Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Monaco: Tale of an Epic Fail

After we left Nice, we had an epic plan. We were going to leave early in the morning, catch a train to Monaco, spend the day exploring Monte Carlo and then grab an evening train to Milan, where we would stay the night. Three countries in one day!  We felt very fabulous.

Everything started off well enough, we caught our train and got to Monaco within a couple hours. Then we got off the train in Monaco - and that's when our day went to hell.

In every train station we've been to, there have been luggage lockers you can pay to use for the day. Angelina and I both have backpacks that weigh about 50 pounds each, so when we take day trips it's essential for us to be able to use these lockers.  Well, we quickly found out that Monaco is the one place in the European Union where luggage storage is "forbidden" - what the shit?!?? Apparently after 9/11 happened, Monaco freaked out and made it so that luggage must be kept with its owner at all times. You can't even store your luggage at a hotel for a day. You need to purchase a hotel room and keep it there.

So there we are, stuck in Monaco with 50 pounds of luggage, and to top it all off it's pouring rain. Ah, the joys of travel! But because Angelina and I are insane, we decided to explore the city anyway, luggage, rain and all. Monaco is tiny, so we figured we would spend a few hours in Monte Carlo and then take a train to Ventimiglia, a small town in Italy that was on the way to Milan, where we could actually store our luggage and go explore.

So we begin our journey around Monte Carlo, and let me tell you the stereotypes are extremely true. Even in the pouring rain, everyone was extremely well dressed, there were Ferraris driving around everywhere, and people looked at us like we were legitimate hobos as we walked around looking like drowned rats carrying backpacks. We saw the famous Monte Carlo casino (the one where in order to get inside, you have to show them your bank account!) and sadly it's a total letdown! It's beautiful, but extremely tiny. I was expecting much more glitz and glamour. I guess having been to Vegas several times and seeing the massive casinos there, I've been spoiled.

(Monte Carlo Casino) 

(Freaking awesome rainbow helipad!)

After trekking around Monte Carlo for a couple hours, we were soaking wet and completely exhausted, so we hopped on the train to Ventimiglia a bit earlier than expected. When we arrived, we immediately went to find lockers so we could FINALLY put our shit down, when we see that the train station lockers are currently under construction and unusable. LOL @ our lives. Of course we find the two train stations in Europe with no lockers.  We had no choice but to make the best out of the situation. Luckily it wasn't pouring rain, so we decided to sit in a park and plan out the rest of our trip. We also managed to take a little hike through the city and see what it had to offer. Ventimiglia is super tiny and looks a lot like what I'd imagine South America would be like. Not much to do, but it was cool to see.

Backpacking lesson of the day: always check beforehand to make sure theres lockers or you'll be stuck carrying around 50 pounds of luggage on your back in the pouring rain for 7 hours.

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