San Marino! Country #13January 15, 2017 in San Marino
Upon entering the small country of San Marino (the 13th country of our tour!) we encountered the first hills we'd driven in quite a while. San Marino sits on the northeastern side of the Apennines. As we climbed up its hairpin bends we could see the 'Rocce', battlemented castles perched along a high rocky ridge.
We stopped at a large gravel layby that had camper services at the far end, including electricity at a decent price. However, at the bottom end the far reaching view over the tree tops to the valley and smaller hills below was more tempting than the electricity, so we chose this spot instead.
There was some evidence of snow when we arrived but the layby was clear of it. We enjoyed watching the jays, blackbirds and finches in the trees below and even saw a black squirrel scampering about with something in its mouth. After a while it began to hail and soon after began to snow. The view closed in and the snow began to lay. It was magical to watch the world turn white and we could hardly drag Poppy back in because she was reveling in the experience of eating the snow!
Instead of getting quieter as the white carpet thickened, the road behind us was animated with the roaring engines of cars racing! Some locals were using it as a thrills circuit, speeding along the straight sections and skidding round the corners. The Sanmarinese snow ploughs were also out in force and worked all night so that by morning, when 7cm had fallen, the road itself was clear. They even ploughed the worst of the snow from our layby making it a lot easier to get out, though we still skidded considerably.
We'd planned to visit the funicular railway and take a trip up to the old town, possibly walking along the ridge. On the way we passed bin lorries carrying on with collections, huge snow chains wrapped around their tyres. Civic amenity employees were getting stuck in clearing the pavements with shovels and brooms. When we got to the turning off the main road that led to the railway, it was on a steep slope that hadn't been cleared, so we decided to put safety first and give it a miss.
To watch a video taken at our stopover visit our You Tube channel here: https://youtu.be/l2bywyT4a-kRead more