Monaco is quite a strange place. A large chunk of it looks like it was built by blind millionaire property developers in the Seventies and Eighties, (no wonder there are so many yacht owners there — clearly desperate to sail away as often as possible so they can avert their gaze).
Lacking a yacht of my own, I avoided offending my eyes with the carbuncular architecture by spending Saturday facing out to sea. (As we were horse-fixated at the astonishing Longines Global Champions Tour show jumping competition both evenings until quite late, we had the day to ourselves to do as we wished.
Pretty much the only thing that would visually improve the Meridien Beach Plaza hotel building with its Eighties’ mirrored glass walls would be a wrecking ball, but it does have a huge salt water swimming pool, and a pretty open air restaurant overlooking the beach. (Avoid the one on the concrete terrace leading out of the hotel; it looks and feels like something from the less salubrious part of the Costa del Sol.)
I found a spot by the Bougainvillea to have lunch a seul.
And ordered a club sandwich and a bottle of Badoit.
oh and this teeny tiny strawberry not-quite Vacherin.
Warning: do not show anyone with heart problems the bills from the restaurant.
I spent the rest of the afternoon working outdoors, occasionally doing a few laps in the pool. Unfortunately it became quite chilly as the afternoon wore on. But chilly in Monaco is the equivalent of a London summer day, so not much to complain about.
The evening was spent at the show jumping arena, of which more later, and finally in Jimmy’z at the show jumping VIP after party. This photo sums up the clientele outside of the party enclosure pretty neatly. Think shirts unbuttoned two inches too far, chest rugs, bad Herve Leger, platform heels, and obscene sports car ownership.
Thankfully Sunday morning was both gorgeous,and Herve Leger-clad women free. Our car to the airport was due at 1030am but, even after walking home from Jimmy’z at 3am, we all managed to wake up at 8, full of beans. I, quite spectacularly frankly, headed to the gym. It’s amazing how much more pleasant the treadmill can be when this is the view.
Then I headed to the pool for some laps,
and breakfast with Michael the photographer. Unfortunately we were a little too insouciant and were still downstairs in our swimming costumes and damp robes at 1025. Cue a race upstairs, shower, frantic packing and reappearance a mere ten minutes later.
We arrived at the airport two and a half hours before the flight, due to slight hysteria on the part of our driver, who was convinced that the airport approach was closed and we would need hours to get there. Sigh. So we sat outside on a luggage trolley in the sun, drinking coffee. And came up with a new hashtag: antiglamour.
Antiglamour describes the orange bus only too well.
As we landed at Gatwick Susanne, Michael and I realised why we were so goddamn perky first thing; we were still under the influence of Jimmy’z Champagne after just five hours of sleep. With raging hangovers kicking in, the three of us felt so comprehensively unwell that we ended up in the Gatwick branch of Giraffe eating revolting Nachos before we could even think about catching the train back to London.
But, in the modern age, really when is travel glamorous for the majority of us? And everything else about the weekend felt like the pinnacle of glamour. We had such a lovely weekend, so a huge thanks to Longines for hosting us in Monte Carlo for the Monaco leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour 2013.