Monday, November 10, 2014

Touching Clouds in San Marino

It never crossed my mind to check the weather or more specifically the cloud ceiling and visibility for the day I decided to make a trip to San Marino.  Why would I?  When I woke up the weather was nice outside blue sky with scattered clouds....  San Marino is a micro state within the boarder of Italy, I think the 3rd smallest country in Europe.  The only mass transit option, that I'm aware of, to get here is a bus from the Italian city of Rimini.  This is the bus stop sign in Rimini, not far from the Burger King.
 This is the transit authority of San Marino station near the Rimini Burger King.  You can purchase round trip bus tickets from the lady sitting at the table.  I'm not sure what the guy is doing but he seems to also be part of the bus ticket program.
 You can also get a map of the city of San Marino.  If you look close you can see where the country of San Marino is on the small blue map of Italy.
 The city of San Marino sits at 750 meters above sea level, about twice as high as the Sears Tower in Chicago.  As the bus got closer and closer to the city center it quickly got foggier and foggier.  But this made sense it was still kind of early morning.  I was thinking this fog would burn off by 1pm.
 The bus drops you off just outside the walls of centro.  As you enter the city you quickly come up on piazza's and small walking roads.
 And as I was hoping the fog would clear it became obvious that this was not fog but actually just clouds rolling through the city.  Around noon visibility dropped to under 30 meters or 100 feet.
 I think other people actually checked the weather and decided not to visit, it was kind of a quiet day in San Marino.
 All over the city is statues and painting that make reference to the story of San Marino.
 There are three towers, I visited one, was able to see the second one for a few seconds and the third never saw and tourist can't visit.
 For a few seconds some voids started showing up in the clouds allowing a clear line-of-sight to the ground below.  You can get a good idea how high this city sits.
 Not so useful today.
The second tower, De La Fratta Cesta became visible for a few seconds.  I was really lucky to be where I was on the first tower to get this glimpse of the second tower.
 This is a view of the court yard inside tower one.  You can see the small church in the court yard.
 Second tower again, the clouds are starting to roll back in.  Third tower, no clue where it is!
 Just a few minutes later the clouds rolled back in.
  The city of San Marino!
 Amazing how fast clouds can move.
 The bell tower of tower one.
 Although San Marino is not Italy it also does not have any Starbuck shops, kind of like Italy.  This allows for independent coffee mug makers to take hold within the city.
 Looking down an alley.
 This statue is a World War II memorial.  The Republic of San Marino was neutral during the war although the British did accidentally bomb parts of the country.
 The natural history museum, free to visit I think.
 This is the Statue of Liberty!  This is in the town square, the Public Palace is in the background but you can barely see it across the square.
 Inside the palace is very beautiful and no clouds.
 Abraham Lincoln bust inside the Palace.  He was an honorary citizen of San Marino and wrote a letter to the city in 1861.  I was hoping to bump into a member of Parliament, ask if I could get honorary citizenship too.  But they were not out walking around this day.
 Another quiet path through San Marino.
 Piazza Titano, this is in the center of the city centro.
 Later in the afternoon the clouds did not go away but the street lights around the city came on.
 Statue of a ballerina in a park.
 I took the 4:45 bus back to Rimini.... About 40 minutes before sunset.
Cloudy day is still a good day to visit, you are not so distracted by the amazing view looking away from the city, you can really (only) focus on the city in front of you.