A sharp curve….
Day 124/138 2022/2023 Viking Neptune World Cruise. Monte Carlo, Monaco.
Day 125/138 At sea.
Our sail in to Monte Carlo.
There is something so exotic about sailing into Monte Carlo. We’ve been here before, but never sailed into to Monte Carlo before. Richard has worked in Monte Carlo twice before. When last we arrived in 2015, we came by train from Nice, where we were staying with our good friends Doug and Heather, before we embarked on a river cruise on the Rhone with Uniworld.
The Monte Carlo Yacht Show just happened to be on at the time as we were here in September. Everyone was having their new yachts delivered and we were in awe of all of the amazing looking yachts, each one bigger, better and more extravagant than the next yacht. We were looking to see who had helicopter pads on their yachts, who had jet boat launches, and their own private plunge pools. It was kind of fun to be on the outside, looking in, and watching all of the glamorous people walking by all dressed up, who were in Monte Carlo to see and be seen! I was not a photographer at the time, so my photos looking back on them, are not that good, but the photos above give you an idea of how many yachts were in the harbour.
Oh dear…my yacht needs a bit of paint on its hull!
The Neptune docked in Monte Carlo among all of the other lovely ships in the harbour.
We docked at 10am and Richard was waiting to get off the ship to try to arrange transportation for us to get to the golf club. He was hoping to find a taxi office, but instead, all he found was a taxi phone on the wall of the cruise terminal building. Richard called to try and reserve a taxi for us, but he was told that if he came down to the phone and called for a taxi, the taxi would arrive within 5-10 minutes. After finding out how to get a taxi to the pier in Monte Carlo, Richard came back to the ship and called Dave, the Ozzie and Steve, the Brit, to let them know the game plan for our day of golf.
Waiting on the pier for our taxi.
Richard is on the phone to the taxi company because the game plan was not working! We left the ship and called the taxi company and after 15 minutes, 30 minutes and 45 minutes, we were still waiting for the taxi to come and get us.
Finally, after about a 50 minute wait for the taxi, the driver showed up with a station wagon rather than a van, as we had requested.
Our driver was a golfer, and he had just played golf in France the day before with a buddy. He said that the golf course we were going to was very private, and very exclusive. Who knew?
Monte Carlo Golf Club. It looks like the building needs a coat of paint, but maybe that’s just ‘boho chic’?
Colourful narcissus, jonquils and daffodils surrounded the sign for the Monte-Carlo Golf Club.
The golf club sits at about 900 meters or 2,980 feet above sea level. With 9 holes overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and 9 holes overlooking the Alps, what wasn’t to love about this mountain golf course? The golf club was designed in 1911 by Willie Park, Jr. and the course meanders along the lower slopes of Mont Agel. The course has some really interesting routing, elevation changes, natural hazards uneven lies and wonderful views. The narrow fairways are challenging and demand accuracy (oh oh Richard!).
Willie Park Jr. built some significant golf courses in North America including Weston Golf and Country Club where Arnold Palmer had his first professional victory; the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (near where Richard is from); Club Laval-sur-le-Lac, in Laval (Montreal) Quebec, Canada; Olympia Fields near Chicago is probably his most famous golf course in the U.S.A.
Well knowing we were playing such a storied golf club, we couldn’t wait to start playing! But first we had planned for lunch on the patio at the golf club.
The menu of the day was posted outside the front door of the golf club. I think that is pretty good marketing actually, especially if your in the mood for duck with duck fat potatoes, which was the special of the day!
I love white table cloths and linens and having a golf course meal with a proper table setting in France (the golf course is in La Turbie, France, not Monaco, despite being called Monte-Carlo Golf Club) made it all the more special! The women at the next table were having the palest French rosé wine with their lunch. I didn’t dare have rosé before golfing…but save that thought!
My ham and cheese omelette, which was delicious at 20 euros.
My omelette came with a green side salad with wonderful oil and vinegar tarragon mustard dressing. So very French!
Richard had a 24 euro club sandwich with frites. The bacon on his club was ‘Canadian’ bacon or back bacon, not rashers of bacon. Wow! Such good food and we still have to golf!
The pro shop in only French fashion, closed for lunch between 12 noon and 1pm, so I thought I would go and check out the pro shop after lunch. Our tee time was not until 2pm because our back on board time was 10pm tonight, giving us a full 12 hours in Monte Carlo today.
The pro shop at Monte-Carlo Golf Club was independent of the club. We paid our green fees and cart fees inside the front door of the club at a little office instead of paying our green fees at the pro shop. I went into the pro shop looking for a souvenir from the club and I saw a very beautiful cashmere beanie hat which had the club logo on it. It was a beautiful shade of baby pink. I look at the price though and at 235 euros for a cashmere beanie cap, I left it to sit on the shelf for someone else to purchase. I did buy a golf towel for Margaret (25 euros) and a ball marker hat clip for me (30 euros). Crazy expensive pricing!
The temperature was about 62F today so it was pleasant, but not really sleeveless golf shirt weather!
