Day 7 – Saturday 23rd May

Day 7: Monte carlo (Monaco)

A few hundred miles north east of where we are right now on the French Riviera lies the world’s second smallest country – Monaco. Known for being a tax haven for the rich and famous, Alex ponders whether to move his piles of cash from under his mattress to a Monaco bank account.

Prior to the trip I had researched train times departing Juan Les Pins to Monaco and discovered that a simple 45 minute journey was all that was separating us. It would be a nice change for somebody else to be driving us around!

We vacate our hotel room and head down to the underground garage underneath the hotel. We pack our belongings into the cars for (hopefully) safe storage whilst we venture into Monaco for the day. This was because we were actually departing France this evening on return from our long day out.

The boys and I are happy to report that its a glorious sun drenched morning when we reach the dilapidated train station of Juan Les Pins. The operator confirms that the train is running on time which is quite important as we have a small event to catch in only a couple of hours time from now.

We board, relax, gaze, admire, chat, snooze and then depart the train. We’re now in Monaco.

That train journey was the last bit of normality we would see for the rest of the day…

We take a tour up to the castle and then get to admire that famous view of Monaco that we were now seeing with our own eyes, not through the television. Not before we get a quick picture of one of the guards on duty

Monaco was certainly beautiful. Evidently abundantly wealthy but equally spectacular – well from up high anyway.

During our decent back down to sea level, the ambient noise became louder and louder.

Earlier I may have said a “small” event. Well, that’s a bit of an understatement. This picture may begin to explain the “noise” I was on about earlier…

Yes folks, we have tickets for the qualifying session for the Monaco GP 2009 and that’s the pit lane you’re looking at!
Check our the view from our stand which was in front of the swimming pool for those that can picture the circuit.

The “noise” I referred to earlier was the sound of GP2 cars hooning around the track (which is actually a street circuit). This noise was minimal compared to the noise of the actual F1 cars we would hear in a couple of hours time.

If you’re wondering why we have no actual pics of the F1 cars, well, rather annoyingly during the actual qualifying all our digital cameras decide to die from lack of battery power :-( Seriously!

As for the F1 experience and being literally 10 metres away from the cars, well, truly indescribable. We even saw emotion from the face of the ‘Stone of Main’ (Alex) that we haven’t seen in years. He is overwhelmed and unable to hide how he’s feeling and that goes for the rest of us too. We later concur that our superb choice of stand seriously enhanced our already amazing experience.

We did arrive back safe and sound to the hotel by early evening but then set straight out from the hotel garage, desintation Italy. We headed up the Italian Riviera although it was getting dark now so not many sights were visible. Besides, we were shattered.

We rock up at a random hotel in Savona, Italy. It has a very ancient feel to it so we decide to get our heads down on the creaky, unconfortable beds and prepare to set off for yet another hopefully epic day ahead.

Tomorrow’s event that we have planned is set to rival today’s F1 Monaco experience.
Well, nearly…