Pisa to Nice to Monaco

September 22, 2015 - 8:50 am No Comments

At Rome’s Termini station, we got on our Trenitalia (rhymes with “genitalia”) train and chilled out for 4 hours. We all got to know each other a bit, and Nader pulled out his Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey to loosen things up a bit. My iPhone playlist was judged to be weird but good. Except by Maddy, who made some snarky comment about it but later quietly sung along with one of the songs. Outside, we were treated to the Italian countryside with the occasional glimpse of the Mediterranean.

Pisa is a charming little town with the the leaning tower, of course, as the main attraction. After quick pizza lunch, we walked over to the famous tower.

Sausage and Pesto Pizza

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Me at the Leaning Tower of Pisa

We wandered around for a bit before getting back on the train and heading up to the small town of Rapallo, our stop for the night. Now we were further north, and the air was cool and dry and refreshing. We had a decent seafood dinner and made it a relatively early night.

Rapallo at Night

The next morning, we woke up at dawn’s crack to catch our train to Nice. Nader and I borrowed Maddy’s souvenir Switzerland cards got a few people into a little poker and blackjack in preparation for our night at the Monte Carlo casino in Monaco.

Blackjack on the Train

After hopping off the train in Nice, we dumped our bags at the hostel and took a quick stroll around town. Nice a pretty big beach town swarming with tourists. The beach itself is made of smooth, round rocks instead of sand. Not sure how that’s comfortable to lay on, but it didn’t stop anyone.

Beach at Nice

From Nice, we took a quick train into Monaco and snuck into the marina to look at the fancy yachts of Europe’s elite.

Gare de Monaco

Hamann Lamborghini

Fancy Yachts

Me in Monaco

The Monte Carlo casino is impressively lit from the outside, but inside, it’s tiny. After seeing it in the movie Casino Royale, I expected it to be like a Vegas-sized palace inside, but it really wasn’t much more than a single, medium-sized room that was quiet and mostly empty. The blackjack table beckoned. The table stakes were much higher than I’m normally comfortable playing, but Nader convinced me to sit down with him. I did pretty well with a few quick wins, but Nader… didn’t do so well.

Monte Carlo Casino

Then back to Nice for the night. A few of us took a stroll down the beach in search of a drink. On the beach, the waves receding from the rocky beach make the most wonderful sound. Inexplicably, Nice becomes a ghost town at night. All the bars and restaurants were boarded up and all the streets were silent. Where does everyone go at night?

Today is my birthday! After telling her yesterday that my mother used to make it, Jenny-Anne (one of the DC girls) bought me a little mille-feuille as a birthday present. How nice. 🙂

We’re now on the train from Nice to Barcelona. Some of us are, at least. Nader and one of the other girls disappeared as they were looking for some coffee and missed the train. Fredy, our leader, stayed behind with them in Nice. Hopefully, they can catch up with the rest us en route.

This train is clearly from the 1950’s, with bubbly design accents and teal accordion curtains. The way the seats are numbered makes no sense, but you can’t blame the 1950’s for that, you can blame the French. Tim just offered me some of his cheeseburger chips. Amazing. I taste mustard, ketchup, and a hint of cheese. And Audrey has just offered me a plastic cup of red wine. A great birthday so far. 🙂

Cheeseburger Potato Chips

We should get into Barcelona with just enough time to find a birthday sangria somewhere. I’ll be in Barcelona for a couple of days.

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