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29 – 30 April 2017

We got up at 7 and left at 9 for 15k flat/downhill and 8k uphill to San Marino. I knew, San Marino is around 650m elevation, so I calculated it would be a steep climb but as it turned out this elevation is the citadel/fortress, while the rest of San Marino is some hundred metres lower. Still a decent climb but no problem taking about an hour. It was overcast and on the way up, we had a couple of showers.

We arrived at Guido’s at 12.30 – quickly settling in and showering (long overdue) before driving up to the citadel where we met another of his guests Natella. Luckily, the weather had improved, so it was a pleasure walking around with Guido for some hours and by ourselves for 3 hours. An impressive fortification with an incredible location – with its splendid walls, towers, turrets and views, it felt like a fairy tale. Surprisingly touristic considering the time of year, so we were very happy not to be visiting during peak season. Fortunately, most people never left the central part of the citadel, so the further away we walked the less people. In the evening, we did our (also long overdue) laundry in a nearby laundromat and had a delicious dinner with interesting conversations.

After breakfast on another beautiful day, we drove back up to the citadel and visited the parliament, tower 2, several museums and churches – a bit unusual, it’s free when going with a local. More importantly however is the local perspective, and Guido happily shared stories and his knowledge about the country’s history. Before heading back and leaving at 15, we had time for pizza and ice cream. It was the shortest and most efficient couchsurfing experience I’ve had, and the compressed 27 hours felt like many days.

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