The view from a hill


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November 20th 2021
Published: November 21st 2021
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View from the hill
There are countries and there are countries. Some countries encompass an entire continent, some just a hill. San Marino belongs to the second sort. Its claim to fame is that its the oldest republic in Europe, or actually the world. It's located on a hill. All of it! But it consists of more then just San Marino City, which isn't really a city by any account. There are a few municipalities scattered around the base of the hill that also belong to this little nation. But most people just see the town on the hill, the name-sake of the country. Jenni and I were no different. We stayed in a lovely hotel at the top, with wonderful views over surrounding Italy.

The old town is quite beautiful, with three forts straddling the ridge of the hill, which is sheer on one side, and sloping down on the other. The three towers have a fairy tale sort of a vibe, as far as looks and location are concerned. The town itself is well preserved, just a pity that a lot of the buildings are occupied by shops selling kitschy souvenirs. I have no idea for who. There were hardly any tourists
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First tower courtyard
around when we visited. Maybe San Mariners (no idea what you call a person from San Marino), have a particular fondness for kitsch. At the bottom of the hill, at the border, there are quite a few big malls, selling tax free luxury goods. I guess that's how San Marino makes it's money. That and stamps.

We didn't visit any of those malls, though Jenni did buy some stamps! What we did do, was walk the trail that connects the three towers, a spectacular path along the ridge with views over Italy all the way to the Adriatic. At the end of the path we took a trail down the slope through a forest and back to the town walls and through the winding lanes of the old quarter. To be honest you can see the whole thing in half a day, easily. The best part is probably the views.

At sunset we ordered a Gin&Tonic from our hotel and sat at the tables outside, to watch the sun sinking into the Italian hills beyond, turning the sky orange, pink and purple. Another walk in the evening to admire the nicely lit up forts and buildings, followed by
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View towards the second tower from the first tower
the familiar pizza, concluded our day. I could have stayed longer. Not because of the amount of things to see, but because it was tranquil and beautiful, and it had spectacular views. And I would have liked to explore the other municipalities around the base of the hill, simply because nobody else does it. But we didn't. Another time perhaps.

Instead we left San Marino the same way we arrived. By bus from Rimini. At least we stayed a couple of nights in San Marino, and so I can now claim to have visited this landlocked country too. I wouldn't have dared to, if I had only visited on a day trip. As an aside, San Marino was the first country Jenni and I visited, that neither of us had been to before. A milestone in our relationship!

And this my friends concludes our little trip, where I managed to squeeze in a new country despite all odds. I hope to do a bit more extensive travelling beginning of next year. But first there is Christmas and New Year, and helping Jenni move to her new home up north, towards me. For now, I bid you farewell and
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Path between the towers along the ridge
until next time!


Additional photos below
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First tower seen from the second tower
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Second tower
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Sunbathing under the second tower
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Walk through the forest
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It was quite pleasant
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Another view of the first tower
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Main church
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Flag flying proudly over government building
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Sunset Gin&Tonic
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Our hotel
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Second tower in the night
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And the first tower lit up
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Seat of government
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Interfaith chapel
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More night time views
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Leaving San Marino, it's there on the hill


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