Few places on the planet are as glamorous as this tiny principality.
Being the ship geek that I am, I could watch Captain Giske dock Symphony every time.
Alix and I had something special planned. While the rest of the family went to Eze (which I ADORE, nothing wrong with THAT excursion), we had scored tickets to go visit Les Ballets de MonteCarlo behind the scenes.
Our guide was Franck Balbi- a gorgeous (and I mean oh-God-fan-me-please gorgeous) former danseur with the ballet (as well as other European ballet companies).
He picked us up at the ship along with six other guests. We had a moment to wait, and Alix, Lookchin and I had fun taking snaps in front of the Opera House.
This is ONE COOL BEAR.
Isn't Crystal Symphony pretty in the harbor?
Two very pretty ladies.
We had a bit of a walk around Monte Carlo, including the Casino...
...where I caught this hilarious photo of opposite ends of the automotive spectrum.
She likes the Lambo.
The principality still had its colors up from the recent Grand Prix.
Then Franck wisked us away to this non-descript location with NO sign.
Which houses most of the facilites of the ballet.
Alix saw the dancers' locker rooms.
For some reason, this sign caught my eye.
Alix felt right at home at the barre in a rehearsal hall.
And enjoyed talking "ballet" with Franck.
I got excited when we visited the costume design department.
Works in progress.
Beautiful designs by famous designers.
Up on the roof, the dancers have a relaxation area.
We were extremely fortunate to find that class was in session, and the master allowed us to sit in.
For non-ballet types, you can skip over the YouTube below..it's 12 minutes of rehearsals. But if you like seeing what goes on...
And after all that dancing, the ladies were kind enough to pose with Alix.
After this, Franck took us to see the costume warehouse, and was able to show us orginal Matisse-designed costumes.
And show us how tutus are stored.
He even found one of his old costumes, with his name still embroidered inside.
When I saw each ballerina's stash of pointe shoes, I cringed. (I know how expensive one pair is!!)
Franck's tour was simply WONDERFUL!
Do click on his name above if you ever need a tour guide in the area.
Needless to say, Alix and I were floating on air when we returned to Symphony. The view didn't bring us down any.
That afternoon, a "battle of the horns" began in the harbor, and Symphony joined right in.
That evening was formal night, and didn't we clean up well?
Julie and Austin.
Cousins Bill and Suzanne with Ella.
Hail fellow! Well met!
Lookchin was dressed in his tux, too, and partied with Hutch, Emerson and brother Will.
Caught him drinking out of my glass at the disco Pulse that night. Naughty Bear!
Em looked really beautiful.
Always dancing with the ladies, just like his daddy used to!!!
Wow...a great day...what an adventure.