Micro states of Europe travel blog

All aboard!

Roman bridge built under emperor Tiberius

One of many quiet streets in Rimini


Up before 0530, roomie Lou with his early wake up call the culprit. We are both pretty much done and filling time as of 0630, brekkie in a half hour.

My South Korea book has arrived back home. Over the last 48 hours, the Penguins are Stanley Cup champs and the Warriors are NBA champs so things going well on the sports' front.

Everyone down shortly after 0700 with our early start. Not much left to pack this morning and down by 0800.

It was but a saunter to Roma Termini, the train station. Lou's main suitcase had wheels that seemed directionally challenged so he was always last. I suggested to Peter I needed to buy a wire brush to get the molassses out of his shoes. His attitude was to carp that when he would catch up to the group it would head off again; sheesh! He was slower than BB. At least she could blame it on her ample derriere. No military presence seen at the largest train station in Italy.

Train stations are the usual hubhub of activity. Frecciarento 8508 [Trenitalia] left at 0845. We were in class 1 for the first jaunt of the day. I got Yappy Stan aka Mr Personality as a seat mate [drew the short straw]. Peter came by with our Eurorail train schedule for the trip. We have six days of trains, five legs on June 17th alone.

We had just rolled the short distance to Roma Tiburtina station when Yappy Stan advised me per his Fitbit we had gone 1.4 kilometers. Yappy Stan, STFU. Peter also gave us a sheet with details on the five microstates of Europe [Vatican City, San Marino, Monaco, Andorra and Liechtenstein. Everyone has settled into their own quiet routine.

Some rolling hills, agricultural areas and tunnels jostled for space as we zipped along. I think the train travel will be one of the general highlights of the trip, a different but comfortable way to travel. It does not take much to make a favourable impression. We got a little bag with some cakes, a cup, a candy and a towelette. North American airlines, take note.

Outside the train was a toll road often running parallel,some solar panels undoubtedly meant to counteract the Donald taking the US out of the Paris climate accord, bales of hay and some industry. Inside, saw at one point we motoring along at 247 kph. While tired, will try to resist the temptation to rest [though I may have failed a bit].

Into Firenze Campo de Marte by 1015 for the one stop en route to Bologna Centrale, just for 3-4 minutes. The Raccoon expectedly got lost post-loo. She would later drop her watch, not notice it nor for that matter a host of people angling for their bags in San Marino.

Off on the next leg to Rimini. It was less than an hour. Our bus driver picked us up at the station, taking our big bags. We walked into town to the Piazza of the Three Martyrs [to anglicize one], splitting there for lunch options. Lou and I grabbed a couple of slices of pizza and then had a drink elsewhere, mine actually being an aperitivo [drink with a small appetizer].

1400 was the time to meet our somewhat forgettable guide [I forgot her name too]. On a couple of occasions she spent time yapping with locals. She thought an hour into the tour an ice cream break was in order. Sergio in Rome was much better.

We did see some of what Rimini had to offer, including the Roman bridge dating from the time of the second emperor, Tiberius, in the early 1st c AD. The colours of many of the houses reminded me of Central American flair. The ice cream break came next. The medieval dimension of the city was not particularly well elaborated upon. I admit to being a bit tired but there was little spirit in her presentation. We did enter the principal church in town but it was nothing too noteworthy. The final bit returned to Roman history with a focus on the house of a surgeon from the 2d c BC with some decent mosaic tile work. More elaboration thereon in the local museum could have been skipped.

It was a drive of a half hour to our San Marino, San Marino hotel. I was nodding off, the heat coming out of the a/c not improving the mood. The Grand Hotel San Marino looks nice. The room was larger than Rome. Had to sort out twin beds and never did get the hang of the a/c unit [hadn't realized the window was open so it was never going to work, quite apart from the fact we we trying to operate from the wrong controls.

Lou gets out of the shower at 1859 for a 1900 departure and then can't get his shirt to roll down. He needs a butler. We walked uphill to La Terrazza Restaurant for the best meal of the tour so far. Had rabbit and veggies au gratin, the latter quite large. Tried an Italian beer called Amarcord, the half liter going down easy. Had a light ice cream for dessert. Tried a brown grappa. It had the taste of a moonshine rather than licorice so something amiss there.

People get so fussy with food. Lou orders lamb, expecting mint sauce; nope. He wanted a sauce of some sort and was a bit too vocal but typical of a New Yorker. The Raccoon wanted a modified dessert with no coconut. Sunset is circa 2100 here and will have to bring the camera to dinner tomorrow.

San Marino looks like it will be great to meander. We have just a half day tour so the afternoon we are footloose and fancy free. The a/c was blasting away so will get under the sheets if needbe, having no clear idea how to operate the unit other than the green button got the ball rolling.

A bit of email and today's blog mostly done. Will finish in the morning before or after brekkie. Bed after 2230.

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