Tag Archives: travel experience

Monaco’s open-air art

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What I love about discovering Monaco is that it offers more than meets the eye. The art on street and in public spaces is not scarce in a place of exclusivity. I also love the art in the open on trips with my kid, when patience to visit museums is at its low. And you can continue to enjoy that ice-cream 🙂

Here is a selection of only a few art items on display in Monaco:

Sky mirror, by Anish Kapoor, a British artist

The sculpture “bring” the heaven on earth due to its special lenses. It was a gift by Lily Safra to the Principality. You can find it in front of Monte Carlo Casino.

Adam and Eve, by Fernando Botero, Columbian artist

Botero is known for mixing harmoniously naive primitivism, grotesque, kitch, folklore, Italian renaissance and colonial Barocco. “Adam and Eve” is a 900 kg, 3 meters high sculpture, placed behind the Casino.

Woman smoking a cigarette is another of Botero’s sculptures you can find in The Roses Garden of Fontveille.

Woman snake, by Mateo Mormar, Croatian artist

Mormar is a world renown sculpture who lives and Monaco. This sculpture depicts harmony between humans and animals through difference (mind the contrast of lines). The sculpture was created in 2010 and it took 2 years of work.

Hexa Grace, by Vasarely Foundation

It symbolises the sky, sea and land and was installed on the roof of Fairmont in 1979, to delight the visitors eyes.

Last but not least of my favourites, is the Jean-Baptiste le Monégasque bronze sculpture by Rachid Khimoune, French sculptor. You can find it behind the Gremaldi forum. img_1560

 

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Merci Paris

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Merci Paris

for the blue sky and sunny weather followed by majestic sunset colours

your Marmottan Monet little wonder, an improvised and brief visit into impressionism thanks to the invitation of an art history connoisseur

coffee bathed in sunlight and served with a warm smile at Carette.

for challenging my stereotypes and opening my eyes to see beyond appearances;

for the OECD meetings and networking leading to new partners and ideas to work on;

dinner in great company at Il Conte;

and the joy of Bucuria chocolate (bucuria means joy in Romanian), sent by my dearest friend through a joint acquaintance and all the warm this gesture brought from my homeland.

Fun 10,000 meters up in the air

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Me and my kid are on a plane to Nice. “Mom, relax. You are always tense on the road”, sound advice from the youngest and wisest family member.

We take off. Up in the air.  I read. Talk to my kid. 20 minutes later: “…. Marrakesh ….. we…..if you wish….Marrakesh!” I hear  the flight attendant’s voice.

My brain is collecting the pieces: “The plane is certainly bigger then the regular internal flights. And the flight attendants are of North African origin…. And they play specific music. …. Did we take the wrong passage, walking to the plane? These small airport! Oh, No! … And I was laughing last year about a consultant who instead of a flight to Florence boarded on one to Minsk”.

Face palm. Repeat. Done with relaxing on the road.

– Sweetheart, I think we are on the wrong plane.

– It’s ok, mami. It’s ok, the kid is trying to reassure me. Her beautiful brave face.

My brain: “I have money to buy a ticket back. Are our passports ok? Do we need a visa for? ….”

I take my ticket and move to catch the flight attendant.

– I think I am in the wrong plane.

– How come?

I show them my ticket.

– It is the flight to Nice!, the flight attendant says cheerfully.

– Why did you say “Marrakech?!

– I am from Marrakesh! he smiles.

– Who cares? 10000 meters above the earth?!

I am almost replacing my words with long beep sounds. I was far from my kid, in case you wonder.

– You do not want to go to Marrakesh? he keeps on smiling.

– No! Not today. I go to Monaco today. And I do not plan to look at Monaco from the other side of the Mediterranean.

Back to my seat. “We are fine. We will land in Nice, sweetie!:)” I say fully relieved.

“Mom, I also heard “Madrid” 🙂

“Sweetie, the other flight attendant introduced herself. She is from Madrid. The guy is from Marrakesh. They add a personal touch”.

After 5 minutes we all hear the pilot: ” We will land in N I C E in 20 minutes. The weather in N I C E is …”.

Amen.

We land happily in Nice.

“Welcome to Marrakesh!” I hear the flight attendant behind me. I turn with a smile. My middle finger has a slight temptation. The lady in me wins 🙂

Dear, whoever who had the idea of saying other cities names when the plane is 10000 meters up in the air, please do not. Let’s keep it standard on this one.

Monaco for kids

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ok, ok, and accompanying adults.

The fame of Monaco as the world of rich and famous as we know or imagine it: heliports, diamonds, luxury and adults games and playgrounds.

I was on a quest of demonopolizing the adult centered view of this harbor of fun. With this in mind, we quickly found out that Monaco is generous for all ages and spirits.

