A two-week trip to Bellaria took place in July 2003. It was my second travel abroad and the first visit in Italy and San Marino (in case of San Marino – the only one so far). It was also the second and so far the last long foreign travel without using of air transport, but only by car. During this trip I had the opportunity to pay in euro for the first time – this currency was then in use only for several months. This was also the first trip during which we had a digital camera, and this is why this report appears in the first order (no reference to Star Wars intended!).
The first day of the trip took over a 600-kilometer road to the place of the overnight accommodation – Mikulov in the Czech Republic near the border with Austria (and the European Union, which neither Poland nor the Czech Republic were yet members). The next day we drove through a number of well-known cities, but we did not stop in any of them, which in retrospect I regret – although otherwise we would not be able to travel about 900 km from Mikulov to Bellaria in one day.
We entered Austria early in the morning and traveled through Vienna and then Klagenfurt. Later we saw the picturesque Alps.
Before crossing the Italian border, we stopped briefly at Arnoldstein, close to the tripoint of Austria, Italy and Slovenia.
For some time, a further route led through the Carnic Alps, including many tunnels. In the end we left the mountains and through Padua we arrived at flat and burnt by the July sun plains by the River Po. We crossed the river and at the same time the border between the Veneto and Emilia-Romagna regions. Then we crossed or bypassed Ferrara, Bologna, Imola and Forli. In the fifteenth century, Forli was the seat of Catherina Sforza called “The Tiger from Forli”, whose turbulent fates I saw a few years later in “The Borgias” HBO series. Benito Mussolini also came from this area. In the evening, past Cesena and Santarcangelo di Romagna (a part of Tullio Avoledo’s book “Metro 2033: Le radici del cielo” takes place there), we finally reached Bellaria-Igea Marina by the Adriatic Sea. Bellaria and Igea Marina are the names of two districts located on opposite sides of the canal.
In Bellaria we spent most of the next two weeks, largely on the beach. It was then when I read “The Silmarillion” by J.R.R. Tolkien, and the book appealed to my imagination.
Bellaria is a typical Mediterranean resort – a lot of hotels and crowds of tourists walking around the promenades and feasting at numerous restaurants until late night. In one of those restaurants I had the opportunity to eat calzone for the first time. In the morning we were often woken by ships’ sirens.
We have also had several trips to the area. In retrospect, these trips are what I remember the best from that time and I will focus on them in further posts.