I was up early on the 31st of October, for I was not sure how complicated the journey would be to get to San Marino. My main reason for going there was that it was yet another country, and the only small one in Europe which I had not as yet visited.

It is the fifth smallest country in the world, the third smallest in Europe after the Vatican City and Monaco, and since I had not stayed overnight in either of those I thought I should spend a night in this one. Sensibly I booked in advance, a bit worried about access to the hotel, but was reassured to find it was on the route of the bus to the city state.

After a very satisfying breakfast at the hotel I took an early train to Rimini, and found a tourist office at the station which sold tickets for the bus to San Marino. It left from a little way outside, and I asked the driver to stop at the hotel so I could leave my luggage there, but he forgot so I arrived in San Marino with the bag. But fortunately a little café by the bus station agreed to keep it while I explored.

This was just as well, for after that it was uphill all the way. You entered the walled city through St. Francis Gate where a wonderfully active policeman who was still there six hours later stopped traffic for pedestrians to cross. Close enough was the State Museum in a former palace, and then there was the grand if very small Public Palace. What they had within was delightful to view, but one felt very much in Toytown.

Then it was up to the St. Martin Cathedral and high up after that to the first great tower of the city, with great views to the deep valley below, and also to the hills on the other side of the town. The second and third towers however I thought beyond me, so having wandered through the pleasant garden beyond the tower I headed down, taking in further toytown museums on the way, of tedious modern art, of fascinating stamps which brought back memories of the joy of San Marino stamps in my brief stamp collecting days, and then a delightful museum of religious art housed in the cloister of what was now a nunnery. I was walking very slowly by then, and the helpful attendant told me I reminded him of his father, who was almost eighty.

And then, chastened, I made my way down to the bus station where I collected my bag and had a beer and a quick snack, fearful the bus would leave though the helpful bartender assured me it would wait for me. So it did, for it was full so there was a second, San Marino having been full of tourists, most of them Italian it seemed, accompanied often by dogs if not children.

And then I was dropped at the hotel I had booked, a few kilometres from town. I had kept going all day, but collapsed after I was in my room, and decided to forget about dinner, contenting myself with peanuts and the always handy Toblerone I had brought.

Once again, a host of pictures, the view from the top and the parliament chamber, the cathedral and the tower, three splendours from the state museum and two from the stamps and coins one, four of the museum of religious art including the cloister and its ancient ceiling, the entrance gate and then the sun setting as I went down the hill, the sun rising next morning from my hotel.

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