(all pictures are low res, for high res click here)
Our last stop took us to the French Riveria and the larger city of Nice. For almost 4 weeks, we've been spending our time in fairly small European villages, so the size of Nice was a shock to our system. (For perspective, Portofino has 500 residents, Nice has 70,000). This was also our only stop in France, so the culture was also different. Our home base was the Hotel La Perouse, which was unique because it was close to loud beaches, but was raised up slightly on the hillside, so it tended to be fairly quiet. It was a great contrast. .
We didn't do too much in Nice except go to the beaches (which don't have sand, only large rocks) and eat. We did wander a little bit around the market and old Nice.
The real fun was to be had in Monte Carlo, Monaco. On the way to Monte Carlo, we stopped at a hilltop village of Eze which was perched overlooking the Med. Eze is known for its resturants, art shops, and overly expensive hotels. Elle and I peaked into the parking lot of one of the hotels and saw this: Yes, that's approximately $1Million worth of automobiles (Lamborghini, Aston Martin and a Ferrari) sitting in that parking lot! Anyway, we finally made it to Monte Carlo and the world famous casino , unfortunately, I didn't gamble. It was more fun to sit at the cafe outside the casino and watch all the high end sports cars drive up to the casino. Monte Carlo is also known for its famous Formula 1 race each year, Here's a few shots of the course, note the candy striped curbs. . Oh, did I mention there was a lot of big money in Monte Carlo? Check out this yacht found in the port, and yes that's a helicopter parked on top of it. Lady Moura is currently listed as the 7th biggest yacht in the world, and it was easily the size of the building I work in at Microsoft.
Finally, we headed back to Nice and the driving was just as confusing in France and Monaco as it was in Italy. Check out this street sign, where all the signs point back to Nice, but point in opposite directions.
Well, our trip was finally over and it was time to go back to Seattle. If you ever go wine touring in Europe, be sure to leave a lot of room in your bags, as you'll need to carry back any wine that you buy. We came back with 2 cases worth!