Ever wake up craving a city? A location? A place? I woke up "needing" Monaco this morning. The striped awnings, the arched doorways, the luxury homes & hotels built right into the cliffs, the yachts in their slips, the exotic cars gleaming in the sun, the waitstaff in their quiet calm urgency.
We've been to Monaco on our honeymoon, but our time was so rushed that I feel I only got a taste of it. We arrived during the day by train and enjoyed a brief walk around the principality. We found a great little place off the beaten path to eat a fantastic dinner. A small place filled with locals who seemed curious as to how we found their secret spot. And then it was time to rush back to the train station. Like Cinderella, we had to leave the ball before the clock struck midnight.
I can still feel the vibe and the air of that place. It was magical and was one of those spots that seems to hide its secrets from you. Although "touristy" you can tell that Monaco has very distinct public and private sides.
Monaco, you see, is much like a well-dressed woman in oversized sunglasses. She might be on display for all to see but is simultaneously shrouded in mystery. She only allows you to see what she wants you to see and keeps the rest - the best - to herself. Exposed but meticulously managed. I always felt that Monaco was looking at me with a wry smile and keeper her best secrets hidden far from sight. Guarded. Untouchable. Impenetrable. Seemingly inaccessible. Unless, of course, you earn her trust and she wants to reveal her true self to you.
This is why slow travel is so worthwhile. Given the time to really enjoy a place and immerse yourself, you can begin to lift the veil on its mystery. Monaco one of the top places on my list to revisit and we're hoping to go next spring. I'm not sure we'll end up having quite that much time there, but I do expect to more fully embrace the experience next time... and maybe uncover her secrets.
What city or place calls to you?