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Published: April 29th 2013
Todays gelato flavour - Biscotti
We had needed to get back to the east coast again, after visiting Lucca,so that we could make our run up the coast towards Venice and then on around to Croatia over the next 7 to 10 days.Rivabella,a beach resort town near Rimini was gearing itself up for the coming summer season and we got a good deal at the Marylise Hotel and as it turned out a room with a sea view.The only thing that didn't quite work out for us was the size of the room and we found we were tripping over each other and our suitcases as we tried to get by in the 3mt x 4mt space.We did joke though that this could be our lot when its time to leave our home for a rest home!
Breakfast was traditional Italian with 3 or 4 varieties of cake as well as cereal and unsweetened plain yogurt which was a welcome change to the flavoured stuff.Having you breakfast and morning tea with the cakes together has been very easy to get used to.
We took a walk along the beach opposite the hotel and were attracted by activity a
little further along the beach where men were busy preparing for the coming crowds by putting out umbrella stands which were dropped into a hole that had been made by a post hole drill.What was really remarkable was that a grid using string had been laid out over a large area that ran about 50 metres back from the sea and for several hundred of metres along the beach so that what you had were straight rows of umbrella stands alongside which 2 deck chairs would be placed either side of the stand.Talk about being organised and there would be no room here for anyone wanting to put up their 'Kathmandu sunshade' not wanting to conform to the system of the layout.!What this place will look like when all the hotels are full,the sun is shining and all the multitude of tourists are on the beach is beyond comprehension.It must be an amazing sight!
We left the beach and headed off in Cindy with the Republic of San Marino in our sights for some sightseeing of the worlds oldest surviving sovereign state having being founded in 301AD.The worlds third smallest country has a population of around 32,000 and has
a rather unique system of government with elections every five years with two Captains Regent elected every six months who are effectively the heads of state.The country,which has no flat land or natural water supply other than collecting rainfall,has no national debt(wouldn't that be great!) and a per capita income of about NZ$50,000pa.It is not part of the EU,which is rather strange in that it is surrounding by Italy but it is a UN member.
Our route took us through Rimini where ,like in many towns,a market selling everything you might need to carry away was being sold.The traffic made our progress slow but we eventually made it out of the town and onto SS72 heading for San Marino.
We came across a large intersection with at least 6 different roads at angles all controlled by traffic lights and plenty of cars at each set awaiting their turn to go.At each set of lights there were groups of 4 or 5 African guys with their 'dirty' looking sponges on sticks ready to 'wash' your windscreen for a Euro.Cindy has automatic windscreen wipers that start as soon as water hits the glass, so up until now we have been
saved from having to tell them to .... off.
Further on we had to stop at another set of lights right where a man so crippled that he was bent over double with his feet so twisted that his toes on each foot faced each other,a very sorry sight.It was difficult to ignore him but thankfully the lights changed and we were on our way again.
The road up to the republic had sweeping turns as we climbed the 700 odd metres up to the old historic part of the city/country.
We were about two thirds of the way up to the top and had been directed a couple of times to take a different road than what we thought would get us close to the top and find a park to avoid too much walking.So when we spotted a car park that was free we took it and walked the rest of the way to the top.We realised afterwards that had we carried on a short way further we could have caught a bus to the top and saved our legs.We were the only ones walking and noticed several buses full of people pass us.However the
walk wasn't too strenuous and it did give us time to take in the views as we climbed ever higher.
By the time we arrived at the lower level of the old city area and with the air temperature at 16C and a wind chill factor that probably meant it was another couple of degrees cooler to the feel,I noticed that I was the only person in sight of all the tourists off the buses in shorts and a short sleeve shirt and no jersey to wear!
All around us were as many languages being spoken than we have probably heard in one place before and it was really quite a United Nations up in the Republic.
Once through the portal of the city wall we were into narrow cobbled lanes full of tourists being lured into the souvenir shops by bargains of good sized discounts.Along with those shops were others selling perfumes,jewellery and alcohol all at tax free prices.
Something that shocked us were the stores selling some very lethal weapons like knifes of all lengths and desciptions,hand guns,bows and arrows and the 'daddy' of them all AK-47's!All for sale seemingly without a licence to
own one.It was no wonder that those stores had the most people in them and there looked to be a good number being sold.Who needs to know someone who knows someone to get hold of a gun.To be fair though there doesn't appear to be a gun problem in this country although who would know where these guns were going to end up when most of the people in the stores were the tourists off the buses from all parts of the world.
The architecture of the old town within the walled area wasn't quite as we were expecting but then again perhaps our expectations of visiting old places is now so high after those we have seen on this trip and also the last.
We got to the top of the country but decided not to pay the €5 they were asking to go inside the castle as the views we had were just as good without going a few metres higher.
We disobeyed the BBA V2 rules by not retracing our steps to get back outside the wall but it didn't matter as all lanes led downwards and we came out where we entered.
Again we were the only ones walking down the hill with everyone else who had been up in the old town passing us on a bus.
Down the hill and home and we took another walk along the street that runs along the beach to check out the shops.Gretchen bought a pair of Sketchers for €49 or about NZ$75.She said that the same design would have cost up to NZ$175 in NZ so she was very pleased with her bargain.
Dinner tonight is caccatori(chicken with tomato,red peppers,onion and rosemary)and olive oil roasted potatoes making a very tasty meal.We then settled back to watch 'Shall we Dance' on DVD a favourite for both of us ending an interesting day and ticking another country off our bucket list.
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