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Walking the Monaco Grand Prix Circuit – Day 70
Friday 9th October 2009 – France
Today I was off to the Monaco Grand Prix circuit and I was quite excited about it. I could get a glimpse at how the other half live. Maybe I can get the first look at my future home, or future play ground, we’ll see.
I began the day after a restless night sleep. The guy had been snoring all night after his wine he had the night before. I washed and dressed and had my breakfast as I always do. I then tried the Internet again for my email, but it was still down, I could not believe it. This is so inconvenient. I hate relying on things, especially when they let you down at the crucial moment. I sat and tried, while listening to the phone ringing on reception. It has a cool ring tone, and is the music from the bar scene in Star Wars. I forget which film. It made me smile at a point when I was steaming inside.
Today I wanted to visit Monte Carlo in Monaco, so I set off in the direction of the train station hoping to get the next available train. As it happens there were no problems. I obtained my ticket and made straight for the platform. The train was another big one, and yet again very packed. I decided to sit by the door this time so I could be first off. It was fun watching all other people walking into each carriage, then back out again when they realised there were no seats.
Monaco was only a few stops away from Nice so we were there before too long. I stepped out and walked the long straight corridor before emerging into the bright sunshine into the land of the beautiful and rich. Already I had passes a Ferrari show room, and couldn’t resist a look inside. I didn’t stick out like a sore thumb at all with my bag on my back and camera at my side. I pretended I was a potential buyer and asked for a test drive. OK, that part I made up, but the cars were obviously very nice.
The main reason for me being there was to walk the Grand Prix circuit. I had no map and the tourist place was closed for some reason, so I thought I could do it by sight. And it didn’t take long for me to wind up in the part of the harbour where the race course doesn’t go. It was good though because I got to see some incredible boats of the wealthy. Some were literally hotels on the water.
I backtracked and ascended the side of the hill overlooking the harbour. Up the top was the palace, and they were just going through the ceremony of changing the guards, so naturally the place was packed with tourists, cameras above their heads trying to get the award winning shot without being able to see where they were pointing the thing. A small wander around the small streets and the little shops, and then a small pizza for lunch, then I was off again, this time with a postcard in my hand of the Monaco race circuit printed on it. This was to be my map, and it worked a treat.
I worked my way to the start of the track, and walked the distance around, following the postcard map, looking at all the tyre scuffs on the red and white corners, wondering if they belonged to any of the drivers we know and love. It was easy to recognise the race track in some parts, yet strangely difficult in other parts.
Along part of the route was the Monte Carlo Casino. Around this area were all the big, expensive cars as well as the stylish and sexy cars. It was another world really, but I’m sure a lot of it was an act for the many drooling tourists. It was all very over the top.
I continued my walk onwards, and down towards the tunnel. It was great to see in real life. The noise in the tunnel as the motorbikes raced past gave me some clue as to the feeling of a race car passing through, but I know the sound level is incomparable to a real race car at full pelt. It was great though. The tunnel was impassable towards the far end though and I had to take the lift up to road level. Here I had to negotiate my way to the other end of the tunnel again from the other side so as to continue my walk.
Another look at some of the boats as I passed the marina again revealed more stunning vessels, some coated in a metallic silver. I wish I knew who they belonged to, and if they were famous in any way. I wondered what the owner did for a living.
As I approached the end of the circuit, and the place where my walk began, I was feeling quite hot and sweaty. It wasn’t late and I still had most of the afternoon left to see out, but I had seen all I needed to see here, so I got a ticket for the return journey back to Nice.
The train was packed again with early commuters, and I noticed a lot of English were also on board. You can tell the English instantly with their red faces and white legs. They all got off at the same stop so I imagined there was a resort nearby. I continued on and soon found myself treading the Nice floor again.
I was back at the hostel by 3pm as the rooms were reopening after their daily clean, and I had to take a short nap. Most of the other guys also came in during the next couple of hours, all with the same idea. I didn’t want to go out for dinner tonight so I just grabbed some bread and cheese and had a very easy meal. It filled me up nicely as it happens, and was much cheaper than buying a meal out in a restaurant, or getting a takeaway.
Afterwards I used the web again to see if the email system was up and running, it wasn’t. My website hosts explained there was no problem their end. I’m hoping its just the area I’m in, maybe there is some block on certain websites, and mine falls into that category. I’ll just have to wait till I get home and see if it’s OK then. I hoped mum and dad had the email I sent them before, I think they did.
I spent the rest of the evening packing and sorting things for tomorrow. I’m able to leave my big bag here in the locked room until I need to leave, so at least I don’t have to lug it around with me all day. I wasn’t sure how I was going to spend the day tomorrow, but I guess I could spend a lot of it at the beach chilling and topping up the tan.
The time got to 8pm, and it dawned on me that the old guy – who a little earlier was fast asleep – was going to watch the opera today, but I think he might still be in bed. It was too late to go and wake him now, and it is on again tomorrow, so he can see it then if he has missed it.
A little while later and I was ready for my final sleep before my journey home, I just hoped it would be a good one. I’m quite happy I am returning home, although I know as soon as I am home I will wish I am still travelling. It will be good to catch up with the family again though.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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