One of the challenges of having a conference in Monaco is getting there. While the conference was relatively small–less than 2000 people–there wasn’t sufficient housing (at least not within most corporate budgets) for everyone to stay in Monaco. As a result, those of us who booked late had hotels in Nice.
The solution was to send large tour buses to the hotels in Nice to pick up those who were staying there and then drive everyone over to Monaco. In the morning rush hour traffic, the drive took a good hour and a half. The bus had little A/C and most of us were feeling like we needed a second shower by the time we arrived at the conference site.
The really sad part of the bus ride was that we didn’t take the coastal road, so we didn’t get to see some of the best views. At one point, we were stuck in traffic for a good 15 minutes while overlooking a lot that looked like it was used for industrial waste. Not exactly the kind of thing you hope to get to see when you go to the French Riviera.
We did get an occasional glimpse of the sea, but it was infrequent.
Looking for things to take pictures of through tinted bus windows resulted in creating some really strong vignetting in the images. I don’t know how much more pronounced this effect was due to the camera being an iPhone vs using a DSLR, but all of the images through the bus windows were the same.
When at long last we reached the conference site, we got to experience modern office buildings butted up against the rising hills of the landscape. There is not much about Monaco that makes you think there should be office buildings there. It created a surprise effect.
In the end, what i learned from the bus ride was to take the train. The next day, I slept in instead of getting up extra early to catch the 7:15AM bus. I caught a train much later–a 10 minute walk from my hotel. I rode in comfort along the coastal tracks, enjoying views of the sea the entire way (except when we went through the many tunnels). It cost 3.70 Euro to ride the train. The entire train trip took 20 minutes. And, I happened to sit next to 2 other people attending the same conference who knew how to get there from the train station, so I made it there on time without getting lost.