|We felt like we were up in the clouds in San Marino and
literaly, we were! What a quaint, charming country ontop of a mountain.
When we arrived, Tara lounged out on our balcony in the sun gazing out
over a somewhat misty view. We were hoping the view would clear so that
we could really see for miles. But instead, in the matter of the time it
took Tara to go and buy us lunch, the fog closed in and we were in the
thickest fog either one of us could imagine!
|After spending hours on the Internet downloading mail (this was the
first time we've been able to connect our laptop directly to the Internet
in over a month), we went out for a walk. The currency and stamp store
had already closed at 2pm and since we had no desire to do any shopping
we headed up the hill towards the first castle tower.
Heading up or down the hill are the only two ways you can go in San Marino. On the way here, our bus twisted and turned no fewer than 30 times are it ascended towards the historic center. Once we were dropped off, we still had to go up yet another flight of stairs before we reached the tourist office. And then, to get to the hotel that seemed nicest, we had to walk again continually uphill. Of course, the hotel that seemed the nicest was the one furthest up the hill! Seth became Tara's "beast of burden" when she started slowing down under the weight of her pack. He relieved her of her little pack and she could walk for a while more until she started stumbling again. Thankfully, we had by then accidentally passed the hill and as she stumbled, she looked backwards and saw that we'd gone up too far.
|When we reached the castle on our afternoon walk it was
past 5pm and the castle had closed at 4:30. Even so, we decided to have
a walk along the top of San Marino. Of course, if we hadn't had a bit of
a view when we arrived and seen lots of postcards depicting gorgeous views,
we would have had no idea where we were. The fog was by then as thick as
we'd ever seen it. You could hear other people walking towards you, but
couldn't see them until they were shadowy outlines 30 or 40 feet away.
It was Seth's idea of hell as we continued walking up and up and up a slope
that just vanished into the fog a few steps ahead of you. At most times
it seemed like we were the only two people in the country. We passed only
1 other group of three people in our 20 minute walk between castle tower
#1 and castle tower #2. Instead of continuing onto tower #3, we headed
back towards the start of a path to a particularly nice, curving section.
As we passed a parking lot we'd seen an hour ago, we noticed that the fog had gotten even thicker and Seth recalled how Mark, who lived in Italy, would tell him about 75 or 100 car pileups that occured in foggy conditions since the Italian drivers refused to slow down in fog. We could barely see the cars lights 50 feet below us and only the light colored cars were visible at all! We could hear traffic noise though. Whenever we looked over the steep edge of the mountain, we'd see nothing at all but whiteness, but we knew there was something down there since noises wafted up to us out of the white nothingness.
||We settled into some rocks that made a convenient bench
and enjoyed talking at the corner of the path until it became dark. It
was a very nice and romantic spot. We could see the cloud rolling by and
flash pictures didn't work since the air was heavy with dampness and bits
of water. It was a really unique spot to stop and enjoy.
|After connecting to the Internet once again and starting
the upload of about 400 digital photos, we went to dinner. We figure that
we need our friends Tod & Kristen with us when it comes to picking
a restaurant serving excellent Italian food. The food in our hotel restaurant
was fine, but nothing as tasty as three weeks ago with Tod and Kristen.
The entertainment on the TV was funny though - dirty dancing. And, miraculously,
the fog had cleared and we could see lights far down below us.
By 7am, all but 20 of the digital photos had uploaded. We slept by the
glow of the computer and Seth would check whenever he woke up throughout
the night to see if AOL had dropped. At at 26400 connection speed, it took
over 6 hours to upload all our photos, but who knows when we'll get to
connect our laptop directly to the Internet again!
By 7am, the fog had also closed in around us again. Not as thick as
the previous afternoon, but enough to cover up those distant lights we'd
seen last night.
|Ease of Journey||-|