Brad and Jennifer's European Cruise
1 - June 28th
The airport was pretty cool; we bought three bottles of wine which we heard you can bring on the ship. To use at dinner it's a $12 corkage fee. We'll probably just drink them on our own -- as soon as I find a corkscrew. I thought about buying some Cuban cigars but I brought some with me already (that I haven't used in the last six months so I figured I have plenty.)
Jen bought shoes at Bally's. She came to Europoe without black shoes for "formal nights" on the ship. I guess the emergency back-ups she bought in London yesterday were not good enough. So far, she's been the one blowing through our $200 daily budget. But that was until I lost our camera on the first day at sea. I don't know why I took it to dinner, but I did. And after dinner, I think I left it at the very first bar we stopped at. At any rate, no one turned it in to lost and found so far and it's not looking very good. Needless to say, the London pictures that were planned for this web page are not happening and I'm not sure about the prospects for photos in the immediate future either.
Losing the camera was the downer so far. The highlight was seeing My Fair Lady in London. One of the greatest musicals, it was pretty cool to see it in London. I especially liked the contemporary joke about the French "not being on our side" that one of the Brits threw in. Everyone clapped at that, including me! Jen was way jet lagged and she kept nodding off like me in church.
Day 2 - June 29th
Today we got up and went to breakfast. You had to be there by 10:00 so we went at 9:50. Then we went out and laid in the sun. We're at sea all day today. They seemed to slow way down to make this happen; we're hardly moving at all. The weather is perfect -- not a cloud in the sky, warm and sunny. The ship is amazing and the view of the deep blue water is breathtaking. I did nothing but read while Jen walked around the jogging track on the deck. I missed the exercise but I did get to see a whale and dolphins. Jennifer missed that, but she was happy because she found some hand weights to carry while she walked around in circles.
Later, I suggested that we visit the very top lay out area at the front of the ship. It's labelled "Deck 13 is reserved for topless sunbathing only." Those Europeans! I was already topless so I thought we should check it out. But we haven't yet.
Tomorrow we're going to the first day off the boat in France. I still haven't figured out what I'm going to do about a camera. If I get a disposable, the pictures will suck and I won't be able to post them. Where is Best Buy when you need it?
Day 3 - June 30th - Villefranche
Villefranche ("vill frawnsch" -- We love saying that now) is in the middle of the French Riviera. We had the choice to go East to Eze a little medieval town and then Monaco or West to Nice and Cannes. Cannes is best known as a favorite hangout of Hollywood Communists. Monaco has Monte Carlo -- one of the coolest casinos on the planet. Guess where we headed.
Jen wanted to go see Eze so that settled that. After a short train ride and a shuttle bus trip we arrived. In 15 minutes up the mountain on an air conditioned large coach, Jen was about ready to throw up. So you can imagine her rush to down Dramamine the first day. (The Dramamine has been unnecessary it turns out. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the quantities of alcohol we are consuming on board.)
Eze is an amazing little village/castle on the top of the mountain overlooking the harbor of Villefranche. We walked through all the narroe cobblestone streets in between the old rooms which are turned into little shops and very unique hotel rooms. We had lunch at the multi-star (they say 2 (out of 3) -- we'd call it 4 out of 5) restaurant with the most amazing view overlooking the Mediterranean. There were only a few, apparently mega-rich people out there with us. They are able to keep out the riff-raff by charging ... umm ... $110 for a small lunch of free (great) bread, one salad, and the fish special. My menu had prices; I didn't know that Jen's did not. Apparently, French females get different menus. When Jen suggested that I try the $75 lobster salad I was kind of surprised. But I said ok, then immediately changed my mind. $75 for a salad is just unconscionable isn't it? Actually, that's 75 Euros, so it's about 20% more than that.
Anyway, after a great, albeit overpriced lunch, we caught the bus to Monte Carlo. There, we discovered that shocking prices are the norm. After paying 20 Euros just to get in the casino we discovered it really wasn't even open yet -- just a few roulette tables, no 21 or bacarat.
Actually, first we bought a camera! Unfortunately, all the pictures from the morning in Villefranche and Eze ("ehzz") were taken with a disposable camera that we got as soon as we got off the tender (the little boat that takes you to shore from the ship docked at sea. So we won't have any of the pictures from the amazing lunch view and the old castle/village until we get them developed.
Mom will love seeing the pictures (on LeBox, below) of the cacti garden that grows at the very top. All kinds of different cacti growing like crazy.
Here is us buying the camera and Jen holding the old disposable, "LeBox" as it said on the side. We loved saying that too.
Anyway, back to the Grand Casino in Monte Carlo. We walked around to the back to see all the yachts -- what a site.
Here's the Grand Casino from the back:
And a close-up of the Adam & Eve statue in the background:
Then we went to have more wine and wait for dinner. None of the restaurants seemed to open until 7:00.
This is the picture of the entrance to the Grand Casino with a V12 BMW parked outside. The Hotel de Paris in the background is where I first checked my voicemail. We also had two (2) Diet Cokes -- only 16 Euro's, plus tip. (more than $20 (12 oz Diet Cokes, but it did include free pistachios.) Now I know why Monaco is for the rich and famous.
Statute outside the casino.
Train back to Vill Frawnsch.
From the shore. Our ship is on the right in the back.
Coming back to the boat on the tender.
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