San Marino, San Marino, Europe
Today is my birthday! And it has been an amazing day! We got up this morning around 8am, showered (only to find out that the hotel doesn’t even give you soap!), and got the heck out of Bologna. Luckily Melissa’s phone’s GPS works perfectly, so we downloaded the maps we need to use offline and the GPS worked great all day today.
We drove for just over an hour to get to Ravenna and found a parking lot near the old center for just €3 for the day. We found a place to have breakfast where we could sit outside and enjoy the sun. We don’t often get that chance living in Edinburgh, so we tried to take full advantage. The breakfasts were pretty much all pastries covered in chocolate or jam. I found it hard to believe that the locals would actually eat this kind of stuff for breakfast, but by looking around at what everyone else was having, I guess they do. We followed suit by having some pastries with Nutella, custard, and apple fillings. They were all amazing!
After Melissa bought me a birthday breakfast we took a walk through the old town where most of the shops were clothing or gelato shops. We found a Pandora shop on the way so I bought Melissa a Murano glass charm to remember our Italy trip by. We then got some gelato enjoyed the sun, and even found Dante’s tomb. The tomb was right next to the San Francesco church, which had this strange little cistern in it. There was no really explanation about the cistern, but everyone was lined up to get pictures of it, so of course I did as well.
We left Ravenna about 1pm and drove another hour and a half to get to San Marino. The whole country is pretty much just a mountain, and it is absolutely stunning. We parked in Parking Lot 7, which is the highest one you can get to. We took a short walk to find our B&B, and it was very easy to find.
We got to B&B Balsimelli12 and knocked on the door but no one was there. Just as I was calling the owner on skype, Fabrizio showed up from shopping to let us in. He is a really nice guy, and a very cool guy to chat to. He is actually born and raised in San Marino, and the B&B we are staying in was his Great Grandfather’s house, which has stayed in his family forever. You don’t hear about that happening nowadays, so it was nice to see that the family cared enough to keep this place.
Fabrizio has recently refurbished it and you can tell. This B&B is absolutely stunning! It is very cozy, well decorated, and the terrace on our room is ridiculous! We have a table and chairs, along with a couch and some padded seats as well out on the terrace that overlooks the entire country of San Marino. I knew this place was going to be nice, but this exceeded all my expectations.
Fabrizio recommended a place for lunch called La Fratta, and it was perfect! We had some pizza, lasagne, sausages, and crostata for dessert. All the food was amazing, but even better was the fact that we got to sit on a terrace in the sun all by ourselves. It was a perfect birthday lunch!
When we finished eating we went out for a walk around the town to check out some of the sights, and then came back to the B&B for about 6pm. Fabrizio said he wanted to give us something to celebrate my birthday, so he brought us a bottle of wine from San Marino, and he brought a bunch of food as well. He made a plate full of sandwiches, a big bowl of peanuts, and some crisps. It was such a nice gesture, and you just don’t see that from many hotel owners.
Fabrizio stuck around and had a glass of wine with us and told us the story of San Marino and his family, before he had to go meet some friends. It was great to chat with him, but I think my favourite part was getting to play with his dogs today. He has two jack Russell terriers named Rocco and Viola, and they are awesome. Viola is just a princess who likes to lay in the sun, but Rocco just wants to play fetch with his ball ALL the time. It’s GREAT! So after enjoying our drinks and snacks, we headed off to get some dinner at Cesare.
Cesare was a fancy little restaurant right near the top of San Marino, and just a short walk from our B&B. Melissa had reserved a table right against the windows to get a view of the country below. It was perfect for a birthday dinner. We started off with some Aperol Spritz’s, because when in San Marino…
We each had the set menu for dinner and the food was absolutely delicious. We ate far too much food, and I wasn’t even hungry enough for dessert. I wasn’t going to order anything, and all of a sudden the waitress came over with a chocolate lava cake with a firework coming out of the top. It was amazing! I had an idea it was for me from across the room when she started coming over and the sparkler was going nuts. It was very cool.
We enjoyed the dessert at Cesare, Melissa paid the bill (which I’m sure wasn’t cheap), and then we had a nice walk home. It is cold here at night, but not too bad coming from Scotland. We are back at the B&B now feeling far too full, but very content. We are supposed to have a breakfast prepared tomorrow morning by Fabrizio but I’m not convinced we are going to be hungry at all in about eight hours. I guess we’ll find out!