Monaco was the second small European country I knew I had to tackle to make my 30 countries by 30 years old. And when Jessica and her girlfriend Vinika graciously included me in their plans to visit in early 2016, well, who was I to say no? None of us had been there, and it was rather high on their list as well.

I know what you’re thinking… “Amanda, why were you so willing to be the third wheel on such a romantic vacation?”

To which I say, pish posh. If anything, VINIKA was the third wheel. Not because she slept on the couch (that was me), or had no one to hold hands with while taking in all the city’s beauty (also me), but because Jessica and I had our minds set on three specific things for this short weekend trip: money, money, and money.

I must admit, I have an obsessive personality. So, a few years ago when Jessica introduced me to the game of blackjack, I was hooked. I try not to play very often (because I usually lose, ha), but I confidently walked into the casinos along the Monte Carlo strip, dropped down 200 euro…

…and two hours later, I picked up the same amount of money.

…and I feel like that’s basically the same thing as winning.

Since you aren’t allowed to take photos or videos inside a casino, there’s not much documentation of my success. However, here is a short video summary of the rest of our time in Monaco:

THE TRAVELIN’ SONG: The Gambler (Kenny Rogers). Here’s the trick to gambling. You got to know when to hold them… but also know when to fold them. And know when to walk away. And when to run.

BUDGET: 4 day weekend trip; $400 for airfare, lodging, and food. $200 for blackjack.

TIP FOR TRAVELERS:  All the casinos along the main strip of Monte-Carlo are more expensive than the littler ones that are tucked away. The first one we walked into had 25 euro minimum hands. After some searching, we found ones that were only 10.

DEFINITELY CHECK OUT: The Oceanographic Museum. It’s not the most impressive collection I’ve ever seen, but it is still really great to check out!

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