Day 18 – San Marino

Although overall I slept comfortably in the car the temp had really taken a tumble overnight and it was hard to motivate myself out of the comfy interior of my sleeping bag to go brave the cold for my morning piss and the sumptuous breakfast of Pepsi awaiting me out there stuck in the snow bank. But no matter, the show goes on. I brushed my teeth with some bottled water and off into the car I go driving down the other side of the mountain into a beautiful valley and up into the by now familiar hilltop villages.

At last I get some sense of purpose and strike a tentative route back to Ravenna in the hopes of getting the photographs I needed but was unable to get during our stay there because it was too late. But even though on the map the distance looks small in actuality the tortuously slow driving on the crooked little back country roads make headway very slow. By afternoon I realized that I wasn’t going to make it to Ravenna and settled instead for San Marino, another improbably small country which is basically just a single city.

But what a lovely city. This one, like the rest, is a fortified town way up on a hill. The San Marininians are evidently very proud of their heritage because they go out of their way to ensure you’re aware they’re NOT Italians even if they speak the same language and are otherwise indistinguishable. But don’t tell them. There are billboards all over the place stressing that your are in the Repubblica di San Marino, thank you, not just simply some town named San Marino. I found it very quaint. And again, the city is a lovely mix of castle and closely spaced homes which while a nightmare to drive around in is a pleasure to walk through. Here there are a lot of souvenir shops most of which sell the usual trinkets with the exception that a lot of stores also sell… BB guns. These stores all have dozens of different models of BB guns from pistols to rifles to machine gun knockoffs. San Marinians are evidently really big into BB guns, what can I say. I tried, unsuccessfully, to see if I could find any squirrels but didn’t and I wondered – cynically – why that would be.

Spent the night at a hotel that was surprisingly cheap at only 25 Euros the night and manned by a very friendly crew. Helped myself to a dinner of fish and chips. No ordinary fish and chips the kind you get in a paper plate served by a teenager. The meal had three different kinds of baked fish and the fries, a mountain no human being could possibly eat through in a sitting, came on its own separate plate. Somehow I managed to eat most of it. And now it’s time for bed.

Day 19