Thursday 20th October
Apologies for your receiving this blog late, we have a contract with Three and last week they told us that we still had 3/4 of our allowance left to last us 10 days. The next day we got cut off and have to wait a week until we can get back online. It seems that the wifi everywhere in Italy has been locked down and there are no free wifi places.
At last, a beautiful sunny day, of course we are parked under lots of trees and not getting any benefit from the sun.
On the way Lucy spotted this chap by the roadside.
This is our destination, Frankie has a just given a groan, he knows full well that we’ll be going all the way up to the top and he very nearly did. There is a sosta about 100m from the top with lots of hairpins and steep uppey bits all the way. He did perk up when we saw diesel at €1.21 so we will treat him on the way down.
It really didn’t look like we were going the right way, the roads got very narrow and very steep and the signs said no lorries but eventually we found the large sosta holding 50 units with electric for €8 per day. I couldn’t get any more than €2 into the machine so we might get a knock on the door later on. If you’re coming up here bring your levelling ramps, it must be the steepest sosta we’ve ever stayed on.
A set of three lifts take you up to the city gates and this is a view over the walls of the Government House.
San Marino was founded in 300AD by a monk fleeing persecution from Diocletian – it claims to be the world’s oldest constitutional republic. Essentially it is too small and inconsequential to be worth conquering so it has managed to bumble along away from the fierce battles and intrigue of Italian politics. The language is Italian, they have their own money, stamps and laws and you can even get your passport stamped at the gate.
The streets are steep but don’t let the pedestrians fool you, this is a road and cars were moving about freely.
Look at the glee on her face as Lucy finds her own, aptly named shop, and points to the selection of alcohol that she will be consuming tonight. It looks like San Marino may enjoy some tax breaks, the alcohol is cheap, bottles of Amoretto for €3.50, for example. There are a lot of shops here but they are all aimed at the tourists and concentrate on a small number of themes. Lots of sparkly shops which hold even more fascination for Lucy than booze shops.
Knives, thousands of them from tiny little flick knives, through daggers, zombie knives and samurai swords.
And then pistols, shotguns and machine guns as well as crossbows and archery bows.
The Venetian mask shop was very impressive, just what you need to fill that space in your suitcase. Food prices seemed far more reasonable than yesterdays Ravenna prices, again could be a tax thing.
Look at how lovely the weather is (was). As I write this blog the clouds are rolling in and the views that we did have , have now gone. This is Government House again.
We went to go in but there was an entry charge and we don’t expect to see anything better than yesterday so gave it a miss but I did get a sneaky photo of inside for you.
Lucy was hoping that we were going to park by the cable car and get a lift up which would have been the sensible thing to do. In the far distance is the sea, Rimini is along the coast.
Somehow we found hidden little pretty places. It was because we couldn’t find the Tourist Office, here we are 10 yards away from it (according to the map) but could we find it?
Instead we had to put up with another view from what we thought was the top of San Marino, it turned out that we had loads more climbing to do.
And a view of the Basilica, I wasnt allowed in, I was wearing shorts.
Our guide book describes San marino thus:- There’s not a great deal to see. The ramparts and medieval style buildings were restored in the last century and are mildly interesting.Theres a waxwork museum as well as tacky souvenir shops. All the touristy tawdriness aside it’s a good place to stroll and the walk up through the town to the highest three ridges are worth it for the views alone. Faint praise indeed.
One of the three towers and hordes of Japanese tourists with millions of cameras.
Taking advice from Giorgio I had to buy some Italian wine. The one on the middle, the Sangiovese is highly recommended and I should think so too, three bottles for €5, they’d better all be good.