Monday, May 2, 2011

Italy Day 20 {San Marino; Padua}

Singing at the pub in San Marino

Tim and the boys planned a side trip to visit San Marino, another tiny country perched atop a hill in Italy.  The primary purpose of this detour: to have their passports stamped.  Twenty minutes of hairpin turns up a steep hill brought us to the little country, and we arrived during afternoon rest (reposa).  With sweeping views of the Italian country side below and the acapella choir of happy gentlemen gathered an at the pub for fellowship and refreshments during the afternoon break, San Marino welcomed us.  Most predominantly visible in San Marino: tourist shop after tourist shop; selling postcards, trinkets, perfume and guns.  The narrow streets were packed with pedestrians, and we wound our way up the steep hills to the tourism office.  For 5 Euros each, Joseph and Peter's passports were stamped; mission accomplished. 

Bridget, Joseph and Peter atop San Marino

Tim, Joseph and Peter at a square in San Marino

Already a 250+ mile day, our drive to Padua was lengthened not only by our detour to San Marino, but also by a poor road choice and the need to double back and re-enter the roaring Autostrade.   With the added miles and travel time, our arrival into Padua coincided with evening rush hour and dinner time.  We unknowingly entered a few "no traffic zone" pedestrian-only streets (in some Italian cities traffic cameras capture offenders, who receive expensive fines via the mail).  Frustrated, tired and hungry, we finally opted to temporarily abandon the vehicle and continue our hotel search on foot.  Fortunately we located a decent hotel after a short walk, and after re-parking the car and hauling our gear to the room, set off into Padua for dinner.  After pizza and pasta (and more expensive water), a good night's sleep was top on the agenda, to get an early start on our next-day trip to Venice.
Cars and pedestrians share the very narrow, steep streets lined with tourist shops and government buildings in San Marino.

Peter and Joseph watch as their passports are stamped in the tiny country of San Marino.

Noteworthy: 
  • Gas prices are right around $8 gallon.
  • One wrong turn can end up being very expensive.
  • Our stops to re-fuel the vehicle always include a short break for cappuccinos, served by baristas/gas station cashiers in the markets at the gas stations (where mixed drinks are also served).

1 comment:

July Soto said...

Interesting and very informative post. I've never been to San Marino, but after reading your post and seeing the great photos, I must say I am intrigued. Thank you!