Thursday, July 17
After the Nice fiasco, we were prepared for our trip to Monaco. We got up early, had breakfast, and headed to the train station. We made record time and arrived in Monaco by 9 am, a full 30 minutes before we thought we would.
The train station in Monaco is fabulous looking. Great lights and wood paneling. Unlike any train station I've ever seen!
We left the train station and headed up to the old town section of Monaco. Note to all who are interested in visiting Monaco:
We should have brought hiking equipment with us. That or taken the bus. The walk consisted of steps
and then more steps (deceptively hiding behind a turn).
We stopped on the way up to admire the view. Fabulous. Even on a gray morning.
We finally arrived at the top and headed over to the St Nicholas Cathedral.
Colleen, Marion, and I admired the church and took a ton of pictures. Then we went inside (Brian and his Blackberry too) where we walked around, saw Grace Kelly's grave, admired the inside of the church, and took some more pictures. I won't bore you with all of them. Just one of my favorites.
Next stop, the Palace.
Well, the portion they open to the public. It was open by this point so we headed over there, dodging multiple tourist groups on the way. They were like little armies.
After the Palace, we stopped next door to see the Napolean collection. We were looking at the items when Marion let out a blood curdling scream. Well, not really blood curdling. Take away any urgency and fear and add volume and echoing sound effects and you get the idea. Everyone in the hall jumped and looked. And when they realized that it was just a toddler yelling for fun, those looks of concern turned into those looks. We scanned the rest of the items and left fairly quickly after that.
Once outside, Marion was in her element. Flowers and cannonballs. Yea, who knew? Cannonballs double as a play gym.
After climbing up and down the piles of cannonballs, we decided to head down to the Port to admire some larger than necessary yachts.
On the way we walked through a market and managed to find a playground and a fountain.
Not much else could have made Marion happier about this trip.
That was until we found a carousel at a small park next to the Port. This time it was a truck and she managed to take a moment to wave to her adoring fans.
Brian had some fun too, demonstrating for Marion how to scuba dive.
After the carousel we briefly walked by the yachts and then grabbed some lunch at a restaurant on the pier. During lunch it was obvious to the three of us that Marion wasn't going to last much longer so we decided to head back to the train station. We went a different route than before to see more of Monaco (and avoid more steps) and stumbled upon a statue and a small church, both of which seemed out of place but were very pretty.
We made it back to our flat, put Marion down for a nap, and relaxed the rest of the afternoon. After Marion's nap we went down to the beach for a brief visit before coming back, making dinner, and laying low for the rest of the night.
Friday, July 18
Another day spent at the beach, but this time with Daddy!
Not much to tell, the trip was similar to our previous ones: beach packed early, people crowded on top of each other, etc. So I'll go heavy on the pictures, light on the words.
We did bring an inflatable boat with us to shake things up. Marion had a blast in the thing. First she enjoyed being pushed in it.
Then she enjoyed collecting rocks and placing them in the boat with Daddy.
Marion (briefly) was dragged out of the water and promptly stood up and walked away from us. She would stop, occasionally, to look back at us or to yell "Right back!" while pointing a finger at us.
Amused at this turn of events, we waited to see how far she would go. Don't worry, we realized that she wasn't coming back when she got to the volleyball court and went to collect her. Our little Miss Independant, ready to be on her own at the tender age of two.
Once back from her walk, Marion decided that she wanted to go back in the water with Daddy. She had an interesting way of communicating this to him.
Soon it was time for lunch. We took Brian to the Bar du Cap (Colleen and I wanted some more sangria). Marion wanted milk. Everyone, including the waiter, could tell after she picked up a menu, appeared to read it, then looked up and said "Milk for me." She definitely communicates well!
After Marion's nap we headed to the Basilica in Menton. Beautiful church, once visited by Pope John Paul II. No pictures allowed inside.
We walked back down to the main street next and did some window shopping. Colleen and I stopped to admire some Provencal pottery when Marion ran into the food place next door. Brian quickly followed. When Colleen and I left the store and caught up with them, Brian had a hot dog in hand. And this is why.
When Marion ran into the store she ran right up to the counter, looked up at the person behind it, and said "Hot dog for me please!"
Clearly she had gotten used to eating out during our trip.
Brian and the person behind the counter couldn't believe it and started to laugh. Of course, Brian got her the hot dog. What else are you supposed to do when your toddler clearly expresses what she would like and says please?
So we sat in a courtyard nearby and watched as Marion stuffed her face with the processed meat.
She bit off more than she could chew at one point and spit the rest of what she had in her mouth out.
And then, shocking all of us there, she went back, grabbed a smaller piece of the hot dog from Brian's hand, and ate it.
She had a couple more bites after that and then went on her way, oblivious to what she had just done.
Well, nothing in Menton was going to top that little show so we headed through the construction zone and up to the flat to have dinner and prepare to leave France the following morning.