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Today is the last day of February already!  Spring is in the air!  Today was warm and very windy with visible clouds of pollen blowing out of the cypress trees and causing a great deal of agony with the allergy sufferers.

Last Sunday I went to Monaco with my Bulgarian friend and walked all over the city of Monte Carlo.  The border of the principality and the city itself are about the same.  Taxes are not collected here and one must be very rich to qualify for residency.  It is a gorgeous city.  The oldest area is perched on a rocky outcropping of land and enclosed in a curving stone wall.  This was a fortified city in its day but has an ancient history, dating back to around 300,000 BC. See this link for the full story

I had a delicious pizza, based on a crust about as thick as a crepe and just as light.  Went to the cathedral where Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier were married and are buried.  Their tombs are inside the building and we saw the covers of them, covered in flowers and candles. 

Gardens are popular in Monaco and we toured the one at the tip of the old city as well as an amazing Japanese garden below the casino.  Huge exotic cacti and succulents do well here.  It’s  amazing to be only about a 1 hour drive away from this rather exotic location.

On other fronts, I have learned a bit about extortion over the past few days from a neighbour woman who saw me as a bit of an opportunity (all’s well that ends well) and I will move into my bare little flat tomorrow.  My yoga mat will be my bed for the time being, (speaking of flat!), along with the quilt I told you about.  Getting furniture into the city will involve typical French bureaucracy.  Applications need to be made to lift the gate to my street because this technically is a traffic-free zone.  (although cars squeeze past the barrier at night regularily)  There is a special department who deals just with this particular event.  I hope it doesn’t take the usual 2-3 weeks of wait time to be approved!  We’ll see.

We are off to Nice tomorrow to get our residency permits- Carte de sejours- another possible red tape nightmare- but that’s why we are going together.  Strength in numbers. 

Life in North America is much more simple, that’s for sure!  Perhaps the culture here is so old it has begun to implode itself through complexity.  Makes for an interesting if not surreal adventure.

ciao 🙂

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