The back of the clubhouse leading to the first tee.
We were up very high overlooking Monte Carlo at this golf course.
The first hole. A par 4, 453 yard from the white tees (back tees) and 420 yards from the blue tees. I think there must have been a scorecard for the yellow (Richard, Dave and Steve were playing yellows) and red tees (my tees), but we never did get that scorecard. Since I have a laser, it doesn’t really matter what the scorecard says, because I can always laser the distance to the pin.
Heading down the first fairway and yes those are mountains in the background! The golf course is on Mont Agel and Prince Rainer III of Monaco had purchased a summer family residence higher up on Mont Agel.
Steve looking for his ball over the cliff, on the par 4, 4th hole.
The par 4, 400 yard 4th hole is a ‘holy crap’ moment off the elevated tee, because the fairway splits on either side of a tree island In the middle of the fairway. I made bogey.
The 5th hole. A par 3. The hole was the only one across across the road from the golf club, and was on the side of the mountain. Going left off the tee was not an option!
Look at the mist rolling in as we are playing!
Birdie putt. The greens were tricky and I struggled to make putts which cost me in my score today.
I was able to take off my jacket and sweater for one hole today, but as soon as we got back into the golf cart, the wind was a bit nippy and I was too cold to continue without layers on.
Par 4, 17th hole. A rolling downhill hole.
Inside the dining room of the Monte-Carlo Golf Club.
And we did just that!
We chose to have drinks in the bar area of Monte-Carlo golf club after our round. We had the club call us a taxi, but since we were so far up the mountain, the taxi was going to take about 30 minutes to come.
A wonderful glass of French rosé wine from Provence! I normally do not drink alcohol after a round, but since I was in France, and I’ve missed really good French rosé since being on the Neptune. The rosé wines onboard are definitely not up to the standard I would consider decent for even a ‘daily drinker’ wine that I would drink at home. The boys had some local beers for their post round libation.
Our taxi showed up as we were relaxing over our drinks. The taxi driver was from nearby Eze, France. Taxi drivers from France were allowed to pick us up, but not taxi drivers from Monte Carlo, so the cost of the taxi was extremely high at 85 euros to return to the ship.
The sharp curve where Princess Grace (actress Grace Kelly) of Monaco lost control of her car and flipped over the guardrail and down the mountain, killing her and injuring her teenage daughter Stephanie. Princess Grace suffered a cerebral hemorrhage while driving a 1971 Rover P6 3500. Prince Rainier never remarried. Their son Albert II is now the Prince of Monaco reigning since 2005, when Prince Rainier, his father died.
Which way should we go?
We arrived back at the Neptune just before 7pm and after finally getting the security screening process going on the pier, we dropped our golf clubs in our cabin and headed up to the World Cafe for some dinner.
A panoramic shot of the harbour from the back of the Neptune at dinner time.
What a great day we had golfing in France at the Monte-Carlo Golf Club! A nice old golf course up on the mountain with amazing views, which was fabulous! We were very lucky to be able to get a tee time, thanks to DP World Tour #16 on the money list, Julien Brun of France. A few years ago when Julien was playing on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada, we billeted Julien when he was playing a McKenzie Tour tournament at Cherry Hill Golf Club in Fort Erie, where we live. Richard has stayed in touch with Julien and when we were trying to find our next place to golf he remembered that Julien being from France, probably had some suggestions for us. Julien is friends with the General Manager of Monte-Carlo Golf Club, who he arranged the tee time with for us today. We wish Julien every success for the rest of the season on the DP World Tour and thank him very much for helping us with our tee time today!
Day 125/138 A Sea Day.
I started my day with a visit to Pedro, the osteopath onboard. Thank goodness he is so very skilled at what he does. I have really appreciated being able to see him during our time on the World Cruise.
After having breakfast on the balcony, I worked on researching some things to see and do in Barcelona tomorrow, since our tour with Viking cannot take us into the Sagrada, because it is closed for a private function.
Trivia was cancelled today because Assistant Cruise Director Michael was preparing for his upcoming performance this evening, so we met up with Gene and Margaret anyway for lunch in the World Cafe.
In Art Class we painted Spanish dancers and I worked on my painting on the balcony of our cabin after class. I’m not happy with the faces but the rest of the painting is coming along.
Viking put on a Wine and Cheese party on the Neptune on Deck 7 Pool Deck from 5-8pm so we met up with Donna and Bill, Gene and Margaret at 6pm for some wine and appetizers before going to the World Cafe for dinner.
We had a very bad night at Bruce’s Brain Buster’s this evening not even breaking 10 out of 21. Oh well, tomorrow is another day!
We dock at 7am in Barcelona and the weather could be a bit ‘iffy’ in the afternoon. I’m looking forward to visiting this amazing city once again, and only wish the Sagrada was open so Richard could finally see inside! Our back on board time is 5pm so we will not get much time in Barcelona, but there is a Metro, which we plan to take, which should speed up getting around in this big city.