Day 21- San Remo/Monaco

I felt worse for Rosa after our late night when I woke up early the next morning to go to the bathroom and she was up and about already ironing our clothes that she had hung out to dry the day before. We tried to explain to her that we were rolling them up into little balls and stuffing them into our backpacks, but she still wanted to do it, so we let her. We woke up relatively early because we wanted to go to the market to buy souvenirs before leaving San Remo for Monaco. We went to the market, but ended up only finding things for our baby. Oh well. We bought an adorable short and t-shirt outfit that says “I want to try that wave” with sea things on it, as well as a T-shirt that our kid will not be able to wear for a couple years, but it was the smallest size and says “Italia” on it with a little flag. Hopefully we will be able to find suitable souvenirs for everyone else in Genova. The market was fairly big, with an indoor section that had fruit, vegetables, meat, pasta, pesto, and everything else you could possibly want. It was like a mini-costco in there with all different vendors selling different things. When we got back to Rosa’s house, Franco Genovese (another branch member who wanted to see us) was there to take us to the train station. We got there an hour early, so he took us by his house so that we could say hi to his wife as well. They were super nice and gave us pear juice and chocolate. He was very vigilant about the time too and made sure we were back to the train station on time to catch our train to Monaco.
Monaco has a Ferrari dealership with the cars just parked on the street…
We felt really grungy and homeless here
Monaco train station… entrance into the mountain
First beach attempt- very small and rocky with
waves… but only from the yachts going by
Monte Carlo, Monaco was way different than anything we have seen so far. Graziano said it was the most American city in Europe, and we think that might be because there are lots of modern buildings instead of all really old buildings. We wandered for awhile, and went down to the harbor to see the yachts. There were tons of humungous yachts in the port, and it was fun looking and seeing the features of each one. Unfortunately, the port was a little messed up because the Grand Prix car race was on Sunday. There were barriers set up everywhere and portable stands and stages filled up all around the main areas of town. We started wandering one way, wandered as far the other way along the shoreline as we could, looking for the beach. We heard that the beaches in Monaco were better than in San Remo, so we didn’t bother going to the awkward San Remo beach. Well, we found one very small beach mostly surrounded by rocks down a steep staircase. By this time, I had not found a bathroom and really needed to go, so we decided to settle on this beach, change, so that I could go in the sea. We found a smaller beach on the other side of the small beach, so we decided to go there to deck change. The descent to this beach did not have stairs, and it was kind of like scrambling down the rocks, which I did not want to do with a big pack on my back, so I took my backpack off and tried to set it down below on the rocks. It started rolling down the rocks, and I thought, “Excellent! It will land on the beach and I won’t have to tote it down”. What actually happened was that it gained too much momentum, and rolled all the way down the rocks onto the beach and into the water! I scrambled down the rocks WAY faster than I thought I could and fished it out before too much damage was done. Just a few of my articles of clothing were dampened, and my towel. Austin was pretty frustrated that I had almost had my belongings washed out to sea, but whatever. I changed and took care of my business, Austin changed and then commented that we should probably look for the real beach instead of settling for the tiny rocky sucky beach. So, we climbed back up the stairs and saw way off in the distance something that resembled beach. We walked all the way down the way we had wandered before, and kept going. The casinos in Monte Carlo were built out kind of on a peninsula, and we walked under them through a tunnel to get to the beach.
I’m somewhere out there on the little platform in the bay
It was a pretty long way to the other beach, but it ended up being worth it. No beach here actually has waves or anything, but at least this beach had small pebbles that were kind of like sand, and a public shower. There was even a little dock out in the middle of the bay that we could swim to. Austin didn’t want to swim out to it, because he had to watch our things, but I swam out there and climbed up on it for awhile, and swam back. We enjoyed dipping in the water (it was a little cold, but not too bad), and then decided to look for a restaurant we wanted to go to. A member of the San Remo branch owns a restaurant right off of the port in Monte Carlo. Austin worked with him quite a bit because he was the branch mission leader while Austin was in San Remo. So, we went to his restaurant, Au Royalty. We ordered pizzas and Austin had a fun time catching up with Marco Vaccarono. He waited on us himself and made our pizzas, and wouldn’t let us pay for them in the end. It was really nice to meet him and for Austin to get to catch up with him a little bit as well. All in all, Monaco was really cool, and we saw some pretty cool cars (Bentleys, Ferraris, Rolls, etc), but we also felt pretty out of place among all the rich people when we look fairly homeless at the moment with our huge backpacks, hiking sandals, and Austin’s month long beard.
The train station in Monaco was pretty cool. Austin thought the train station in San Remo was the best thing ever because the stop is in the middle of a mountain, and you walk in a tunnel for half a kilometer to get out of the mountain and into the real city. The train station in Monaco is also built into the mountain; they didn’t have to dig as deep into the mountain to get it there, but there are 6 or more exits with tunnels from those exits to the train station, depending on where you want to go in Monaco. We chose the one to go out to the harbor, pretty much on accident because we didn’t know what we were doing when we got there, but there were exits straight to the casino, the Prince’s palace, etc.
P.S. Our train to Genova was over an hour late due to technical issues, and because there was another earthquake in Italy, this time in a city outside of Padova. I had no idea that Italy was prone to earthquakes in the first place, and there have been 2 since we started traveling here!
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