Still on August 26th. Our first day at our first port of call: Villefranche. After a morning spent in Nice, our agenda had us taking the train to Monaco.
The train station at Nice-Ville was sheer chaos. Throngs of people waiting to board. And this was at noon. There were numerous automated ticket machines in the main area however we did not have any Euro coins nor did we have an appropriate card to purchase our tickets.
I really do not care for queues.
After 20 minutes or so of waiting in line, we were able to secure our tickets for the trip to Monaco and back to Villefranche.
We had another 30 minute wait for the train to arrive so we went back outside to stroll around Nice for a few more minutes.
When we returned to the station it was even more chaotic than before. The train must obviously be a very popular form of transportation. The gate was announced only a few minutes before the arrival of the train and the masses flooded the tunnel that led to the track. We literally had to grab hold of each other to ensure that we stayed together as a party.
Once on board, we surprisingly found a group of seats.
There are only a few stops between Nice and Monaco.
But you can certainly tell that you are in a different country when you arrive in Monaco. The train station is very impressive. And our exit into Monaco itself was also quite impressive. The city (country?) reminds me a little bit of Disney. Everything here seems just a bit too perfect.
We made our way up to the Prince’s Palace. A bit of a climb, this area provides spectacular views of Monaco’s port. It is also a highly built-up tourist area. Narrow alleyways filled with all types of shops and restaurants.
As we had been hiking in the heat for several hours, we elected to stop for some calories at a small ice cream shop. After some pleading from my family, we also stopped for lunch. Croque Monsieur. Trois fois. Evian. Perrier. Coke.
Fueled up, we tackled the rest of the sites in Monaco. We toured a few churches. We walked through the port area. And then back to the train station to Villefranche.
As we had spent most of the day touring Nice and Monaco, we elected not to spend any time in Villefranche on the return leg of our tour. Villefranche was busier now than earlier in the morning but still not too crowded.
The walking and the sun had probably taken most of our energy. We boarded the tender and we made our way back to the ship.