Paddington bear, London

My quirky London moments

Over the past 11 years and my numerous visits to London I’ve seen and done more or less all the major touristy things. I’m a creature of habits when it comes to London so no trip to London is complete without seeing some of my old favourites such as Big Ben and the Tower of London or having a drink in my favourite pub in Bayswater. However, London always surprises me with something new, be it a new free attraction or a starry encounter.

So, here’s a list of my quirky London moments

-almost bumping into actors Emma Thompson and Rowan Atkinson in the same day whilst wandering through Hampstead

-pretending to be in a Harry Potter movie at 9 3/4 platform at King’s Cross Station

-trying to find the London stone in the City Of London

-having my photo taken with Peter Pan in the Hyde Park

-searching for film locations from the Notting Hill film (the bookstore and Kenwood House among others)

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3 hours in Rimini, Italy

riminicastle
Sismondo Castle in Rimini

After we left San Marino we drove to Rimini. That was a short drive because Rimini is only 24km away from San Marino. I knew that Rimini is a popular Italian seaside town full of beach bars. However, we didn’t go to Rimini to spend some time at its long sandy beach but to see its castle and other interesting landmarks.

We found free parking in Rimini because I discovered a useful parking website which I bookmarked for future use but somehow I lost all my bookmarks the other day so I can’t share that website with you. From the free car park we walked for less than 15 minutes to the Malatesta Castle (Castel Sismondo). On our way to the castle we went through the Roman arch, Porta Montanara. That was our first glimpse of Roman Rimini. We were also close to the ruins of the Roman Amphitheater during our walk around Rimini but we decided to skip it because we’d seen roman amphitheaters in better conditions elsewhere.

The Sismondo Castle was built in 15th century by Sigismondo Pandolfo, the most famous lord of Rimini. Unfortunately, like the castle in Imola this one was also closed (because it was Monday) so we only took some photos and headed towards the city center. There’s a big building site next to the castle and from what we read it’s the site of the new museum dedicated to Federico Fellini, probably the most famous Italian film director of all times.

riminisismondocastle

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Why we chose San Marino for our first family trip

in San Marino, May 2018

The usual advice for the first time travel with a baby is to either go somewhere you’ve been before and know quite well so you don’t feel pressure to see it all or to choose a relaxing holiday in the countryside or by the sea where you don’t have much going on so you can all relax and follow the baby’s usual schedule of feeding and sleeping times. But I wanted to go somewhere new, so that it’d be exciting for us all. I was reluctant to fly with my six and a half month old baby and felt that a road trip is a better solution for me. That decision ruled out a lot of places. Also, I thought that we shouldn’t drive for more than 5 or 6 hours in one direction. Salzburg was my initial idea but then I thought of Italy and chose Udine as our first day trip abroad. Suddenly it hit me: There’s a tiny country in the middle of Italy which I haven’t visited yet. San Marino! I quickly looked for accommodation options and read about sights in San Marino (haven’t found a lot of blog posts about it though) before I shared my decision with the husband. He too was more inclined to visit San Marino than to go to Austria because it meant that we get to visit a new country. Furthermore, there’s a rather surprising connection between Croatia and San Marino because San Marino was founded by Saint Marinus, a stonecutter from the island Rab in Croatia. Back then (4th century) Rab was a part of the Roman province of Dalmatia from where St.Marinus fled to Rimini before he founded San Marino on Mount Titano.

I always check the length of a road trip on Google maps and on ViaMichelin site and San Marino was exactly what I asked for:  five and a half hours drive. However, the actual trip lasted longer because we had to take more stops than I’d planned and we visited Imola on the way to San Marino. The return trip was a bit shorter because we didn’t have any car problems.  But we also visited Rimini before we headed home so again the trip lasted more than the initial assessment.

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San Marino

Snapshots from San Marino (May 2018)

City of San Marino, the capital of tiny San Marino country; this is the view of the first tower and the city center from the second tower

San Marino proved to be a great destination for our first proper trip as a family. We arrived to San Marino on Friday evening and left on Monday morning which meant that we had two full days to explore the City of San Marino, the capital of the Republic of San Marino.

San Marino is a tiny independent country in northern Italy close to the Adriatic Sea. It’s the third smallest country in Europe (after Vatican and Monaco) and the oldest republic in the world. There are no borders between Italy and San Marino. The official language is Italian and the currency is euro.

San Marino town is perched atop Monte Titano which is the highest peak in the country at 739 m above sea level. There are several settlements in San Marino country called castelli (castles) and they are: City of San Marino, officially Città di San Marino, Acquaviva, Borgo  Maggiore, Domagnano, Faetano, Fiorentino, Montegiardino, Serravalle and Chiesanuova. Actually we drove through several of these on our way up to San Marino town and I’ve also visited Borgo Maggiore.

Enjoy the photos of beautiful San Marino town, the capital of Republic of San Marino.

secondtowersanmarino

viewofthirdtower

firsttowersamarino

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Life & blog update: May 2018

hello from San Marino! now I just need to find time to blog about it 🙂

I’ve changed the name of my monthly blog overview post into Life & blog update because that title suits better the actual content of these monthly posts since I share in them snippets of my life and remind you of my published posts in the previous month.

May was a busy month. BBQs with friends, a couple of board gaming nights, drinks with my besties and a first dinner out with our baby. We were so lucky and got a waiter that entertained our baby boy during most of the meal. Our friend became a dad recently so we’re looking forward to meeting his baby girl.

Our baby boy V. is now almost 7 months old and he’s recently started crawling properly. But being a mum isn’t just about happy moments. My first ever Mother’s Day as a mum was a low point.

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3 hours in Imola, Italy

Imola, Italy
Imola’s castle Rocca Sforzesca

I’ve decided to visit Imola on our road trip to San Marino. It’s right on the way to San Marino so it’s a convenient stop but it wasn’t exactly half way on our route so stops at the service stations along the motorway were needed too. Unfortunately we also had a few problems on our way to Imola. Firstly, our baby’s music broke down and then we had a flat tyre just past Padua. My husband quickly changed it but he said that we’d need to fix it because apparently you can’t drive fast or too far with a spare tyre which meant that a visit to a garage in Imola was a must. Therefore, it took us much longer to reach San Marino in the end. However, our car problems didn’t deter us from our sightseeing plan of Imola and we firstly walked around and saw what I’d planned and then we sorted out the car.

Imola is a town in Emilia-Romagna region of Italy not far from Bologna which is considered to be the gastronomical center of Italy. Imola was famous for hosting the Formula One San Marino Grand Prix at its racecourse Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari. The F1 race of San Marino isn’t held anymore and nowadays Imola’s racecourse is used for car and motorbike races. It’s here that the famous F1 driver Ayrton Senna met his tragic end in 1994. Of course, we just had to visit the racecourse but our first stop was Imola’s Castle.

Imola's castle Rocca Sforzesca
Imola’s castle Rocca Sforzesca

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