It’s not everyday that one is invited to a wedding and certainly not one of your best friends and on top of it in Monaco…but this weekend I was one of the lucky ones to hit the check mark on all three.
I had some time in between the festivities to walk around the city a bit and to explore these luxurious parts of the French Riviera as it was a few years since I was here the last time and 3 things really made an impression on me.
1. Cleanliness – Except for Singapore, I have never seen or been to such a clean city. You could almost lick the streets, that’s how clean they were. This is part of France and everyone knows how much the French smoke, and I did see a lot of smokers so I know for a fact that they exist in Monaco too, but as for the cigarette buds…nowhere to be found. On the first evening of the wedding bonanza we had a get-together at a bar in the harbour of Fontvielle and I would say that 90% of all the people there had at least one cigarette in their mouth at one point during the night. Out of these people at least 85% threw their cigarette on the ground but when passing by the same place during my morning walk, it was as if last night had never happened. The street looked brand new, almost as if they had put a new layer of concrete during the night after we had left.
2. Security – Police and security guards patrolling the streets 24/7 makes this city heaven to live in. I asked one of the guests at the wedding if it really is as safe as it seems and she confirmed it with a definitive yes adding that there are more policemen than inhabitants and that there are cameras everywhere watching your every move. She told me that once when walking home from a party she was stopped by the police because she was walking home alone in the middle of the night crying. They asked her what was wrong and if anything had happened to her. When she explained the situation of being something as silly as a quarrel with her best friend they asked if she wanted to talk about it. Okay…where else in the world would the police have the time to do that? One should be lucky if the police even comes to your rescue on time when dialling 911.
3. Public Transport – I have never been a fan of public transport as I suffer from claustrophobia a bit. Well that’s kind of a lie, I guess I could manage, but the truth is that I just don’t like it. After several attempts of trying to get a hold of a taxi in this town, we were advised by a lady, who gave us directions to the hotel, to take the bus. I was hesitating for more minutes than I would like to admit before I finally decided to take her advice. Firstly, you can buy tickets on the bus with the bus driver (that is not an option in Stockholm) so that already made me feel less adamant in my opinion in regards to public transport. Secondly, the bus driver was so service minded (actually all people in Monaco were…amazing thing considering it’s France were talking about) he actually took the time to explain what bus lines to take from where and told me when we had arrived at the bus stop where it was time for me to hop off…that almost made me want to cry. Finally, the thing that completely made me change my mind was the fact that Monaco gave public transport a whole new meaning. I consider myself a fashion victim and I like to dress nice, but I seriously felt like a bum sitting on that bus. That wasn’t public transport, that was Monaco fashion week on a bus. People were so well dressed it almost seemed like it was the party bus going to the wedding…except that it wasn’t…these were locals, going somewhere just like me, with just “slightly” more expensive clothes and accessories than me 😉
In regards to point number 3 I learned that in Monaco, arriving by helicopter from Nice airport, is also considered public transportation…now that’s a city that speaks my kind of language 😉
Monaco in all its glory and fascination…but it’s good to be back home in the country side where none of the 3 points are present…but it’s home and that beats everything.