Thursday, October 20, 2016

Monaco part I: the Oceanographic museum

On Thursday we were looking forward to Friday: the weather predicted some thunderstorms. We all interpreted that as some brief heavy showers to flee from but also lots of time with dry and warm weather.

The rain welcomed us early in the morning and the thunder rolled in during breakfast joined with big wind gusts and lightning flashes.  We waited a bit in our room for it to pass but the rain just kept pouring down and pouring down.

We drove my parents-in-law back to the airport, bumper to bumper with the cars in front of us. The coastal road was closed off because of the storm and even our road was often partially flooded and on other roads there had been accidents. After a long drive, twice the anticipated time (fortunately we left really well on time), we continued our way to Monaco.  Traffic improved but wasn't great yet and my bladder was upset from all the water outside. We entered the city state via a long spiral tunnel in the rock and found our way to the public parking near the coast. It was such a relief to get outside!

After a series of 3 elevators in the rock-cliff, we arrived at the well-known Oceanographic Museum where we could enjoy water beauty inside, rather than cursing at the overload of water outside.

The basement floor of the museum was dedicated to aquaria, the ground floor was a monumental hallway and a touching base but the rays didn't want to collaborate and kept swimming just out of our reach.  The higher floor was dedicated to dead marine life and exploration expedition history (among other from its former director Cousteau). Unfortunately the top floor with panoramic terrace, land turtles and the restaurant was closed due to the stormy weather.










While all over Monaco, elevators seem to be hidden to take you up and down, and while inside the museum there's elevators to take you to the different floors, the entrance and exit itself takes you over a big staircase.  I can't imagine that this well-known museum would be not be wheelchair accessible, but the staff just pointed our stroller to the staircase outside.   The staff of the museum wasn't very friendly at all.  So once we had carried our stroller into the entrance hall, we inquired if there was somewhere a cloak room or place where we could park the stroller (as I was going to carry Beertje on my belly), but all we got was a very unfriendly snarl"you must take it, there's the elevator".

After we had asked Kabouter a few times whether he had to use the bathroom and he had ensured us no, he squeaked obviously 10 seconds after we entered the gift shop "no return to museum" gate, that he urgently needed to go. Ugh, thanks to the friendly staff, I had to rush him outside down the stairs, run along the road back to the entrance staircase, command myself a re-entry with him in my arms in order to rush to the toilets...all in vain. Some more water we did not want that day.  And then we were snapped at that we couldn't leave through the wide open entrance door that we had just crossed 3 minutes before in order to meet Jan and Beertje on the other side. Instead we had to walk through the museum again, back to the gift shop and exit there, to walk along the road on the outside back to the entrance to meet Jan.  Ugh...what's up with people in uniforms that are in so much need to enforce their power?

But!!! While running back and forth between the museum's exit and entrance and exit back to the entrance, we saw that there was a bright blue sky outside.  There was sun! The clouds had disappeared! That was too good to remain frustrated with museum staff and little toilet accidents...it was time to explore Monaco city :)

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