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Friday, July 18th

mv Golden Princess in Monaco mv Golden Princess in Monaco
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During the morning, the ship sailed west along the Italian and French Riviera, passing towns we had visited on other trips: San Remo, Ventimiglia, Menton, Cap Martin. Entering the harbor, we passed the 3,100 passenger Golden Princess, which anchored offshore and shuttled its passengers to and from the harbor all day. Thanks partially to them, Monaco was very crowded today.

The Star Clipper pulled into Port Hercule, performed a few maneuvers and backed into position at the dock. Once moored, we set off.


At the end of the pier, we climbed the Rock, a rocky promontory on top of which sits Monaco, the old town and the current capital of the principality. We walked up to Fort Antoine, which once guarded the entrance to the harbor, and then through St. Martins Gardens, which is filled with lush tropical vegetation and shady walkways. In the center of the old town stands the neo-Romanesque cathedral, built in the late 19th century, which contains the tomb of Princess Grace and other members of the Grimaldi dynasty. As we entered, someone was creating an awful racket on the organ. I suppose it was being tested or repaired. It continued for about fifteen minutes and sounded terrible.

Further on we came to the Prince's Palace, but it was open only for guided tours. As usual in the early afternoon, most shops were closed. So, after a stroll through the old narrow streets, we left the Rock and walked down to the La Condamine, the commercial district separating the Rock from Monte-Carlo. Naturally, all the stores and shops were closed. We passed a number of large yachts but discovered that, after two weeks of yacht-watching, those which might have impressed us ten days ago now received but a passing glance. We become so easily jaded!


Ferrari at the Hotel de Paris Ferrari at the Hotel de Paris
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On to Monte-Carlo, the magical name that conjures images of casinos, palaces, wealthy celebrities, luxurious shops, and rich villas. We saw all of these, but from the outside, along with the hoards from the Golden Princess. After an hour of so of walking and looking, we ducked into L'Ascot, an Irish sports pub, for some beer.

Returning to the Rock through La Condamine, we discovered a small amusement park for kids. It was fun to watch the little ones bungee jumping, riding the merry-go-round, or racing their little cars around a track. Back in the old town, we had a very bland pizza at L'Estragon, and returned to the ship.


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