I began my 38th year by dancing all night in a packed club in Monaco. Earlier in the week I had managed to find and book a room in a hotel in Beausoleil, which technically is in France although it is only 5 minutes walk up the hill from the huge ornate Casino in Monte Carlo. (Monaco is really tiny!) We got ourselves settled in to the room, finding out how to put together the hide-a-beds and then after a snack of bread, olives and cheese, we went out to a small and modest Portuguese restaurant. I had my favorite dish of crevettes grille and salade and we all feasted and toasted the birthday girl. Then, full and sleepy, we went back to our room for a nap in preparation for the long night ahead.
Monaco is a fairy tale place, as I have said before and this was my third time here and I continue to love it.
Monaco, visually, is an example of the beauty that lots of money can create. The buildings are beautiful and ornate, exceptionally elegant and pleasing to the eye. There are carved stone scrolls and accents, wrought iron, beautiful colours and spectacular gardens everywhere.
We got to the club at about 1am and the place was full of the usual crowd; 20-somethings- Italians, French and Monaco-ese. Lots of Italians actually, including a few older ones with the stereotypical wondering hands and the lady-killing sweet talk. Luckily the music is so loud, not much talking is to be had, and if you’re not on the dance floor, you have only moments to interact with people anyway before you get carried along in the throngs as everyone circulates like water through the expansive club. It’s loud and smoky and hot and crowded. Outside is a huge terrace, and it was here that I was told by a couple of young guys, candidly, without pretense, that absolutely no way I was 37; I was most certainly 29 at the most. Smoking is aging and many people here smoke. I noticed this is in Paris as well, where I was really surprised to see the hint of haggardness in the faces of the women. A regime of essential oils and organic food seems to work for me, although my Gramma says, you are only as old as you feel; and I really don’t feel any age in particular. I’m just happy to be alive having this beautiful adventure!
Five am comes quickly when you’re having fun, and after a bit of upset because Ana lost her bag containing passport and all her cards, I squeezed in about 2 hours sleep. A friend who lives in the town of Ventimiglia, just across the border in Italy, had a birthday plan for me so I could hardly sleep the day away!
We drove to Dolceacqua, (Sweet Water), a gorgeous classic medieval village in Italy. All stone built up upon stone, narrow little streets, all dark and layered upon itself- steep and winding up to a huge ruined citadel on the top of the hill. To access the city, you must cross the river on a curving arched stone footbridge- ancient as well and meticulous in its structure and design. All the little shops are the galleries of artists of various mediums. Again I was smitten with the amount of artists who abide in this part of the world. Art, old and new, is everywhere.
Later, after seeing the cathedral in the old city of Vingtimiglia, and being amazed by the feral cats, I caught the train home. Because it was Sunday and appropriately, the day of the Resurrection, there was a wait in Cannes, but I was home in 4 hours.
A beautiful beginning to the year- just in time for Spring with wisteria bursting along walls and gates and blossoms on a plethora of mystery fruit trees. Happy resurrection!