04.10.2016 - 08.10.2016
After arriving back from Blighty we stayed a couple of nights at the lake to do boring cleaning and washing then headed to the mountains for a route toward Monaco, Jacqui has a dress to wear! Most of the drive was through a very rural area which was harvesting a crop I couldn't fathom, penny dropped, it was rice. The harvest is later than the other cereals and they have rice festivals in November serving sausages with rice, haute cuisine!!
We stopped at a city called Cuneo which turned out to be pretty, big piazzas and arcades. We were looking for a fuse for the van and we were walking along a pavement when a cyclist caught one of my rucksack straps and crashed into the road. Thankfully she was OK but no helmet, lots of people stopped to help and we exchanged numbers to check on her.
The terrain became more interesting on the way to the campsite and colder; nice site though and more rubbish WiFi, I had to sit out in the cold to download a French map.
The drive south towards the coast was reminiscent of our first long trip in the van when we drove the other side of these foothills from France to Italy. Fantastic windy rocky roads through tunnels and slowing down all the traffic, tough! The Col de Tende, which is in France as we switched into and out again, was especially high and twisty. The Tende tunnel was built in 1882 and being made bigger for larger vehicles, so 30 minutes wait at road works, some engineering feat though then.
We had tried to get into Monaco on that first big motorhome trip but traffic stopped us so we headed for Ventimiglia on the Ligurian coast and bought rail tickets for the Saturday, on the day the train was nearly an hour late. We bought palace tickets on line only to find that Monaco was not at all crowded and in fact the whole feel of the place was very relaxed.
The palace was lovely and although it was highly decorated in server all styles, it did not overwhelm but felt intimate. Such a lot had gone on here with the Grimaldi family and France.
Jacqui was obviously so interested in the Grace Kelly story and was surprised that she was not featured more in the tour of the palace, I thought it was because she only had a short time in the principality's long history.
We also visited the Prince's personal car collection, a sign told us "this is not a museum". I am not a car nut but this collection is lovely, cars from 1890 to modern day F1. It was surprising that there weren't more people looking around but good for us. We had a great day out!
Back on an on time train and pizza for tea on our last night in Italy for a while, St Tropez tomorrow.