Monaco is where the rich and famous go to party, the wealthy elite go to avoid tax and the Contikians go to try and be classy. I didn’t wear a tie this time thinking I was comparatively a little overdressed at the Moulin Rouge, just rocking out with my new slacks, black shoes and blue collared shirt. However, everyone brought their A game and looked very dapper so I could have rocked out the tie in the end.

We hop on the coach and drive across the border to the worlds second smallest country. The first thing you notice is how clean the buildings and streets are, I guess being smaller than two square kilometres and having more money than a country of that size needs, they can afford a good street cleaning service. We learnt a little about the history of the place, and how the princess of Monaco didn’t want to get married but had to because of a contract.

We headed to dinner where I ordered an asparagus entree. Now I enjoy asparagus as much as a colonoscopy but this time it was divinely delicious and I soaked up all the sauce with some fresh bread. The main, chicken, and desert, chocolate lava cake, was nice as well. We got more than we could drink of red and white wine as well as a glass of champagne.

After dinner we went to the Grand Casino in Monaco. After being to Vegas, I was expecting something similar but it was about as opposite as you can get. This was grand but not in a tacky way, quiet and sophisticated. Wanting to follow the tradition of betting on a colour on roulette, I put one hundred Euros on black. It was red. Disappointed but enjoyed the thrill, we walked around but the that was accomplished in about five minutes due to the tiny size of the place.

With still over an hour remaining, we found a table that was about 70% red. Thinking that it is about time my luck turned around, I put another one hundred on red. It was black. Colin & I started talking to some Californian girls from another Contiki tour (ultimate wingman) and he did well to hold back his torrent of coughs and croaky voice. It was time to return back to France, and we hoped on the bus.

After arriving in our hotel, Colin went straight to bed. Some of us were still pumped up from the casino and were heading out to go to a bar as we had originally planned for the night before. Needing a drink to forget my losses I too headed out, only to find out we were headed to an Irish pub. This was not the genuine French experiencing I was after so after one drink I joined a splinter group who had apparently found a French bar. Everyone followed and as we weaved through the busy night streets, we ended up at Wayne’s Bar, another non-French pub. This one however was about 40 degrees and full of sleazy guys hunting in packs.

We lasted about 3 minutes before bailing and then heading back to the Irish pub. At least it was air conditioned, had nice people and the drinks were reasonably priced. A guy and gal came on stage for some live music that were really good. I don’t know if it was the emotion in their voice or in my heart but it really made me miss people back home. Someone people left but I stayed to enjoy the music a bit longer. A few others decided to stay as well, fearing I would get lost (though I knew the streets like the back of my hand by then). I got home at about two in the morning, then went to sleep for an early start coach ride to Florence, Italy the next day.

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