in San Marino this year
It’s been three years since I pressed publish on the very first post of The Red Phone Box travels. And here I am still blogging about my travels (and occasionally about my life & baby). THANK YOU for sticking around!:) Thank you for all your wonderful comments and likes and shares whether you’re following my blog via WordPress or as an email subscriber or if you’re following me on Bloglovin‘. Thank you also for following my blog on its social media channels Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ . Cheers to you all!
What has happened in my third year of travel blogging? Well, a bit of travel and a whole lot of everything else!:) I was pregnant and then I gave birth and now I spend my days chasing after an adorable and already mischievous 9 and a half month old baby who crawls at the speed of light! But hey, I can’t complain!:) You can find a few baby posts on my blog but it is still very much a travel blog where I share stories from my past and current travels. Some of my posts are more personal while some are more informative but I enjoyed writing them all. Since we’ve become a family we went on several trips with our baby boy V. We visited a lot of places in Croatia but I haven’t blogged about that. I did blog about our first day trip abroad to Udine in Italy and I still need to finish all my posts about our amazing trip to wonderful but tiny San Marino.
My baby boy V. is 9 months old. Whaaaat? Yes, I can’t believe it too. The pregnancy seemed to drag on forever but these past 9 months have gone by so fast. A blink of an eye and he has changed from a sleepy newborn to active and strong baby. This made me think of my babymoon last August. I didn’t travel internationally during my pregnancy apart from a day trip to Italy with my best friend. Instead my husband and I made lots of day trips locally and we also took several weekend trips.
I really wanted to go away somewhere by the end of my pregnancy so after some serious thinking and some luck I found a great deal for a lovely apartment in Gorski kotar region of Croatia. Now, Gorski kotar is fondly nicknamed little Switzerland because it’s an area full of forests and mountains and it’s rich in wildlife. Gorski kotar is totally off the beaten path destination in Croatia unlike its coast.
the view of the main square in Borgo Maggiore from San Marino City
Borgo Maggiore is one of the nine municipalities called castelli in the Republic of San Marino. It’s actually the second largest municipality in the republic and its main market town. Borgo Maggiore and San Marino historic centers together with Mount Titano are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2008.
We stayed in San Marino City and thoroughly explored it (still need to blog about it ) but I also visited Borgo Maggiore. You can admire the main square of Borgo Maggiore from the viewing point next to the cable car station in San Marino City. Besides, you actually drive through Borgo on your way to San Marino City high up on Mount Titano. However, I really enjoy cable car rides so I decided to go down to Borgo Maggiore for a short walk while my husband and the baby stayed in San Marino. Plus, it was nice to have some alone time.
taking the cable car down from San Marino City to Borgo Maggiore
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)
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.
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.