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Braxton Ray's Posts
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Louisiana Visit: 2016-5
2016-06-03 - I was born in Louisiana and lived there the first 18 years of my life. Since graduating high school several years ago, I have only come back on holidays to visit family. Louisiana is a wonderful place - to say that it is full of culture would be a severe understatement. Whether it's Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette, or Lake Charles, you're bound to find some of the best seafood in the US, if not the world, as well as some of the best jazz and friendliest people.


Monaco Visit: 2016-11
2016-12-01 - In short, Monaco was one of my favorite countries that I've ever visited. Before going, I really was not sure what to expect. Would there be lavish examples of wealth that would make the average visitor feel alienated? Would it be too expensive to even make a day trip? The reality that I found was that Monaco was a very charming country filled with polite people (who were even more polite when spoken to in French.) The first day that my girlfriend and I went to the country, we took a SNCF train from Nice, which was a pleasant enough ride. Once there, we walked down a very nicely maintained street until we got to the Casino de Monte Carlo. The casino was well worth the 10 euro entrance fee even if one wasn't wanting to gamble simply for the exquisite Belle Epoque interior. Being there truly felt like being back in time due to the dark wood furniture and the abundance of suits as the night wore on. We eventually won a fair sum, so after ogling at the Rolls Royces and Bentleys outside, we went to a delightful restaurant in La Condamine called Quai des Artistes. Their seafood was delicious and the service was great. It really was a special treat to be at such a fancy restaurant dressed to the nines, and in such a historical country that many people never get to visit. The only problem was that Monaco doesn't have any trains after 11:30pm, and the night bus only runs three days a week. That meant that we were stuck taking a taxi back to France, but c'est la vie. The next day, we took a train in the morning and got to see the country by daylight. It was quite the sight! The multilevel streets were quaint and completely litter free, yet crowded with buildings, and there were some occasional breathtaking sights thanks to the local topography. While visiting the Greek-inspired Sainte Dévoté Chapel, we were amused to see a group of American tourists posing for scavenger hunt pictures in front of the church by throwing tree branches into the air and jumping. We were tempted to find out more about their hunt, but unfortunately daylight was not on our side, so we had to catch our train to Italy. On our way back from Ventimiglia that night, we decided to hop off the train in Monaco one last time so that we could take photos of the casinos with our dslr cameras. At least, that was the excuse. Really, we just wanted to be back even for another hour. I absolutely cannot wait to go back to Monaco and explore even more of the sights (such as the castle) that the second smallest country in the world has to offer.
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