Italy & San Marino 2017

   March - April 2017

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Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma

Monday March 27th 2017

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I had not been to Italy for nearly 15 years. A phase in my life had occurred there which I did not want to revisit. So I would rather not have gone again. But, there was a conference outside Rome, which was so relevant to my research that I couldn't really avoid it. I decided to accept the hand that fate had dealt, and headed for the Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, outside the town of Frascati, where the conference was being held.

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Frascati

Thursday March 30th 2017

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All roads lead to Rome, they say. All the roads from a small town just outside Rome definitely do.

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Cathedral

Friday March 31st 2017

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Frascati wandering

Friday March 31st 2017

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Frascati is pretty small and I probably saw most of it. One of the positives of being back in Italy was that of course they really know how to make ice cream here. I probably also visited most of Frascati's gelaterias.

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San Marino

Saturday April 1st 2017

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After the conference was over, I got a train to Rimini. The target here was a visit to one of the very few countries in Europe that I had not been to before: the Most Serene Republic of San Marino. I got the bus up from the coast, and spent an afternoon wandering around.

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On the ramparts

Saturday April 1st 2017

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I had no particular plan for my time in San Marino. I headed for the highest place I could see, up on the ramparts of the city fortifications

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Seconda Torre

Saturday April 1st 2017

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The concept of San Marino seems a bit ridiculous if you haven't been there. But once I saw it in the distance from the bus on my way up from Rimini, it all made sense. Monte Titano is like an island in the sky, high above the surrounding plains, and you can see immediately why it ended up being a separate state. Building fortifactions along its sheer drop-offs hardly even seemed necessary.

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San Marino forests

Saturday April 1st 2017

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At the far end of the town from where I'd started, the path came off the ramparts and went into a forest. I followed it, unsure where it was going. After a few very rural minutes, I emerged back onto a road a few hundred feet downhill.

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Evening view over the republic

Saturday April 1st 2017

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I walked back along to the other end of the town. It was late evening and the sun was getting low. My big disappointment was that for no apparent reason, the battery I had brought with me for my camera would not charge up. I'd spent all week in Frascati trying to get it to work but without success. So all I had to record my visit to the (approximately) 78th country I've been to was my low-quality phone camera.

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Train to Ancona

Sunday April 2nd 2017

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My flight home was from Ancona. I'd flown from there once before, arriving late at night on a public holiday with barely any time left to make it to the airport. I'd got a taxi from the train station and the meter had ticked up at a ludicrous rate. The total wasn't so brutal, in the end, but the numbers on the meter changing faster than the numbers on a clock left me traumatised.

But that seemed a long time ago now. It was a sunny day as I headed down from Rimini.

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Ancona

Sunday April 2nd 2017

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Ancona wasn't much to shout about really. More of a place to pass through than to stop in. I'd have loved to be getting a ferry from here to somewhere on the other side of the Adriatic. But I had to defer that to some future trip.

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Early departure

Monday April 3rd 2017

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I normally consider that if you arrive at an airport or train station and you're not frantic and perspiring, then you left too early. But in Ancona, train schedules demanded that I arrived at the airport either three hours before or shortly after departure. I picked the former. So on a cool overcast morning, I got out of Italy. It wasn't such an unpleasant return but I was still happy to be leaving.

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