San Marino is reputed to be the oldest constitutional republic in the world, having been founded in around 300AD. It is a tiny country but fascinating with its castle and towers. Being some 700m up on a craggy hilltop, The views across to the Adriatic were stunning. They even mint their own Euro coins and have a standing army of a thousand soldiers. We caught a bus there from Rimini for €5 each way and as it was only 25km away, took less than an hour.
We decided that we would make our way to Venice on the Monday morning so headed into town on the Sunday evening for a meal and a sunset drink. The food wasn’t great but the sunset was breathtaking. We could catch a chain ferry from just outside the marina across the canal for less than an Euro and it saved us at least a couple of miles if we’d gone round by road. Rimini is very much geared to tourists and beaches although the old part of town had some lovely architecture and dates back to Roman times.
It is also a cycling haven. Everyone seems to cycle and they all have these retro ‘sit up and beg’ types. Our little fold up bikes seemed inconsequential by comparison but at least no one wanted to nick them!
As Venice is 80nm away from Rimini, it meant an early start on Monday morning to take advantage of the tide and also get there in daylight as navigating the Venice Lagoon can be challenging. We slipped our mooring just after 6am and quietly left the marina. The wind was behind us so although we had 10-14 knots of wind, it wasn’t quite enough to give us the 6 knots we needed to average to get to Venice by 8pm. So, as is the way in the Med, we had to motor sail the whole way although we did end up surfing down some great waves on the final leg of the journey.
We arrived at the entrance to the lagoon at 7pm and by 8.30pm we were safely moored up on Certosa Island. It is reclaimed marshland and has its fair share of mosquitoes come dusk. Liz got bitten to death that first night so I had to go to the marina office to check in and get the electricity turned on. Luckily, it was dark by then so not as bad. It is incredibly quiet on the island and a welcome relief from all of the hustle and bustle of central Venice.
We plan to stay here until Friday when we will cross to Croatia in time for our first guests.