I will be honest right off the bat. I didn't really want to go to Monaco. I heard it was overrated and touristy, but sometimes you just have to see for yourself.
Now that I have been, I can't really disagree with the touristy bit, but I was so glad my family and I made the trip. We had a really fun experience and one reason for that was the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco. It's part museum and part aquarium and gorgeous rooftop views over Monaco and the sea.
As someone who loves both history and sea creatures (I wanted to to be a marine biologist when I was little), I found it completely enchanting. There were also some surprises.
The first surprise, perhaps, was Marc Quinn's giant baby statue, "Planet." The photo above does not do it's size justice. It's massive.
Once inside, another work by Marc Quinn, a beautiful golden shell titled "The Origin of the World," greeted us. We decided to downstairs to the aquarium first where I immediately became like a kid in a candy shop.
I was wide-eyed and amazed.
So much variety. So much color.
Dreamy, beautiful, and otherworldly
And some quiet types that like to blend in.
The little guys below were my favorites. They mimic sea grass and sway ever so slightly in the water, waiting for good stuff to float by. I stood there mesmerized for a very long time watching them do their thing. Admittedly, "their thing" isn't much, but I found them strangely adorable and completely fascinating.
And then there was stuff of nightmares. . .
Like a pot FULL OF EELS.
Or an eel so big that he wrapped around the entire tank. Little bits of his body could be seen peeking out from the rock formations.
Those little spidery lobster looking things are cleaner shrimp. They help clean the eels by eating parasites on their bodies, even going so far as to venture inside their mouths. The eels, in turn, don't eat the shrimp. I hesitate to call it sweet, so I will call it a nice example of symbiosis.
Or how about a Stone Fish that will kill you if you touch it?
I had no clue this was a fish when I first walked up beside my mom at the tank. He was further back amidst a number of other ugly rocks.
She started to explain to me that the one ugly rock was, in fact, a fish. I was having none of it. I reached out and pointed at him when, suddenly, he charged toward my outstretched finger with that frowning mouth of his open and ready for lunch.
I believed her after that.
Bonus: there's another Rock Fish right next to him the in picture. Sneaky little death fish. Amazing, but sneaky.
We spent a long time in the aquarium, but there was still a whole museum left to explore. I'll leave the rest for part two.
I know the blog has seemed quiet, but I've been fairly busy and productive behind the scenes. I (finally!) finished researching and writing the Versailles Vignette Guide. I am now in the revision phase! I'm expecting to find some surprises along the way after all of the starting and stopping, but I'm really excited to get this bad boy finished and release it into the world!
I also started writing for the Get Inspired section of the website and have been working on a page for Villefranche-sur-Mer, a beautiful village on France's Cotê d'Azur.
Things are moving along!