Day 149 – Serravalle

What a contrast: yesterday wet and miserable, today bright and beautiful. Still, we woke late, at 10.30, possibly the latest we’ve ever got up on this trip, and I cycled with Ben to the supermarket for bread, not wanting to risk the gigantic bread sticks on offer from the campsite delivery.

Cycling wasn’t easy with Ben on the crossbar saddle. We are partway up a mountain, and the road is very steep. Half way and I ran out of puff, we got off and walked. In the supermarket I found “premium baguette” at 99 cents for 250 grams, equivalent to £2.80 for an 800g loaf.

The bread wasn’t bad – but not good either. But I think I’ve solved the mystery of Italian bread, or Tuscan bread as it may turn out to be. It is baked to be eaten with salty antipasto olive oil drizzled on top, with saucy Italian foods or in soups. Tuscans eat pastries with their coffee in the morning. Not bread and jam (or in my case, bread and Marmite). Salt is not added to traditional Tuscan bread.

Once breakfast was over, we decided to go to the citadel of San Marino, the fortress on the mountain. A bus left the campsite at 1.55, and we were on it, having walked Meg and allowed the boys to let off steam in the playground.

For just 1 Euro each – the boys travelled free – we were transported to the gates of the city. It was magnificent, steeply pathed roads zig zagging through towers between shops hawking high class tat. Buttresses providing a vista to snow capped hills to the west or the Adriatic Sea to the east. And empty, except for a few Chinese tourists, us and Christmas trees decorated in the Norwegian style with colourful woolen threads running from crown to trunk.

The city reminds me of Minas Tirith as described by Tolkien in Lord of the Rings.

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Tomorrow we will return.

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