It was time to say bonjour (hello in French) to Monaco, the world’s second smallest country! Vatican City is the smallest country – I had written about it earlier.
Monaco is made up of mere 490 acres of land, but it’s inhabited by around 36,000 people, thus making it the most densely populated country in the world!
As we entered the country, we were met by the cacophony of screaming engines and racing sound. Well, the Historic Grand Prix of Monaco was being held in Monte Carlo. We decided to watch it live! We were at the ticket counter ready to buy tickets when a couple approached us and offered us theirs. They said they had purchased the tickets not knowing that they were entitled to watch the race for free. They looked like diplomats. We offered to pay for the tickets, they refused to accept. Yeah, lucky we were! 🙂
We gained entry into the spectators’ area. We sat and watched the race for a couple of hours notwithstanding the blazing sunshine. A friend from Nice had joined us. The race cars belonging to different constructors zoomed off in front of us with striking sound and at lightening speed. The drivers were professionals showcasing a wide range of cars from the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s.
Interestingly, Monaco is the only country in the world that hosts a F1 race within the streets of a city! No wonder the racetrack is narrow, curvy and the circuit area is comparatively the shortest. It was on the same track that one of the doyens of F1, Michael Schumacher had won the Monaco Grand Prix race five times between 1994 and 2001.
Later we walked uphill and reached a modern railway station, Gare de Monaco. As we continued walking along the lanes of the city, we realized it was another hep place with attractive skyscrapers, flashy cars and stylish people. We were told many film stars maintained a holiday home there. Why not? Besides the natural beauty of the French Riviera and the frills it offers, there’s also a glitzy casino a la Las Vegas. We spent a few minutes at this famous Monte Carlo Casino observing the interiors and gamblers. (Yes, we chose to merely observe.)
Apparently, Monaco has the lowest poverty level and the most expensive real estate market in the world. A mighty little country indeed!