The story so far: Me and my wife Denise, along with our longtime pals John and his wife Bev, are on a three week road trip to Rome in my beloved vively Volvo S80 chosen for its Tardisian ergonomic spaciousness along with its sleek lines and no need for go-faster stripes or furry dice. We have arrived in the South of France.
Our road trip continues along the French Riviera laden with wonderful scenery only ever seen before in glorious Technicolor. The luxury of a three week road trip is that with only a loose itinerary we are free to stick a communal finger on the map and choose a daily destination. Thus we found ourselves in Saint Tropez in the hope of finding some swimming trunks for John.
I parked up and snapped a great shot of the S80 basking in the Meditteranean sunshine and John returned with some marvellous Batman swimwear. Kapow!
With a minor degree of planning we had managed to pack a lunch consisting of very warm brie baguettes and warm lemonade which we retrieved from the boot of the car and enjoyed as we perched on the very edge of the Mediterranean Sea.
With the refreshments downed it was time to dazzle the tanned beachgoers with my nifty swimming and pale skin and I found myself bobbing in the warm Med where I could have happily stayed all day.
With all roads purportedly leading to Rome, we set off again this time with Monaco in our sights. After enjoying the glorious seaside terrain we arrived at Monaco and surprisingly found car parking readily available at only 50 quid an hour or part thereof…no…only joking… seriously it was no more than you’d pay in Great Yarmouth town centre although the omnipresent opulence was a tad dissimilar.
Monaco is the second smallest country in the world, after Vatican City which we are also aiming for. It’s officially a principality and has 2.4 miles (3.83 km) of coastline and is just over 1 mile (1.7 km) at its widest point. It covers an area of only 0.75 square miles (1.97 square kilometres) which is less than the area of New York’s Central Park. Around a third of its 38,000 or so inhabitants are millionaires which may have something to do with the beautiful location along with the tax laws. It is a constitutional monarchy governed by Prince Albert ΙΙ who is the son of Prince Rainier III and the American actress Grace Kelly. Monaco is not formally part of the EU so the UK will shortly be in good company then, if not so well off…
Once parked up we meandered around Monte Carlo (the district not the casino) taking in the flavour and wonderful classic retro ambience. With echoes of the movie Monte Carlo or Bust and aware that we have already driven on bits of the Monaco Grand Prix circuit we serendipitously happen upon a marvellous herd of classic cars, possibly having just finished the annual Monte Carlo or Bust rally. I thought about re-parking my S80 next to them but it really needed a wash and wax and anyway the leftover brie baguettes were less warm in the underground car park…
Everyday of this road trip has presented us with some astounding and wondrous places and marvellous memories for our treasure boxes. Each time John and I swap driving duties I am thankful for my TravelShades. Of all the travel sickness variants from sea sickness to airsickness it is undoubtedly my susceptibility to car sickness which has had the most profound limiting factor on my life. On this road trip I am constantly thankful TravelShades relieve it so well for me. Shared driving is now a luxury I enjoy.
And so after only a few hours and a peek at this playground of the rich and famous we retrieve the S80 and leave Monaco and embark on nine more miles of French Riviera before it morphs into the Italian Rivera.
Little wonder that writers and artists including Matisse, Monet, Renoir and Picasso found tranquillity and inspiration spending time on this idyllic Coast of Azure aka in French, the Côte d’Azur.
Ok then, on the road again, the scenic route, is there any other? Italy and the historic city of Pisa awaits, I believe they have a tower that had subsidence…
By Tim Flaxman
#RoadTripper, inventor, blogger and all round old dude making the moments count…