Three Countries in Two Days

This last weekend was my first weekend in Nice, and I made the most of it!!

On Saturday morning, two friends and I went to Monaco, a small, rich country about 8 miles from Nice.  It was a 20 minute train ride and because I have my 12-25 year old discount card, it only cost me 3.60!  It cost my friends 7.20 each because they didn’t have the card.

We packed a picnic lunch, since everything in Monaco is super expensive, and we just walked around, enjoyed the beautiful weather (75-80 degrees and sunny), and took pictures.

We saw the palace where the prince and princess of Monaco live…

The front of the palace where tour groups were leaving from. We decided against paying for a tour.

This soldier basically just walked back and forth the whole time…

A less impressive view of the castle.

We went to a little zoo with a super random assortment of animals…

A little singe (monkey)

One of the many snakes there. Buhh. There were also a lot of big hairy spiders but I didn’t take any photos of them.



This bird was super cool looking.

Another cute lil monkey. They were so energetic!

Quizzical toucan. “What you looking at?” “Oh, nothing, Zazu!”

They were in time out.

Beautifully colored parrot. It was hard to get my camera to focus on the bird and not the bars!


There are 3 crocodiles in this photo. Can you see them all?

Scary. It did not move the whole time I was looking at it.

A real life jackalope!! Just kidding, this weird little animal is called a mara.


A huge rodent called a capybara.


Wallaby! WANT!

A guinea pig colony… it was kinda creepy…


A huge gross scary turkey.

Ducks, I think?

Some form of goose, maybe?


I don’t even know what this thing was. Another turkey?

Cute goat friend!

I don’t remember what this thing was called. It was hard because they had the Latin or whatever name and the French name, but no English name!

Baby turtles!!

A STUNNING parrot.

We saw a lot of cool scenery…

Overlooking the city.

Wealth just oozes from every pore.

It was Illinois State’s Homecoming that day. Of course I was sad to not be hanging out with my friends, but honestly, how could I be too upset??

This is Anne, who grew up in Mt. Prospect, just a few miles away from where I lived in Schaumburg all summer!!

Anne and Sam. Bein’ artsy and using a cool setting on my camera.

Representing ISU from thousands of miles away!!

We also walked up to the casino, which is apparently how the town/country makes all its money.  I guess no one in Monaco pays income tax because all the profits from the casino cover it.

It looked like a church. As Anne called it, “The church of money.”

The type of cars around the whole town were ridiculous, but they were especially bad around the casino. I don’t really know cars and I can’t remember really but I think this was a Bentley and… I don’t remember. Someone help me out?

As soon as I saw this, I said to Anne that it reminded me of the Cloud Gate (the Bean) in Chicago. Being from the suburbs, she knew exactly what I was talking about!!

Then we walked around the back and saw a little sign telling the name and designer– it was made by Anish Kapoor, who Anne remembered is the same guy who designed the Bean! Crazy!

Group photo!! Sam is from England and as I’ve mentioned, Anne is from the Chicago suburbs.

There were a lot of cool sculptures and fountains and things around town, especially in front of the casino.

The back of the casino.

And finally, some other random photos from the day…

This little gang of boys raced past us on their scooters. We were like, “‘The Outsiders’ of Monaco… their parents only make a paltry 2 million a year.”

There were a ton of huge cactuses everywhere!

Creepy floating baby statue outside the Oceanography Museum… we decided not to go in. We can see jellyfish and dolphins in the US and didn’t want to pay the fee.

“Help me manage my wealth… as I drive by in my Audi.”

A neato helipad.

A crazy nice Ferrari. We were pretty sure he was just driving all around Monte Carlo so tourists would take his photo.

After we had our fill of Monaco, we took the train back to Nice, where I promptly took a nap.  While we were in Monaco, I received a text from this guy Felix- his mom is Monique, one of the teachers I work with.  I had told her how I didn’t have any French friends and she said her son was about my age and that she would talk to him about inviting me to play volleyball with them sometime.  Well, he texted me and invited me to go out with him and his friends that evening!  So after I woke up I got ready and met up with them.  We went to a live jazz music bar in Vieux Nice and drank red wine all night.  Felix and I made a deal- he would speak in English, so that he could work on his English and it was easier for me to understand in the loud bar, and then I would speak back in French.  It worked great!  He and his friends were SO nice and it was great to speak French with people.

Bad quality, but the one pic I snapped at the jazz bar.

I got back kinda late that night, then stayed up late Skyping, so I slept in the following morning (Sunday).  I woke up to several texts and a missed call from Felix, inviting me to come surfing with him and his friends in Ventimille (Ventimiglia in Italian), Italy.  I debating going or not, and decided to, but I only had a few minutes to get ready before they picked me up!  The water is really cold and I don’t know how to surf, so I decided against bringing/wearing my suit, but I wish I had!  The water wasn’t too bad and the waves were small, so it would have been a good time to try surfing for the first time.  Oh well, maybe next time!!

The view from Felix’s house, where we stopped to switch from his car to this old, super rickety old VW van that would fit all 5 of us plus 3 surfboards.

The little beach where they surfed. It was nice that it was actually sand, not rocks like in Nice!!

Should have brought my darn swimsuit.

William cooking our lunch. On the way there, we stopped at this grocery store to buy food. It was JUST like Aldi back in the States, it was hilarious.

This is how French people eat at the beach. Lettuce salad with tomatoes and cheese, pizza, bread, chips, and then sausages and some sort of steak were coming yet. Oh also green onions and le Coca!!

My new French friends!

On the walk back to the car. It was so absolutely beautiful there.

Sorry this post is so long- I guess I had a lot to share and didn’t want to split it in two!  At least it’s mostly pictures 🙂

Oh and along the right side near the top is another poll- let me know what you’d be interested in hearing about!

Categories: Life in France, Travels | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Three Countries in Two Days

  1. Afton

    Surfing! Fancy cars! Zoo! Goat friend!!!! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Dad

    Thanks for posting Kelse!

  3. COOL! I’m glad you’re having so much fun :] Loved your descriptions of the animals. Real life jackalope, the mara is adorable! Aren’t you excited for what people are going to find your blog searching for now? At least you didn’t tag ‘ducklings’ or ‘baby turtles’ in this one, but who knows how they’ll find you now 😛

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