In half an hour, a little train - very similar to the ones found in recreational parks - will take you through the length and breadth of the country, showing you the landmarks and giving you a concise history. That, my friends, is Monaco. It is also the second smallest country of the world; first being Vatican. Though Monaco is not blessed with space, it is blessed with the nearness to the sea. The entire country looks like it is built on top of rocky cliffs. Tourist buses and cruise ships brings in the visitors by hoards.

Rich blue sea and pleasant climate might be some of the reasons for the influx of tourists. The other attraction are Monte Carlo casino and F1 racing circuit. Monte Carlo casino is a subdued affair when compared to the flashy strip in Las Vegas. You will not see James Bond in an Ashton-Martin over here. But you will see a bunch of costly cars on the streets. F1 is an yearly affair. The racetrack is made in 6 weeks (and dismantled in 3 weeks). The racetrack is built very close to harbor for yachts. Walking through this area makes you wonder how F1 racetrack can be built in such a narrow space with high safety measures.

How the country is built forms the most amazing factor for me. As soon as the bus entered Monaco, I noticed high-rises. There was construction in progress at some places giving birth to more high-rises among high-rises. As I mentioned earlier, there is not much space to built buildings. So they have to build high-rises. But their land is made up of rocky cliffs. Both the above factors contribute to engineering challenges. The end result is something you have not seen before. Imagine a Brazilian favela. Instead of the optical illusion of small building stacked upon another, it is rich high-rises stacked upon another. Combined with rich blue sea, it is a breathtaking visual. Whatever the country has to offer pales before this.

L'Eglise Ste Devote is the church dedicated to the patron saint of Monaco. It rests on a quiet corner of the bay marked as the port. It is a small church with a bridge over it for passing traffic. The bridge is so close to the crucifix on top of the church. For a country like this, imagine bringing the zoning rules; no bars within certain feet etc.

The palace is a subdued phenomenon when you compare with the excesses of Europe; at least from the outside. There was construction work in progress when I visited. What struck me was the relaxed security around this area.

The cathedral in the area contains the remains of Princess Grace Kelly. In case you are wondering, she is the favorite blonde of Alfred Hitchcock and acted in some of his very successful movies until she decided to quit acting to become the princess.

That is a country in a nutshell.



  1. Beautiful place, and beautifully described. The small pictures look not so good, but when clicked and enlarged they are very clear and very good. Can you tell me why?

  2. @Rama - Thanks. I was blogging using my iPhone. The blog software offers this feature. (I guess it is for easier loading of the page).

  3. So live blogging too. Thats cool.

  4. @Dominic - :) Blogging from mobile. That is more effective during travel. Otherwise, I forget to write and soon overcome by laziness.


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