Not exactly a solid sleep so up at 0530 to use the facilities first. Lou must read a chapter of 'War and Peace' every time he is in the loo. What else could take a guy so long?
Made a few notes about the good and bad of A-B to date. The latter is winning hands down. As a general proposition of law, the more comfortable the hotel, the older the group, many issues falling along from that.
The blog site is working though still have to sort out some of its oddities. Its biggest drawback is the uploaded pix are rather small, anything other than a detailed shot being wasted.
Largely packed before brekkie. Stan came down to join Lou and I, becoming a pinata. Lou certainly likes outward directed jokes better than the other way around. Those two are rather loud in the restaurant setting. The train admonition about quiet will be hard on them, especially the 5H+ from Milan to Monaco.
Computers are wonderful. I put 'lone ranger joke tent' in Google and the joke ending Lou had forgotten popped up. It goes like this: the Lone Ranger and Tonto put up a tent and go to sleep. Tonto wakes up and looks around. He nudges the Lone Ranger who is sleeping on his back. Tonto says 'Lone Ranger, do you notice anything?' The Lone Ranger thinks for a minute and says 'The stars are bright, Saturn is in Leo and it will be a nice day tomorrow. You notice anything?' Tonto bursts out 'You jackass, somebody stole our tent.'
Bit of a cloudy final morning in San Marino. Headed down to the Church of St Quirinus, a Capuchin church. It has a large statue of the saint facing out from a cliff edge which you could not properly photograph.
Headed to the Gate of San Francisco. The UNESCO bronze plaque re the WHS designation is located there. The easiest government job in the country must be the traffic cop at that gate. The Church of San Francisco was expectedly just inside the gate.
Back to the room to shoot the breeze with Lou. He has to be pushed at times but does make some concessions about the Donald. We left by 1030, Peter rolling along the suitcases of the Raccoon. The trip back to the Rimini train station was uneventful save for its inordinate number of red lights and a couple of looks back at the towers in San Marino.
Why did the republic of San Marino survive? While its geographic capital sits atop a promontory and would have had according military value, the surrounding area was historically poor. It was not a prize to outsiders. Poverty was the reason San Marino lays claims to be the oldest republic in the world.
Train 8814 to Bologna Centrale left at 1217. Today's legs are first class. There was no middle storage area but big bags could be stored between seats. Seat 9D surrounded by Yappy Stan to my L, BB kitty corner and the Sergeant Major in front of me. The latter inquired of the former re the condition of the loo. If you have to go, you have to go; sheesh. Things apparently were fine, Italian train authorities. No wifi even on offer on this leg.
Took the chance to type out a segment of the blog offline. Agriculture is king in the area, mostly crops but some tree farming too.
It is less than a 6H drive to Monaco from San Marino. The www.rome2rio.com site suggests the train will take c 9 hours plus, costing $159.00 in first class. Dunno if the cost to A-B would be more than $2,000.00 to rent a bus or if the train is more for the atmosphere. I don't mind train travel so it is fine by me.
Peter came by early so there was scurrying re prepping to leave. Yappy Stan left his hat behind and then realized he had done so. By the time he had it back, he was a bit slow for the Sergeant Major who barked out 'Move' to which he responded something like 'Oh, shut up'. Nothing like a travel day to get tempers frayed.
We reached Bologna Centrale at 1317 for our short train transfer to Milan. It is a large station and the military presence was evident. Down into the bowels for track 17. There was some confusion with Peter and the correct train number but aboard 9626 rather than what he thought it was. There is a bar car on this carriage but will pass and hopefully have one for the 5H junket from Milan Centrale to Monaco. Only the Canucks sisters 'JC' [for Judy and Connie] plus Peter the shepherd are in my carriage.
Peter can see my tray area. Staff goes by with a cart, muttering something. Peter gets a little bag and drink for himself but does not suggest a bag be dropped off at my table; hmm. Surely the facilitaror could have facilitated that.
The carriage had a wifi sticker and the computer said connected but nothing happening on the technology front. The Italian rail system was performing better re speed. It felt like we were going at a good clip, 299 kph the maximum seen. Took the time to muse on an outstanding judging matter.
Into Milan Centrale at 1440. Northern Italy will be for another trip. Entry to train 159 at gate 20 was through soldiers. We were off by 1515, seated this time with Lou opposite. His voice carries and he does not realize others might want some quiet time. Gave our respective three favourite Elvis songs. Have all these years have I said Willie Nelson gave up his seat on 'The Day the Music Died' to Richie Valens when it was Waylon Jennings? Further musical trivia and country and western stuff as the stops drifted by, hour by hour. Another wifi failure to complete things on Italian trains.
Some resting was in order. It was c 1700 by the time we pulled out of Genova, our third stop, the final leg but a third over. Chilling and several failed efforts at Spider took the clock toward 1800 when the Mediterranean Sea became our neighbour. More Spider and more frequent stops followed as did a sore left shoulder.
Eventually to the Monaco, Monaco train station. A chap met us to take us to the Novotel property. We got into the rooms a tad after 2000 with dinner a half hour later. Hopefully tomorrow time for a sauna. BB and the Sergeant Major rambled on again with Peter about old times on A-B trips; get a life. The sisters were better company for Lou and I re joking around, discussing the fare and future travel options. The best part about dinner conversations should be the interchange of information about the world of travel.
The meal was very good. I gave my fried zucchini/courgette hearts an 8, my red mullet a 9 and my cheese plate an 8. There was clearly some local flair in presentation. Sometimes chefs should leave well enough alone, the profiteroles taking on a looking with a chocolate side garnish that likely were not needed. Prices have rocketed, beers now 10 euros when 5 euros has been generally the cost to date.
It was 2230 past by the time Lou and I left dinner. Some computer time but the blog will have to wait until tomorrow.