Tuesday, January 14, 2014

(5/)6 Micro-nations II: Cannes - Monaco - Rome

12/3 - Cannes to Monaco to Rome

This was another early bail, but my adjustment to Europe was being dictated by the travel commitments, not the other way around.  If 5 AM is when you wake up normally, you wake up normally at 5 AM -- the circadian hard reset was helping, and it had just about taken at this point.  The tolls between Cannes and the Monacan border were uniformly the old, crappy, throw exact change in the bucket kind, but at least I was getting out of France and its infernal, constant, zero-predictability peages for a while.

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082. Midnight Monaco.

083. Illuminations in the street.  (DNCO)

v05. Along the Boulevard des Moulins.

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084. Back of the parking center, which is underground from the Boulevard des Moulins and at ground level on Avenue Princesse Grace.  Nine stories drop.

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085. Stowed Bentley.  I saw another in silver here in the reserved spaces, and a black Ferrari -- of course with Monaco plates.

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086. Dawn on the Cote d'Azure.

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087. East along the terrace.

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088. Buildings from the Boulevard d'Italie.

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089. Passage from the elevator.

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090. On the Avenue Princesse Grace.

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091. More of the lightups.

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092. Statue, towards the beach.

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093. Into the sunrise.

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094. Along the beach northeast.

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095. Some ducks by the waterline.

v06. Waves crash on the breakwater.

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096. Another shot into the Med.

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097. Old-style block in the Avenue Princesse Grace.

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098. Sleeping statue.

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099. Southwestish on the beach.

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100. Hotels and foliage.

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101. More, taller.

102. To this house on the rock.  (DNCO)

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103. Monte Carlo Bay; Monaco still does grand hotels.

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104. National border post in a traffic circle at the north end of the Avenue Princesse Grace -- at least the part that's in Monaco.

v07. Waves pound the bay.

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105. Crashing breakers.

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106. The spray reaches the landing.

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107. Foam and dawn.

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108. The sun crosses the horizon.

This was at the north end of the beach, and actually past the northeastern end of Monaco, period.  It wasn't until I got back and checked a map that I realized that I had accidentally walked entirely out of the country.  Unaware at the time, I headed off southwest to try to see the Casino and the royal palace, if possible.

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109. The sun hits the Avenue Princesse Grace.

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110. Hotel and bay.

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111. A street sign catches the light.

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112. Towers and vegetation.

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113. Another view along Princesse Grace.

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114. Up to the raw mountain.

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115. Fantastic balconies in the dawn.

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116. Sculpture by the beach.

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117. Markers for the Princesse.

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118. The buildings stack into the hill.

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119. Along the walk by the beach.

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120. A notch in the build.

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121. Dancers in the median.

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122. Packed tight.  This place could hardly be more different from Macau, but the resemblance still echoes.

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123. Famous address.

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124. You know your town is rich when you have a McLaren dealership.  (Note that this link isn't to the root domain; McLaren assumes that randoms visiting them on the internet will be more interested in their F1 team than actually buying one of their products.)

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125. Better view of the sign.

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126. On top of the world.

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127. Of course, there's a Rolls dealership, too...

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128. ...and they're not necessarily out of reach!  Only in Monaco, perhaps, is there a ready supply of late-model Rolls-Royces entering the market enough to make a certified-preowned program viable.

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129. Next door, the Ferarri salon.  The first word is Italian, meaning "stable", which I didn't realize till later, reading it off a truck in Italy.  It's pretentious enough without knowing.

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130. And beyond that, Bentley.  Of course.

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131. Looking back to the northern peak.

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132. Commemorative stone by the sea.

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133. The slowest F1 car.

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134. Around the Fairmont bend to the casino.

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135. Plaque on the sidewalk.

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136. Light on the corner.

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137. More views between buildings.

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138. Now that she doesn't have to go to all those state functions, she can go back on tour.

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139. Place de Casino.

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140. Palms and Christmas trees.  The natural beauty, odd climate, and disgusting wealth here go a long way to explaining how Hollywood became so taken with this place, even before Grace Kelly married into the royal family.  This sort of surrealism is really evocative of the DeMille-style Golden Age.

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141. Not going to wait six hours for the casino to open -- and I didn't bring a tux anyway.

