but there was beauty in the way the buildings were built into the rock and mountainous formations along the crazy winding and climbing road that got tenser with every 100 meters. Switchbacks with barely room for two cars, anyone? (This was on the drive over from Nice).

Thank goodness I like to drive, and I had to think like an Italian race car driver, switching gears and using common sense when going around several scary hairpin turns until we finally were deposited down in Monaco. Phew!

The entire area was being prepared for the Formula 1 Car race at the end of the month. Workers are adding stands to key points in the race, which kind of closed a few streets, ahem. It was an interesting display of keeping things chaotic and tight, which had us driving down the same streets multiple times until we got to where we wanted to go. Once we found a parking garage, that eased the pressure of driving around in circles.

Let me add that it was the perfect day to explore this tiny part of the world. Sunny and bright, with the afternoon temperature about 66 degrees Fahrenheit, Katy and I decided to hop on a local bus for 2 euros (a nod to Rick Steves, the European Travel Guru). The bus took us to three sections of the city, where we finally hopped off at the Monte Carlo Casino; it was the only place we needed to show our passports to get in.

This casino was different than any Vegas casino. It cost 18 Euro to enter. But…they give each visitor a 10 Euro voucher to either use on a slot machine (no table games) or for a drink. We used our vouchers on the slots our way out where one voucher made good - we left with 5 Euro in winnings!

Hungry after all the bus riding and people watching, we had a very late lunch; the only two in one of the restaurants in the casino. We could not believe it.

It was a perfect day! Big fun all around. Monaco with its world renowned Casino was the best place for people watching at the Roulette tables too. One young-ish woman from Connecticut that we watched, won 1,000 euros playing for a good 45 minutes. She told the dealer, “don’t tell my husband.”

She kept winning on numbers 17 and 36.




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