Brisbane2Bristol

On our great adventure

Classic San Marino….

After a leisurely breakfast we Packed up our tent and loaded up the bike on what was a beautiful sunny morning, our young Dutch friends we had dinner with last night were heading down to southern Italy on their sparkling clean BMW bike, but not before a few photos were taken, great young couple, with all the goodbyes said we all set off…

Before heading towards San Marino we altered our route slightly so we could ride along the coast road heading south, hugging the Adriatic Sea.

Sad to say we were to be disappointed to find that we had trouble getting even a glimpse of the Adriatic Sea, where were the roads that hugged the coast line…maybe we took the wrong one…but i don’t think so…

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We did get glimpse of ourselves though…

When we did manage to find a road that was close to the coast beach areas but it was very built up with mostly big hotels and shops with buckets and spades swinging form the awnings of the shop fronts and not forgetting the inflatable boats…from the glimpses we got of the beaches they were jam-packed with multi coloured sun umbrellas shading the sun lounges which were in turn had holiday makers trying to top up their leather look skin in the last of the seasons hot weather…

Not at anytime did we expect this part of Italy to be as tacky….our romantic vision of what we thought this coast line would be like came to sudden halt, in truth we were hoping it was going to be like the Croatian coast, but it was far from it…

After had a picnic lunch we left the coast line and headed inland, riding through small quiet towns across the region of Tuscany…

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The region was breathtaking with vineyards and villas set amongst rolling green hills, dotted with monasteries and old churches, riding up to them was an impossible task at times, the cobblestone roads were so steep and trying and trying to navigate a fully loaded bike up the narrow roads with really tight bends was just too hard so we had to abandon the idea half way up and admire the beauty from the bottom of the hill…

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Whilst enjoying the scenery we could see the large outcrop of where San Marino is perched upon from a far way off, we were exited to be going to San Marino as we had heard some wonderful things about it, did you know San Marino is the world’s fifth-smallest state and claims to be the world’s oldest surviving republic!

Eventually starting the gradual incline towards San Marino we found the streets at the bottom were deserted, hardly any of the shops were open, it didn’t dawn on us at first, but it was Sunday…arrgh that explains it…

San Marino is one of only forty-eight landlocked countries and happens to be one of the worlds most smallest countries, covering just a tiny 61.2 sq km and most tourists mainly visit Monte Titano San Marino’s old town which is a world heritage site…

On a winding tree lined road we found a large old style hotel with lots of old cars and bike parked in the car park, Clive wanted to stop and take a look at the cars, so i enquired about a room for the night…
WOW at 110 Euros a night we thought that was pretty expensive…

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Great view from our room though…

The decor was in need of a facelift, but the place had a great feel about it, also it was spotlessly clean and the owners were delightful, so we booked into the Panorama Hotel for one night.

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The owner was a keen motor enthusiast with a few old Italian Fiat motor cars and some Italian bikes…

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We dumped our bags into our room then jumped on the bike and rode up to Monte Titano to explore, the Guaita fortress is the oldest of the three towers constructed on Monte Titano, and the most famous…

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We parked the bike up and wandered up the ramparts to the fortress at the top, there were a maze of alleyways and hidden corners to explore…

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We trundled up some very steep steps to reach the entrance.
It was built in the 11th century and served briefly as a prison, we purchased our entrance tickets just inside the castle gate, then set off to explore this beautiful castle.

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Exploring the well-preserved fortresses and towers one gets a feeling of being transported to bygone ages.

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One of the towers also houses a good collection of medieval weapons…

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Napoleon gifted San Marino with allegedly four cannons…

We got to climb up the steep narrow ladder up to the main tower, the views from the top were breathtaking, we could see for miles…

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Prisoners were kept in the tower rooms, some of the artistic prisoners did drawings on the walls of their cells…

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The streets of Monte Titano were packed with tourists and you can clearly see why, with its narrow cobbled streets that wind its way up and around the stunning castles, the resturants were full of tourists enjoying local beers and wine listening to the laughter just made the place feel more relaxed than it already was, there also many souvenir shops laden with perfumes, jewellery, glass souvenirs and many of all course duty free…

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We found a restaurant with clear views that looked down to Rimini on the coast and inland over the hilly landscape and made use of their fast Wi-fi to catch up on emails and such…

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We ordered our meal of pizza and prawn salad…which was fresh and fantastic, and enjoyed a bottle of wine while watching the sun go down, life doesn’t get any better than this…

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The next day after a buffet breakfast on the terrace of our hotel…we decided to go and check out the tram that goes up the mountain, before we packed our bags…

It was an advanced system for its time, being an electric railway, powered by overhead electric cables.
The trains drew power from these cables by means of a pantograph system. The tracks were narrow gauge, which offered advantages in terms of costs and ease of construction given the geographical features of the route, but made the railway incompatible with the Italian network.

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The train carriages had a distinctive appearance, being liveried in the national colours of San Marino, blue and white layered horizontally, the service offered is first class and third class seats! Hmm not sure what happened to 2nd class!
There were 17 tunnels, all located within Sammarinese territory, ranging from about 50 m to 800 m in length.

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There is also a 1.5 km aerial tramway connecting the city of San Marino on top of Monte Titano with Borgo Maggiore, a major town in the republic..

What a beautiful place, so relaxing…but the city of Roma was calling us and as they say all roads lead to Rome…

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