Happy New Year!
We took a short 2.5 hour drive into Monaco to ring in the new year of 2013. The drive is quite nice with a million tunnels through the mountains. Just as previous times we have driven through this area, you can always see numerous hand-gliders filling the sky from the mountain top over the ocean. Here are a few image of our drive into and down the mountain into the Monaco harbor…
As you drive down the winding roads into the harbor, you can see the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship docked. Just as any destination where a cruise ship stops, you have an influx of tourists that are trying to see everything in the few hours while they are at port. In this case most of them were British.
Once in the city we found our hotel, the Novotel. It was situated mid-mountain overlooking the ocean and the harbor. Here was our view from the top floor…
Right on the water was a Christmas festival with rides, shops, and amazing yummy treats! We got a hand-made waffle that was covered in chocolate and cream. It was beyond delicious as ~Paul demonstrates below.. it was impossible to eat without wearing it as well!
Although Monaco was gorgeous, it was also one of the most expensive places i have ever been, and i have been pretty much everywhere. So if you plan on visiting, bring lots and lots of cash! The harbor is filled with 150+ foot ships, owned by billionaires with a “B”. Here are just a few pics to demonstrate how crazy the money flows here…
Christmas Eve we decided to visit the Monte Carlo Casino and try our luck at some roulette and craps.
Much to my surprise, the casino is less impressive than pretty much any major casino in Las Vegas. The cars parked outside are quite the opposite and are very impressive. Almost every vehicle you see there is a Lamborghini, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Porsche or Mercedes all custom-made and all uber over the top. Just outside the Monte Carlo, they had a beautiful Christmas scene set up and coordinated with music and lights. The funny thing is that there are also palm trees and flowers right next to the set up, so it feels a little funny. Here are some pics of the display…
A drink in the casino will run you about $22.00 and a beer is about half that and its not free if you are gambling, so again appreciate Las Vegas! A New Years dinner at any of the restaurant (if they weren’t already sold out) will run you anywhere between $250 – $1200 per person) and that’s just dinner and some champagne. Like I said, its pricey! We did however find a bar called Stars and Bars which was not quite as insane but still expensive.
A visit to the Aquarium and Tour of the Prince of Monaco’s Grounds
It was another gorgeous walk up to the aquarium which we took a tour of.
Now for the people reading this from Florida what you about to see is nothing special since we have Sea World and Discovery Cove, which are second to none when it comes to “aquarium life” but this was still a fun thing to go do while in Monaco. Since I have a very strong liking of eels, you will now get to see a few.
One of the best part of the tour was the observation deck on the top of the aquarium, it was a beautiful day and around 50 degrees, which is about a 20 degree warmer difference from Milan, so it was a nice change for us!
There is also a museum you can walk through next to the aquarium (don’t waste your time) Even Paul who is the biggest history buff i know wasn’t impressed at all. It seemed like they just had a bunch of dead things in jars….
The fireworks display started promptly at midnight. It was great, we enjoyed it. We were lucky enough to be able to see them perfectly from the balcony of our room. No crowds was a nice was to ring into the new year. Monaco overall is beautiful, great weather and lots of things to do/see, but just keep in mind that everything costs more there! If you are debating whether or not to go, I would say it well worth the trip, but just stay two nights as we did, and be prepared to shell out some cash.