I believe that one of the most overlooked aspects of travel is the ability to become anyone you chose to be during a trip.
Whether your day job is in custodial services, mechanical work, or at the other end of the spectrum from a CEO or an anthropologist, we all pretend to be someone else when we are on vacation.
Monaco gives this fantasy form.Sitting on the French Rivera or the Cote d’Azur puts you in one of the smallest countries in Europe. This is where you’ll find the beaches of Saint Tropez and Cannes where celebrities spend evenings in rooms that double as apartments with a nightly rate that starts at upwards of $800. The Monaco Grand Prix is in May, but you will find racing outfits now in almost every store emblazoned with logos from both current and past sponsors.This is the place for the wealthy to enjoy themselves with a care free attitude as either a limo or a black taxi is only a request a way. Almost every corner has a phone that has a direct line to a 24/7 operator who can arrange a Mercedes, BMW, or limo to take you to your hotel or home.Yachters, kayakers, and swim teams meet in the morning and drink wine at night. While the Opera de Monte Carlo adds a layer of complexity to the surrounding areas that feature a mall, parks, and restaurants highlighted in the top tier food magazines, most important is the casino where fantasies of getting rich or coming out a winner take hold. By the way, residents are not allowed to gamble within the country’s limits.Overseeing this small principality are the members of the House of Grimaldi who live in a castle that overlooks the city proper in a setting that looks like a layered cake with different decadent toppings on each level.
Please do not take away from this post that the city is only a play ground for those with means, no, far from it.Fantasies take shape in the form of all night parties, star gazing, and simply being silly. Yet, an old friend and I reverted to children sneaking in pizzas at a private wedding in our hotel and looking at the coast of Italy from our hotel balcony.
We pondered whether to add caviar to our meals for opulence and then later forgot our whim as soon as another appeared.Think of the topography as a croissant with the inner ring filled with beaches and the sea. The higher areas have various levels of homes, businesses, restaurants, and malls, all on curved streets that snake left to right and back around after you reach the end of one.To walk from one end of the country to the other would takes only about 40 minutes so why bother? My friend and I took every opportunity to be lazy, whether it was over dinner or conversations with locals who provided insights on what it would be like to live here.My friend scolds me for having a little too much to drink, but I wanted to try the local craft brews. We laughed as the winding stairs, which are prevalent throughout the country, lead us back to our hotel.We looked down at the Fort Antone Theatre and left the sliding doors on our patio open and allowed the Mediterranean to lull us to sleep.The next morning, we decide to pretend to be vagabonds as we looked at the Ferrari inspired children’s clothing and elaborate high heeled shoes on display in the shops in our hotel lobby.Yet after two days, out sensation told us that it was time to return to the “real world,” and so we enjoyed a final evening of walking by the parked yachts and sommeliers in training.We ate our meals and called it quits early to get enough rest to be ready for our separate treks to the airport on early flights. As I walked in the middle of the night, towards the bus stop for the airport line. I listen to the breeze coming off the sea blowing down the serpentine streets as I recalled Edith Pilaf and made note to come back whenever I could.Not everyone who comes to Monaco is independently wealthy, but the charm of the country is the feeling of the wealth we get from just being there.