Jun 11, 2016
|Friday 10th June 2016
Yet more rain overnight and the ground is sodden – but our bikes are still intact and as we pay and go – the owner is a bit off – maybe he’s pissed off too!
The drive South is a bit of a pain as we head for the Republic of San Marino – but we bump our way down Route SS16 – it’s a terrible road surface – and we spend more time avoiding the cracks and potholes. But as we get further South the clouds inland look really black – and so we opt for plan B – a coastal resort campsite – and we choose one just south of Rimini on the resort of Riccione – and it’s a huge site 560 pitches – mostly long term.
But we get a pitch – but with a tree in it which restricts the caravan and car parking – bummer! However, the sun shines and we are pleased with out plan B. In the afternoon we walk up the beach and are simply AMAZED at the number of available beach loungers and umbrellas but all at a cost – however, there are a few patches of the beach that are free!
Back at the campsite we are the only Brits – it’s (as usual) mostly Dutch and German campers – and a fair split between caravans and motor homes.
Saturday 11th June 2016
At last a bright and sunny morning – so Neil goes for a run – well it’s actually more of a walk – but out the door at 7.45am and out for 45 mins – all BEFORE breakfast!
We debate what to do with the morning and a cycle up the road seems the best option – and so we join many others on the bike path – some of it shared with pedestrians and others are separate – We find the town centre and have a wander round - plenty of nice shops and bars but we do not buy or drink anything – too early in the day!!
After lunch we walk the opposite way - south – along the beach and it’s definitely the poor cousin – not so flash and some run down buildings in the town of Masino.
The evening sunshine is nice and so we do – at last – get the chance to use our outside table – nice.
Later Carolyn strikes up a conversation with the neighbouring German couple – yes, she professes to be shy – but it is 8.30pm!!!
Sunday 12th June 2016
This morning Neil actually goes for a run – well run/walk – but does come back with sweat stains – so must have run a bit.
However, he has sussed that we can get a bus to Rimini from just up the road – so that’s the plan for today. BUT, the weather forecast is for thunderstorms later today – BUT still we decide to go.
So, we get on the bus at the terminus in Riccione – only us on the bus, 2 Euros each – and we sit near the front of the bus – MISTAKE – soon after several stops the bus fills up and as we are at the entrance we are surrounded by kids/travellers with bags and just FOLK – so we head to the middle of this “bendy bus” and wait till we reach Rimini 45 mins later.
And hey, the sun is out and it’s really pleasant – so we walk down the river to the marina and the Ferris wheel and then look South – Huge Black Clouds – oh dear, those weather forecasts were spot on.
Then we have a discussion about what to do – option 1. walk back to the bus station and get a bus home: probably ok, but might mean a walk in the rain back home – option 2. find a restaurant here and hole up till the storm passes, could be a while and even then we might have to walk in the rain.
So, we go for option 2 and search for a nice place with an open aspect but under a substantial roof – The first place we try has a function on but the next – by the beach – looks ok and we select a table in the middle of the room just for two.
So, we sit down and order by about 12.45pm – and we have beer and wine and Neil has a Pidiane (unleavened bread) - think wrap with a Sardine/lettuce/onion filling whilst Carolyn has a Gaia Salad (Rocket/Onion/Mandarin) with four quarters of the unleavened bread on the side (actually in a wee bag to keep it hot).
But the skies darken and by 1.30pm folk are crowding into the restaurant to get out of the torrential rain and thunder – so we sit tight – and are soon surrounded by tables being brought in from outside and squeezed into the little space – the staff even move out the Walls Ice Cream cabinet and the milk shake machine and the Granita machine to make room for more folk – bizarre!!
Then the skies truly open and the wind gets up, the bi-fold doors are shut and the outside sun blinds come down, except they get stuck and have to be emptied of water every few minutes. And the thunder starts and everyone inside thinks “this is great fun” we are all tucked up and dry and eating and drinking so JOLLY!
So jolly in fact – that as it’s still pissing down we need to order more drink – and so another half litre of wine comes by the table - not a bad Sunday lunch!
Eventually the rain eases and as we are perhaps the only folk with rain jackets and an umbrella – we set off for the bus home and thanks to Carolyn’s navigation, we arrive at a nearby bus stop only a minute before the bus arrives to whisk us home to Riccione – where we have a dry walk home – RESULT!
Monday 13th June 2016
Yet more rain in the morning about 6am – and this puts Neil off going for a run – BUT – by 7.45am it’s much better and a nice blue sky awaits the jogger. But lots of puddles to avoid on a run through the streets and then along the main drag to the “Terme”.
Now, dear reader, when you hear the word “Terme” I think you conjure up the image of pleasant Thermal Baths or a Spa – well think again!
This is more like a Doctors Surgery – take a ticket on the way in, wait your turn and then get sent somewhere – so Neil wanders in (no ticket) and follows a guy up stairs, but immediately loses him and then Neil walks into a room with what seem like booths with “face masks” and I can only assume that it’s for a respiratory thing!
Back at the campsite we decide to head for the Republic of San Marino – one of the official 193 countries of the world – but you knew that anyway!
The Republic is not far from our campsite – only about 20 miles – but it is slow going with umpteen traffic lights – but we get there and park in Car Park 11 – as suggested by the Lonely Planet guide – and we are soon whisked up by the cable car to the Historic Centre.
And it’s pretty good actually – lots of little alleyways –(but too many tacky shops) – but lovely views all the way to the coast – not too crowded either – but on a holiday weekend in the height of summer it would be HELL.
We wander a bit and head up to the Prima Torre – First Tower – great views but we head down to catch the changing of the guard at 12.30pm – BUT nothing happens and although many tourists are gathered – nothing except two official cars draw up.
So, we head off to find a restaurant with a view and call into the Tourist Office to see what the story is – but the lady does not speak good English – but explains that there is a problem with the guard changing and does not know when it will be sorted – WHAT – how about putting a notice up to say that? This Republic is supposed to have one of the highest GDP’s in the world and the lowest unemployment rate in the EU – but can’t get its f**king act together to put a notice up – Let’s keep a Monarchy!
So, we go in search of a restaurant that has views and a table in the sun – and we succeed – the nice Nido del Falco – good food – the “business lunch” for Neil was a whole Sea Bass with pasta and prawns and side salad and for Carolyn an anchovy salad. All good except it took for ages to get the plates cleared and coffee to be served.
We took a different route home and stumbled on a great fuel stop - diesel 15 cents cheaper than down in Italy and the best supermarket we have seen for a while with cheap food and drink – a great result.
However, on the drive home we made a few wrong turns and ended up back on the Autostrada – not a real problem – but as it’s a quick road it does feel strange barrelling along at 90 mph in the Range Rover and being overtaken by a VW Polo.
Back at the campsite it’s 25 Deg C and so we sit out enjoying the sunshine and having a wee drinkie – the evening meal is also eat outside – makes a change with no rain!
Inland Italy next.
Copyright Neil Tough @2016