Monte Carlo, Monaco

The first stop on our Mediterranean cruise was Monaco.  Unfortunately it was raining when we arrived.  Even with the clouds, we had a fabulous view from the balcony in our room.

Monaco as seen from our ship's balcony

Lots of yachts in Monaco

We made guesses on how much that giant yacht cost.  What's your guess?  The opera house below is part of the famous Monte Carlo casino.  This is another shot I took from the balcony as we waited out the storm.

Opera de Monte Carlo

Just as we were about to get off the ship, the storm picked up and they actually closed the gangway.  That has never happened to me on a cruise before.  But as you can see below, they opened it back up and I ventured off in the rain.  Thank goodness the aquarium was selling these ponchos.  They made a killing that day!

The Happy Travel Bug in Monaco

Cruise ships have a great location when they port in Monaco.  You can walk right off the ship and up the hill to see many great things.

Where our cruise ship docked in Monaco

Our first stop was Saint Nicholas Cathedral where Princess Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier are buried.

Saint Nicholas Cathedral in Monaco

Just a few more steps and we were at  the Prince's Palace.

The Prince's Palace in Monaco

To be honest, it wasn't my favorite palace.  I did however, enjoy the statues surrounding it.  Especially when I caught a bird on her head.  It's the little things that entertain me.  :)

Statues in Monaco

The square surrounding the palace was very busy and colorful.

Palace square in Monaco

And there was a fabulous view from here.  You could even see the cruise ship and just how far we had come on foot...in the rain.

View of Monaco from the Palace

View of Monaco from the Prince's Palace

Great place to get some family shots.

The Happy Travel Bug and her husband in Monaco

As usual, I enjoyed the history of the place.  These walls and lanterns were amazing! 1533!

Historical palace walls in Monaco

You might recognize this walk and the chocolate shop below from the latest season of The Amazing Race.  I LOVE that show!  It was so cool to watch them race thru the same places I had been.

Chocolate shop in Monaco.  Seen on The Amazing Race

We walked around the tiny pedestrian only streets looking for a spoon for my collection.  The shops were mostly touristy and the workers were not the friendliest of people.  :(

The pedestrian only streets of Monaco

It finally stopped raining and we were able to walk back down to the cruise ship.  Turns out the walk is thru a beautiful park that we didn't get to enjoy on the way up.

Walking from the cruise port up the hill to the Palace in Monaco

Walking from the cruise port to the Prince's Palace in Monaco

I mean look at this view below.  This walk is completely free.  In fact, other than the rain poncho and the souvenir spoon, we didn't spend any money in Monaco.  Pretty good for one of the most expensive places there is.

View from Monaco out to sea

Of course there is so much more to see in Monaco, but we had an excursion to France that afternoon, so we had to head back to the ship.  I was really happy with what we could see just walking straight off the ship.  It was beautiful, economical and easy...even in the rain.


Dinner #1 in the Vista Dining Room

My family loves to eat!  We couldn't wait to get to the Vista dining room on the first night to pick our favorite table at the back of the ship.  Menus in hand, we were ready to go.

Dinner menu on our Holland America Mediterranean Cruise

We like to try lots of different things, so we order accordingly and share.  If someone doesn't want to share, then we just order two of that thing.  My son thinks this is the most awesome thing.  As a teenage boy, he eats more than all of us.  And being able to order as much as he wants without worry of the price thrills him.


Our Signature Suite on Holland America Cruise Line

Recently I've been sharing our time in Barcelona with these posts.  But did you know our time there was leading up to a Mediterranean Cruise with Holland America?

Our Holland America ship, the Noordam

My daughter and I spent several days pre-cruise in Barcelona, which I highly recommend.  My husband and son flew in on the day of the cruise and met us right on the ship.


How to NOT Overpack

How someone packs says a lot about them.  Do you procrastinate or pack a week in advance?  Do you shove everything in a bag not thinking about how it goes together or do you try on every outfit?  Do you look up weather where you are going?  Or do you even know where you're going?!

I am one of those organized packers that starts a week in advance.  I lay out all my ideas for outfits, and yes, I try them all on, including shoes and jewelry.  I actually make a daily schedule for trips that are longer than a week and I plan what I will be wearing each day.  I HATE to overpack!  I allow myself one miscellaneous outfit, just in case.  I get excited about finding something new to help me organize my suitcase.  My husband is the exact opposite.  This picture above describes us perfectly.  After 22 years of marriage I have finally let it go and don't worry about his methods.  

I recently bought a sheet of these from a local store.  I like to fill out the top and give them to my kids to help them pack without my help.  It is a good reminder to read through before you zip up that bag for good.  I recently watched a video on YouTube about how to not overpack from Ingrid Nilsen.  I liked the way she organized her things so I decided to share it with you.  

I want to know what kind of packer you are.  Please comment below and share.  Thanks!

This post linked to Do Tell Tuesday
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