25 May 2019

Being a big fan of Formula 1, Stefan had long harboured a wish to visit Monaco, location of one of the sport’s most famous street circuits with its swimming pool, tunnel and hairpin.

So to get a change of scenery (although no escape from the rain) we jumped on the train for a day out. The journey from Imperia to the French border and then to the tiny principality promised some great views of this rugged coastline. As it turned out, on account of that topography, it was a journey almost entirely through tunnels with nothing much to see at all!

We found the place in full preparations for the coming event which made getting around a bit challenging with roads started to be cordoned off and its infrastructure of grandstands and pit lanes being built.

On a bus ride around the streets we realised that, although there must be other roads in this tiny country, the Grand Prix circuit takes you through the whole place. The cars on the circuit were a little more ordinary and we’re still not sure how our bus made it round that hairpin!

Monaco is more than the Grand Prix. There’s the Casino, the posh hotels and shops, the enormous yachts and the Prince’s palace on the hill

but mostly it’s all about the Grand Prix circuit!

And the motoring theme continued as we visited the car collection of Prince Rainier III. It is an incredible collection of classics dating back to some of the first on the roads.

It was amusing to think of a time when cars came with vases of flowers on the bonnet. We couldn’t help thinking that those cars must have gone a lot slower than today’s!

There were the super shiny and extremely quirky

as well as the fast

and even faster!

For those less interested in cars and more interested in film and art (that’s me in case you hadn’t gathered!) there was a temporary exhibition dedicated to Rainier’s wife, once movie star Grace Kelly turned Princess Grace of Monaco.

Monaco is a funny place. Of course we were only there for a day so its hard to judge but it had the absence of soul one might expect of a tax haven. It’s the kind of place we are glad to have seen but we have no real desire to visit again.

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