Many countries at the moment are faced with debt that would make most humans want to curl into the fetal position for the rest of eternity. However, the irony of this time is while money is tight, people will still go on spending it on alcohol, frivolous items and even on chance.
Don’t mistake my word choice as scolding, though. My closet full of shoes, in which every pair is a necessity, would label me hypocritical if I frowned upon frivolous spending. I believe treating yourself every once in a while is cathartic. So, I went crazy in my daydreams this week and began to reminisce about a trip my family and I took seven years ago to Monaco. Oh the glitz, the glamour, the royalty and the yachts.
The Principality of Monaco, which borders the French Riviera and is only kilometers from Italy, is ruled by a constitutional monarchy under the same family, the Grimaldi family, that has ruled for 700 years. It is a popular vacation spot for many of the world’s wealthy, but is also still quite a sight for anyone who has the opportunity to walk along its streets.
For the history lovers, the Prince’s Palace high up on the sheer rocks shows eras of history from 1215 when it was constructed to modern times. It has the intimidation of a powerful fortress on the outside, but the inside contains 15th century frescoes (paintings on fresh plaster), a Renaissance fireplace, the 17th century Palatine Chapel and a Louis XVyellow and gold lounge.
Monaco’s lavish history even includes the fairytale story every girl wishes for in her life. I still remember walking through the St. Nicholas Cathedral in Monte Carlo and seeing the burial site of the actress Grace Kelly. Kelly was an American actress well known for her astonishing beauty when she met Prince Rainier III of Monaco at the 1955 Cannes Film Festival. Giving up her brilliant acting career, Kelly married and became the princess of Monaco. She saved Monaco from losing its independence by continuing the Grimaldi line.
You’ll have to excuse my momentary history ramble. I often wish I could fall into an H.G. Wells novel and explore the past while in it, but alas I was meant to live in world where some women wear pants and some men wear skirts.
Modern Monaco is famously known for its Monte Carlo district, the setting for a suave James Bond film. The deep-pocketed community of the world comes to play in the casino, arriving on their custom yachts that are worth millions. The yachts were my favorite sight to see when walking along the pier, especially the ones that opened in the back to reveal twin speedboats.
Those who have a need for speed can do like Robert Downey Jr. and spend a day watching the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix racing through the small city streets on the Circuit de Monaco. Although now that I think about it, in "Iron Man 2" Downey decided to race, not watch. I wouldn’t suggest that for tourists, but far be it for me to stop the thrill seekers.
Though money may be a bit tight at the moment, never forget that we can always dream. Monaco is just one possibility on a globe full of adventures. Besides, if James Bond can do it, why can’t we?