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Maria & Brett's HUGE Trip 06-07-08-09-? ok, so the Socceroos lost in 'that' penalty against Italy; Adriatic summers aren't long enough (bliss!); and we found that you should never use the term "Eastern Bloc" when talking to a Czech (Central Europe, please).

San Marino MotoGP - one year on!

SAN MARINO | Wednesday, 10 September 2008 | Views [1924]

Same square... Didn't want to leave!!

Same square... Didn't want to leave!!

How quickly does a year go! We returned to Italy at the end of August for the 2nd San Marino MotoGP - which happened to fall on the same day as my b'day (could celebrate it in worse ways!).

True to form, Italy again served up delicious meal after meal (I'm homesick for the food already!) soaked in Adriatic olive oil and complemented by home grown chillies and wine, and bathed us all in balmy sunshine and 35-degree blue skies.

I was expecting a carbon copy of last year (you know, same hotels, same circuit etc) but we enjoyed a different race result - this time it was Casey Stoner who crashed out and allowed Valentino Rossi to take the checkered flag, a complete role reversal from last year - and instead of visiting the Ducati factory (closed for summer break!) we took a drive up to the Most Serene Republic of San Marino (real name) which gives its namesake to the San Marino MotoGP which actually takes place down the road in Italy.

San Marino is perched high up on a rocky crag which overlooks the coastline as if keeping an eye on the happenings down below. Although it was settled by an outlawed Croatian stonemason and his 'mate' in 300AD or so, its humble beginnings have given rise to one of the wealthiest nations - no doubt due to its tax-free status (bargains galore) and gorgeous narrow streets lined by old-style villas and state buildings - all of which now sprout a boutique shop or cafe or even a place where you can buy guns or cross-bows or AK-47 replicas... mental!

Of course I saw it all through a clouded zambucca-induced haze from b'day celebrations the night before, after the GP race. All thanks to a couple of aussie cousins from Perth who now work in mines in Karratha WA - who thought it would be a good idea to not only buy me a drink over dinner but a whole bottle of the stuff which tasted just oh-so good! Thankfully I was lucky to have shared the night and the bottle with a whole bunch of wonderful people we'd just met over the GP weekend: a newly-wed couple, Steve and Annie from Las Vegas, who are now on our map of must-visit friends across the world; a couple of Scottish lads who took rooms in the schmickest 5* hotel in town (lamborghinis and Rolls' out the front) and spent the whole weekend paying off the hotel staff to play tricks on each other - including emptying out the other's room of all his stuff while he took a shower so he'd have to come down to reception in a bathrobe. The staff made a fortune in 50 EUR bribes...

By the time we boarded our pane back to Prague on Monday night at 9pm we were walking zombies but full of that post-GP glow which you only get after being a part of the highest-level of motorcycle racing, all in a place and with other people that you can't experience every other day.

PS, check out this video of Eugene Laverty breaking in his leathers Irish-style (and look out for British GP winner, Scott Redding) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKQ6rMWYKDw

Our photos: http://journals.worldnomads.com/maria_brett/gallery/12943.aspx


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