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142. Pony cars around here.  Immediately after this, some dude drove by in a Ford GTX-1.  No, seriously, it was a convertible conversion, not the stock GT, which in itself is super rare and stupidly expensive.  As alluded, unreal.

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143. Hills over the Place.

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144. Rear face of the Casino.

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145. Long view of the palace.

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146. ...and the rest of it.  As close as I got.

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147. Raw hills over a shopping street.

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148. Round tower and the dawn light.

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149. Port Monaco.  These are the winter-over yachts in a town with a McLaren dealership.

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150. Apartments and the southern peak.

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151. More of the marina.

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152. I'm not sure whether this Renault counts as a car or an enclosed motorcycle.  Discussions with the resident motorhead from France at work (we have this guy, ok; he moved here on a "temporary" assignment and immediately bought a Camaro) indicate that it's technically a motorcycle for licensing purposes.

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153. "Private game room" -- at the side of the Casino.  Too early to expect Bond, too late to look out for Lupin.

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154. Cabaret entrance, further down.

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155. Down to the bay.

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156. It's Monaco, of course it's real marble, all the way down the staircase.

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157. Tire marks on the curve.

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158. Seriously wtf is this even?  Wikipedia thinks it is soccer played like squash, but I'm not sure, because that would be dumb and hyperpretentious, even for Monaco.  Suggestions on a postcard.

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159. The bay in the morning light.

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160. The radiant blue sea rolls in.

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161. Another median sculpture.

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162. McLaren dealership close up, plus cameo.

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163. Old-school elevator in the garage.

164. ((not germane))

v08. Heading out of Monaco.

Climbing out of Monaco to the autoroute over the border was a real trip.  Not just on a technical do-not-run-into-walls-or-pedestrians-or-poorly-parked-scooters level, but because the satnav got itself confused, and couldn't identify which street I was on due to position error.  Not from lack of satellites, as occasionally happened in the mountains in Switzerland -- just that the streets are so closely packed that it was prone to guessing wrong.

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165. Terraces -- we're in Italy.

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166. Through the toll plaza at Sanremo.

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167. The rest of the formation.  I have shittalked northern Italy in the past, but this one rock face made me take it all back.  The pictures suck hardcore relative to live.

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168. Alps above the valley.

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169. Again, a few tunnels over.

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170. Again to those peaks.

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171. Villas on the hills.

v09. Along the coastal road, with some appropriate jamz courtesy RAI.  It's not all like this -- the first I heard from them over the border was Johnny Cash covering "Hurt".

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172. Stark slopes to the sea.

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173. Villa over the highway.

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174. Mountains across the carriageway.

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175. Church spire and high-tension wire.

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176. Coming down the mountain.  There are views like this -- and better -- literally everywhere on this route.

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177. Weathered mountain.

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178. Church in a valley town.

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179. Along the shining coast.

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180. Bridge and minicar, changing autostradi in Genoa.

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181. Alps and treeline.

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182. Ahead; snowcapped peaks kind of in the shot.

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183. Steeple and cement hauler.

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184. High mountains near Pisa.

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185. Without the truck.  There were a lot of fails like this, which I mostly deleted, but you need to leave some in for historical accuracy.

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186. Again; you can't be sure, mostly concentrating on driving, that any of these will come out.  I chucked like 15 pics from this leg for being of nothing, or parts of the car, or so poorly focused that it was obvious in the camera preview.

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187. Further mountains, soaring clouds.

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188. Alp and foliage.

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189. Farmland on the other side.

190. Vineyard, despite window damage.  (DNCO)

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191. Mountains and reflections.

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192. Ahead to an ancient tower.

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193. Renaissance castle, mostly hidden.

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194. High clouds over the afternoon.

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195. Trees along the roadside.

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196. Monastery on the summit.

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197. Villa on the peak.

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198. No!  Me am normal truck!

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199. Ridge ahead.

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200. The hotel on the outskirts of Rome.  I chose this place for train and highway access reasons, but it doesn't hurt that it's a damn castle.

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201. In the room.  This isn't original, but still.

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202. Window and ceiling.

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203. "The Chancery".  You can probably find this one on their website.

204. ((not germane))

The restaurant doesn't open for another hour, and will be nightmarishly expensive.  I'm'a go to sleep, maybe bore into the minibar snacks in the morning, and get ready to get out by 0600 -- the roads around the castle are small and crap, and I don't like the idea of dealing with oncoming traffic.

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