By Sage Murthy and Jamie Haenisch
Special to the Outlook
Editor’s note: Sage Murthy and Jamie Haenisch of San Marino, 5th-graders at Valentine Elementary School, visited the Republic of San Marino on a trip to Europe with their families last summer. The girls wrote an article about their experience, which the Outlook is pleased to publish.
Did you know that there’s another San Marino out there? Well, there is. In the middle of Italy, there is a small country called San Marino. In fact, our city is named after it. That’s why we made it a point to visit San Marino this past summer when we were in Italy.
San Marino is one of three city-states in the world surrounded by a country. Although San Marino is known as a city-state, it is a country. It is the only surviving Italian microstate, and is the second-least-populated country in Europe. San Marino is also the world’s fifth-smallest country, and its residents claim it to be the world’s oldest surviving republic, since AD 301.
This charming city-state is a wonderful place to go for a vacation. We have a very interesting story that we would like to share with you.
We had booked two suites for one night in the Hotel Titano on top of the mountain in San Marino. The hotel suite was modern, had air conditioning, lush beds, a free-standing bathtub in the middle of a huge bathroom and amazing views all the way to the ocean. We both agree that of the whole vacation we had, the visit to San Marino was the best!
We recommend many things to do. First of all, you must see the castles, which are the main attraction (there are three, if you are wondering). The castles were built in medieval times. They were forts that protected San Marino from invaders. The forts held soldiers and weapons, such as cannons, swords and spears. Two of them are big, with walls, towers, a few rooms and courtyards, and one of them is a single tower, which can only reached by a long hiking trail.
Now, let’s get to the more modern part of the trip. Jamie saw a seriously creepy vampire museum (recommended if you’re not scared easily; not recommended if you are scared easily). It was filled with vampires, people without heads, people drinking blood and other poor victims caught by vampires. The statues were made out of wax, but their eyes seemed so real that Jamie’s brother ran out of the museum faster than you can say vampires.
On the way up to the castles at the top of the mountain, the walking street was lined with many shops on both sides, such as souvenir shops, clothing shops, cafes and restaurants. There were also some out-of-the-ordinary weapon shops. Yes, they sold all kinds of guns, swords, arrows, bows and crossbows. At one point, we walked into one of these shops and were rudely shoved out by the owner. She wagged her finger in our faces and told us to get out. We were offended because she treated us like 3-year-olds. Nevertheless, the people of San Marino are mostly friendly. They open humble shops and sell things for good prices.
After a long, fun day, when we were getting into our comfy beds, we heard music and saw colorful lights in the city. There was a DJ on the street playing loud music, and people were dancing in the street. We did not recognize the music, even though the songs were in English. One song kept repeating “D-I-S-C-O.” We didn’t find this annoying because it helped us fall asleep.
All in all, we conclude that our sister country is the best place to go for vacation. Well, all except the part where Jamie threw up on the way to San Marino. Yeah, that was bad. Heh, heh — now, remembering that makes us crack up.