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The caves of Frasassi and a quick visit to San Marino

Home -> Europe -> Italy -> Travelogue Italy -> 04 June 2004

Friday 04 June, the caves of Frasassi and a quick visit to San Marino

The tent is still dry because it remained in the car, but the bed was incredibly hard. Then our airbed is a lot nicer and also there are no mosquitoes in the inner tent. So everything has pros and cons. Although we want to drive a long way to the north, we also want to see the caves of Frasassi which should be very beautiful.
Picknick near the cavesAfter an hour we arrive there, just too late for the tour and we have to wait for half an hour. So we take timne to have a picknick. The entrance fee is € 11 (per person) but both the waiting as the price are really worth it.
The Frasassi caves The Frasassi cavesIt is a pity that we are not allowed to take pictures, but we bought some postcards so we scanned a few pictures of these impressive caves later on the website.
The parking lot lies almost 2 km. from the entrance from the cave and there we also have to buy tickets. A bus takes us to the entrance and from there we woalk 200 meters through an artificial tunnel to the largest cavehall of Europe, more than 200 meters high. It is almost too big to imagine the size of it; a lot of Italian cathedrals would fit in this space with ease. It is not only huge, but also splendid with beautiful stalagmites (standing) and stalactites (hanging). We have seen more big halls in caves but they were mostly empty while this one is full of natural beauty, dripstones in all shapes and sizes.
The Frasassi caves The Frasassi cavesThe caves were found in 1971 and opened to the public in 1981. The guided tour takes more than one hour and a lot of information is told. We are with a group of twelve people, Americans, Germans and we and the guide tells everything in English and German. The Italian groups that we come across now and then consist of 50 to 80 people, so we are much better off. Still, a pity that we aren't allowed to take photographs... it is all so very beautiful and impressive. It was the detour more than worth.
San Marino San MarinoThen we quickly head north again for our next stop at San Marino to add another country to our list and have a cup of coffee. But no chance for that, since it is so crowded and no places to park the car. Police officers are busy giving tickets to wrongly parked cars and we don't want to take that chance. We turn into a somewhat quieter street and just stop to make a few pictures.
After driving around for some time we give up looking for a parking place, it is just too busy. The capital of this dwarf state, also called San Marino, lies at the top of a mountain but the rest of the country is rather dull, mainly luxury shops and very touristic. The only thing we know about it is that it is a republic claiming to be the oldest of Europe (from the 3rd century AD). We will find out more about it later, especially why it didn't merge into Italy when all the other several states choose to become part of one big republic country.
After this short visit we return to the highway to get some kilometers on the counter. It becomes busier and busier, especially when we come further north. Only at half past 8 we arrive at the place where we have chosen a campsite, just before Triste. A bungalow has to be hired for at least 3 nights so in the shortest time ever we set up our tent and then go to the restaurant to have a drink. It is time for a holiday!


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