M.O.N.A.C.O!.. September 3rd 2019

What a day! I checked off the bucket list a couple things today which I wasnt sure I was really ever going to do.

So… Tommy and I hopped on a train for Monaco which is less than 25 minutes from Nice. I didn’t have a full plan, just figured we get off the train and explore where our heart took us.

However first a little info in case, like me, you didnt know why we also say Monte Carlo and not just Monaco. I used to think Monte Carlo was the capital, but then after really thinking about it, how could a sovereign city state ( about 2 square kilometers) have a capital. To put the size in perspective, Coronado where I grew up is 25 sqkm for land. Well there are 4 maybe 5 Quartiers ( quarters as in areas of a city) in Monaco. Monte Carlo happens to be the best known as the train stops there, and the Royal Casino and resort is located there. So it seems over the years to the average Ken, people interchangeably used Monte Carlo instead of Monaco. As another side note, Monaco is the densest populated sovereign state in the world, behind the Vatican. Also the wealthiest, not counting the Vatican. But if you are talking about the country it is Monaco. If you are talking about Monte Carlo, you are talking a small area, like The French Quarter in New Orleans. Geography lesson done…

Got to say, our first hour there was uninspiring. I will chock that up to not planned enough. That hour including going into the famed Casino and walking along the waterfront. We were both thinking this was gonna be a short visit. But after a kismet moment where we asked a stranger on the street where we could find lunch and she took us to a little street, so began a magical tour from one awe inspiring place to another. For a place that is only about 2 miles long and maybe a half mile wide at its widest, we put in about 7 or 8 miles of walking back and forth, up and down.

We saw and experienced everything Monaco is known for, had lunch, coffee, sunset wine and dinner at different locations in the principality. The total experience was exquisite but the absolute biggest thrill is we walked to France which is where the Monte Carlo Country Club is ( that’s right it is NOT in Monaco. Go figure). For tennis enthusiasts, this is one of the Meccas of the clay court tennis world. Yes we went to the front desk and asked, and they said Yes.. yes you can come in, yes you can take pictures, yes you can experience your childhood dreams and bucket list and YES you can see the view that you have seen for 35 years on tv as you watched everyone from Guillermo Villas to Andre Agassi to Chris Evert to the greatest clay court player in history Rafa Nadal each time center court is shown. Yes the grounds men didnt understand me asking how the center court was laid out each year since he only spoke French and thought I asked where does Nadal walk in from, and took me to the hallowed plaque filled halls coming out of the locker rooms underneath the main clubhouse. We got 3 mins in there. It’s like going behind the scenes of the Vatican ( which by the way Tommy and I have done after hours).

So there you are, I’m a bumbling schoolboy full of excitement and wonder. As always, pics to follow but for now it is bedtime and dreams of country clubs dancing in my head. Peace!

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