When travelling with the kid, safety comes first. Security wise, Monaco is one of the safest places. The number of police officers per capita is the highest in Europe. It is one of few places where I, a hand holding mom, let my kid wander away from me.

So, for now, here are a few things to choose from for a long weekend with kids in Monaco:

1. Larvotto beach

Small in length, it manages to accommodate a playground for smaller ones and a sports ground and it still leave enough space for free play and lounges. It is also a birds feeding spot, if you are into this.

The waters of Larvotto beach are part of a maritime protected area so the water quality is monitored daily. You can swim with fish even very close to shore.

2. The gardens: Japanese, Exotic, St. Martin, Rosarea of Princess Grace and more

You can have a fun botanic open air class in any or all of them. Trees are marked and their origin explained, to explore trees from different parts of the world. For long walks, you can embark on a marked trees path throughout Monaco, to discover the most spectacular ones. It can be a new sensorial experience: touching leaves of different texture, listening to the sound of leaves playing with the wind … .

More on gardens https://www.hellomonaco.com/sightseeing/parks-gardens/the-captivating-charm-of-monaco-gardens/?fbclid=IwAR2BHy6KK4k-h_L-nHANr87FqTSfDt6WwRGMjxyfmT0rQ3o8yn9ekzCawfM

3. Oceanographic Museum and its panoramic roof

It is always a pleasure to visit it. I recommend to buy the tickets online and skip the waiting line. It is a world of oceans wonders and a platform to educate young and adults alike. This year, we felt royal to be greeted by the Prince, even if from a screen. Monaco invested traditionally in ocean research for dozens of years. It started with Prince Alberto I and the famous explorer Cousteau. This year expo is devoted to the Monaco Blue Initiative and Monaco’s commitment to ocean protection. Kids and adults can learn through touch screens about maritime protected areas, what it means to eat fish responsibly, what it takes to decide with sustainability in mind.

4. Fontvieille area museums

The small and cosy stamps and coins Museum offers a visit to the monetary and early communication history of Monaco.

The private collection of Cars of Prince H.S.H. Rainier III

We loved to walk around the carriages and cars of 100 years and more history behind. The latest sports cars, official cars of Princess Grace, cars decoration elements delighted kids and adults alike.

The Naval Museum

5. The Exotic Garden, the cave and the anthropology museum

From the Exotic Garden you can descend into a 600 meters deep cave. I would recommend the descend only to kids 8+ and with good shoes on. It can be slippery.

The anthropology museum is small and hosts a temporary expo. This year it was devoted to migration.

Thank you, Riga!

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It was amazing to experience you the second time in my life. I was ten during my first visit. The Dome looked gigantic and the streets and roofs seemed from Anderson’s stories back then.

So, thank you today, for

your sunny self and rays of sun on your walls

a gentle intro into winter,

the youth creative spirit on your probably most visited spot

amazing dinner at 3 Pavaru in good company. This place is special:

the open kitchen in the middle of the restaurant;

the coolest waiter who knows his job so well that he anticipated all my wants and needs (food-wise, if other ideas get into your minds),

a surprising entree on the house,

the finishing touches the chef magically handles right under your nose,

a blend of flavours and tastes that takes you to the world of wonders

And, most importantly, thank you for very efficient, committed and generous partners, a pleasure to work with.

Thank you Bishkek

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Thank you Bishkek

for marking the most Eastern point on my trips map so far,

a Georgian memory relived at Mimino over a fine khatchapuri and a nice glass of Georgian wine in great company,

your splendid twilight colours and sounds,

the cutest babies I saw: those cheeks and eyes!

a sense of two worlds and two time dimensions in one place at the same time,

my first bite of Kyrgyz food at Buhara restaurant,

Moldovan products on supermarket shelves. A sort of Moldovan dream on Kyrgyz land (“vis” means dream in Romanian),

a perfect ristretto by a very modest barista who shared his story of learning the trade in Moscow for seven years. My appreciation of his skill (after I saw the machine he works on) made him even more humble. People here seemed generally very humble.

a new kind the self – respect and respect for others from the professionals we interacted with,

Last but not least, a very committed team and great partners to work with!

Thank you, Bucharest, for

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reminding on my long overdue trip to Paris;IMG_0696
promising new business connections and excellent professional networking;
keeping your churches and prayer places unfenced;
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a certain orderly chaos;
your unexplained love of billboards;
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very talkative taxi drivers, each with a life story to tell;
accommodating street artists need to express through graffiti;
welcoming my co-nationals businesses @Tucano coffee; Cristina Maxim; La Placinte;
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letting your children practice sports on main squares;
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a books’ sanctuary called ‘Carturesti’;
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keeping your surroundings colourful.
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And if I may, a request from the bottom of my heart – please do not let your homeless kids sleep on streets. It’s downheartening.