27 August 2015 Thursday
28.08.2015 32 °C
Today was another hot sunny day, reaching 30 C.
Departed the hotel at 8:00am to get to Pisa by 9:00am and beat the crowds, including the cruise ships that generally get their passengers there by mid morning. Our coach parked in the coach parking lot, where we caught a road train (novelty train tractor and carriages) which moves coach passengers the 5 minute drive to the Leaning Tower site. We were immediately accosted by Africans selling fake designer watches and other souvenirs. Then had to negotiate a lane of souvenir stands before getting to the entrance gate. We only had 45 minutes at Pisa, but I got some good photos, and had my photo taken holding up the tower.
After lunch, we stopped at the Fragonard Perfume factory and store for a 45 minute tour and sales experience. We then drove on to Nice, with a detour to look down on Monaco and the Cote D'Azure, which are beautiful. However, difficult to photograph from a moving bus, and we had a deadline to reach Nice at a certain tme. Tour coaches in Europe are strongly regulated, with onboard computers recording times, distances and breaks. The computer even calculates how long the driver needs to stop for before resuming the next leg of the drive. Arrived at our hotel in Nice at 4:40pm, and had an hour to freshen up and change before taking an optional Monaco tour and dinner.
Monaco is not a large area, and land is expensive. As a result, there is a large underground road complex and parking areas for car and coaches. We saw the cathedral and had a quick look at Grace Kelly’s grave in the church (her Latin name appears on the grave). Then saw the palace, before having dinner at a local Monaco restaurant, which has been used by Prince Albert and his wife. After dinner, we drove to the casinos. The Monte Carlo casino is beautiful, and we had a quick look in the foyer, which is stunning. However, to get into the gaming rooms, you either need to be a yearly ticket holder (Euro25K per annum) or you can buy a day pass, or for Euro10-, you can buy a 1 hour pass to enter the rooms and watch. We moved to the public casino, which is electronic gaming machines, and free. We only had an hour at the Casino’s but I did have a win on the pokies. I beat the casino in Monaco!
I didn't have my camera with me for the casino visit, but the cars out the front of the Monte Carlo Casino included a lot of Bentleys, Rolls Royce, Masserati, and Ferrari.
During the drive, we saw Elton John and Sophia Lorens homes.
Returned to our hotel at 9:30am. Tomorrow is a free day in Nice, but I have signed up for 2 optional tours.