Wednesday, September 26, 2012

In and Out of Italy

Yesterday, having seen much of Bologna the previous day, Betty-Lou suggested that we take a trip to the sea so we caught a train to Rimini on the Adriatic. Rimini is a prosperous feeling town with the expected sunny piazzas and beaches...or at least we assume there were beaches. We never did actually make it to the shore.
graffiti, rimini
bridge, rimini
We took a spin around the town's old centre (on foot of course) and had a coffee before catching a bus to San Marino. Where? Exactly. We hadn't heard of it either. When we popped into the tourist info booth in Rimini we discovered that San Marino was only about an hour or so away by bus and that it is in fact its own country. How could we resist?

view from san marino

San Marino (the city) is the capital of San Marino (the country) and it located atop a small but high mountain and seems to be entirely made up of medieval towers and walls running dangerously along the jagged peaks of the mountain. It was a delight to explore their craggy nooks and crannies. The streets were tremendously steep and lined with shops - mostly selling jewelry, alcohol, and weapons. It seems that San Marino is one of those countries with very low tax on everything and oddly it attracts a disproportionate number of Russian tourists/shoppers. They were everywhere by the busload buying up bagloads of merchandise. Many of the signs and menus were even posted in Russian.
san marino

So we spent the afternoon climbing the hills and walls and snacking on cheese and bread and watching the changing of the guard atop the castle before heading back to Bologna, via Rimini, quite exhausted.

It was a very long day, but well worth it, as we got to add an unexpected country to the list. (yes, there is a list)
tower, san marino
tower, san marino

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