Back to the East coast again and Rivabella,Rimini

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April 26th 2013
Published: April 28th 2013
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Bagni di Lucca to Rivabella,Rimini

A third sombre breakfast at Bagni di Lucca couldn't be avoided and we think we shall make a comment on Trip Advisor suggesting that the hotel owner installs a system that allows music at least to be played at breakfast time to give some atmosphere for their guests.Had we been able to converse in Italian or German we could of course have small talk with the others that were at breakfast when we were but with our limited knowledge of those languages it would have been hard going.

We are heading back to the East coast of Italy today to stay a couple of nights at Rimini so that we can visit the Republic of San Marino,an oddity amongst the countries of the world.More about that tomorrow when we take a couple of hours to visit the 61 sq km country 20 odd kilometres inland from Rimini.

When you look at the atlas,Rimini is basically directly east of where we are in Bagni di Lucca but Vicky had worked out a rather convoluted and what appeared to be a circuitous route for us to take to get there.After checking a couple of different routes in Google maps by moving the route around it all came back to what Vicky had worked out for us to be the shortest and fastest route even though it didn't look that way on paper.Clearly there are mountains and winding roads on the other routes if we were to take them making the distance and time longer.

At first we continued on up the valley or gorge that Bagni di Lucca is located in and although it felt like we should have been gaining altitude the reading on the car showed that we were only climbing very slowly as the gorge narrowed even further after the houses got left behind.

We passed a huge quarry where what seemed like a whole mountainside had been terraced and rock taken away.To where it had gone from this rather remote place is anyone's guess.This sort of alteration to a mountain and bush/forest would never be allowed in New Zealand to the extent the area had been changed.

We joined Route 66 at Pistoiese and then really started to climb getting up to nearly 1000 mts in a relatively short distance on a windy and narrow road.Luckily there was very little opposing traffic except for one big yellow truck that had to swing wide on a blind corner and probably never thought there would be a Citroen with a couple of adventurous Kiwis coming the other way.I was still gripping the passengers seat a couple on minutes after he passed by without leaving a yellow stripe down the side of the car!

The route was taking us northeast towards Bologna and after clearing the mountains the land opened out to fertile plain with much more inhabitation than we had seen for the last hour or so.

The road we were on took us around the large city of Bologna and the direction then changed to a southeast the traffic volumes picked up substantially with roads joining the E35/45 that we were on every kilometre or so.It can be quite unnerving to be speeding along at 90kph having cars frequently joining the flow from the right with very little by way of a lane to feed in from.I was making this observation to Gretchen when 'zoom' a car from in from the right leaving me to take evasive action to miss a car on the left of me.Thankfully Cindy has good power when you want it !

We were pleased to be beyond Bologna and out into very fertile countryside on the SS9 heading straight for Rimini.There was all sorts of farming being done and we even saw the first Italian kiwifruit orchard we have passed on this trip.The vines were just coming into leaf.The orchard looked a very tidy affair much the same as the way the orchards for olives,oranges etc are laid out.

We passed through the town of Imola, home of the Enzo & Dino Ferrari Autodrome where in the 1994 San Marino Grand prix ,world champion driver Ayrton Senna was killed in a tragic accident.

Before long the coast was in sight and we made our hotel at Rivabella just on the outskirts of Rimini.We were greeted by the owner who got very friendly when he noticed from our passports, when we were checking in,that we were Kiwis.He seemed to put his earlier occupation as a tuna fisherman as something he would have liked to have done in New Zealand and appeared well read on how the Japanese fished NZ waters heavily for the prized tuna.

He changed the room we had been allocated, so that we had what was probably the best sea view from the hotel that was on the corner of the road next to where the river flowed out to the sea and therefore one corner of the hotel on the other side of the street from the beach had sea views.We even had a small balcony which we utilised very well to dry clothes after some much needed clothes washing.

So from basically one coast to the other we had had a steady drive with some exciting moments with a yellow truck in the mountains and emerging cars on the motorway at Bologna and tomorrow we would head up to the Republic of San Marino to take in the sights


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