Just got back today from our first-ever Europe incentive trip (to Monaco), and I am forcing myself to stay awake for a little while tonight, so I can adjust to the time change. I’m struggling because I’ve had about 5 hours of sleep in the last two days, but I’m pretty sure that blogging about the trip will be a wonderful way to pass the next hour or so!
First, can I just say that Monaco is absolutely gorgeous! We’ve never been there before, and Sterling—who doesn’t really like traveling much, although he’s been a great sport to go with me on many Stampin’ Up! trips—said as we left, “I think I could come back here.” Now that is worth noting!
It was incredible. I heard someone say that you can’t live in Monaco unless you have lots of money (the most common cars we saw as we walked the streets were BMWs and Mercedes—and I saw a lot of cars that I couldn’t pronounce the names of!), but it’s an amazing place to visit!
During our welcome dinner on Wednesday evening, we gathered around one table (because it’s our first incentive trip, our numbers were rather small—23 counting demonstrators and Stampin’ Up! staff) and actually played a little get-to-know-you-better game before eating. Thursday, we took a tour of a perfume factory, then we each got to make our own perfume! Although I doubt anybody’s formula will be on the market anytime soon, it was a fascinating experience.
Lunch that day was in a charming old village, in a restaurant overlooking the ocean.
The rest of Thursday afternoon was a free day, and Thursday night we did Make & Takes—in our jammies! (You can’t have a Stampin’ Up! event without stamping, of course!)
As a side note, the shipments we had sent over more than a month earlier hadn’t arrived as of Wednesday; they were detained in customs. So demonstrators missed out on the first night of pillow gifts. We crossed our fingers and prayed that the shipment would come on Thursday; thankfully it did, so the rest of the event we had everything we needed!
Friday the entire day was free. A small group actually took a train to Italy; the rest of us roamed around Monaco. You could walk the entire town, and it was fascinating to people watch and enjoy the very elegant surroundings, including the palace (the locals call it The Rock) and the surrounding area. We ran into several smaller demonstrator groups, and we enjoyed chatting and getting to know those we met a little better.
Friday night was our last dinner, and we went to the Winston Churchill Terrace at the Hotel de Paris, which was an incredible evening. The food was fantastic (I have to say that the food at every single meal was fabulous!), and the room was elegantly decorated, including fabric on the ceilings and walls.
I anticipated the entire trip being an unforgettable experience, and I had hoped to get to know all the demonstrators personally. I wasn’t disappointed. The language wasn’t a problem (I had worried about it a bit), but everyone knew enough English that we were able to communicate just fine. Although we had demonstrators from three different countries, everyone was so incredibly warm, welcoming, and inclusive—I loved seeing the demonstrators interact, chatting and sharing. As we said our good-byes at our final dinner on Friday, I couldn’t help but tear up a bit.
As I mentioned in my previous post, we traveled two days (to and from) for the three-day event, so it feels like a whirlwind few days, but it was wonderful. I am already looking forward to next year, when we’ll be meeting in Prague—hopefully with these same inspiring ladies and a bunch of other demonstrators as well!