Friday we went to Monaco. It was Friday, wasn’t it? We visited the aquarium at Monaco, this time without Perry. We got a little bit lost on the way; not really lost – we just missed our bus stop – but overall, the trip was a success. We arrived just before 2pm and decided not to look for a lunch spot but instead had sandwiches on a bench outside the aquarium entrance.
The aquarium was wonderful; sublime and peaceful, meditative in feeling. I have developed a taste for aquariums.
These days one is struck by the lengths to which the curators go to inform us about the watery world, its inhabitants and the dangers we impose upon them with our pollution and over-fishing. The Prince of Monaco, much like Charles in England, has taken the role as Nature’s Ambassador. I can’t help but think that in some ways royals must see themselves as part of Nature and thereby a threatened species like the ones they are trying to protect. But that’s me!
THE MUSEUM – The Royal Wedding and ‘Oceanomania’
This visit, the museum was dominated by two exhibits; one in its ‘foyer’ called ‘Oceanomania: Souveniers of Mysterious Seas From the Exhibition to the Aquarium’ by Mark Dion and the other was The (other) Royal Wedding.
The royal wedding was, as you would expect – a collection of the ingredients that go into such an affair; The Gown, his suit, the silverware and crockery; gifts they received from all over the world, etc.
‘Oceanomania’, on the other hand, was an attempt to ‘breathe life into this beautiful encounter between Art and Science’. It was an interesting exhibit and there was, for me, a thread of ‘Jules Verne’ woven into the fabric of the piece.
It also served to remind me of the methodology of 18th and 19th century science – explore and collect; a ‘souvenir’ hunt, of sorts. Very different from science nowadays, IMHO.
THE RETURN TO THE CITY
We ambled through the green space surrounding the museum high above the Port, looking at the scenery and taking photographs.
After some time, we made our way to the bus stop where we boarded our bus back to Nice. As the bus was rather crowded, we didn’t get to sit together for the first half of the journey – at least we were sitting, there were those who were not as lucky as we were…
Back in the city, we we had a couple of beers in Garabaldi before deciding what to do for dinner. We had never had the pleasure of eating dinner at the Grand Cafe du Turin and this evening seemed the perfect opportunity. In fact, the cafe had been renovated since we last spent time in Nice and the tables for dining al fresco now spilled out into the street on all sides. With the lights and glasses on the tables and the hustle and bustle of families and friends enjoying fresh seafood in the Place, the decision to join in the fray was all too simple to make. Steve had a dozen no. 1 oysters and I was unable to resist getting a platter of ‘everything’ so mine consisted of oysters, clams, winkles, whelks and brown shrimps. As is always the case, it was far too generous a portion for me to finish! To our delight, although the Cafe was packed with diners, we were very attentively and well-looked after by our waiter. We shared a bottle of ice-cold Sancerre from which we drank seemingly endlessly – from even smaller glasses than the little ones I’d bought at Monoprix the day before. It was an excellent, indulgent and memorable meal!