Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Ahhhh...the Beach!

June 15, 2005, 12:40 PM, Marina di Pietrasanta, Italy

The good news is I’m in a much better mood. The bad news is…there is no bad news. (Okay, so that's good news, too.) We’re back to civilization! We’re staying at the Hotel Lombardi on the ocean…well, across the street from the ocean. It’s a four-star hotel—very nice rooms with a tiny veranda that has an ocean view across from the pool and some trees. The breakfast buffet this morning was absolutely wonderful! We even had our own coffee pot on the table—a real luxury here in Italy. And God, we were hungry.

We didn’t check into our hotel last night until 10:30!!! The hotelier told us there was a bistro about 300 meters down the road, but we were so exhausted, we just showered and then drank two beers from the minibar, and I ate some peanuts. Outrageously expensive, I know, but God, it was good! Especially the cold Italian beers.

We slept like the dead last night, and woke up about 8:15 this morning. After breakfast, we went for a walk. This is definitely a small beach town. We found a couple of tourist-like beach shops where I bought a pair of slides; my right foot has been giving me trouble since Venice, making it impossible for me to walk comfortably in any of the shoes I brought. The ones I bought at the beach shop are cute—a brown and beige snakeskin-like stuff, Italian-made, and they were on sale for 10 Euros. Not a bad deal.

We walked along the ocean side for a while and found a variety of restaurants for tonight. Prices are high, but I’ll probably just have wine, bread and pasta. Oh, and they all charge a cover for bread and water, usually about 2.50 Euros. Obviously, we won’t be tipping in Italy.

The sun is trying to peep through the clouds, and there are a few people on the beach. It’s getting warm, too. I was walking around comfortably this morning in my sleeveless dress. We walked through a park and saw the cutest baby geese with their mama. Got some cool pictures! Also, took a darling picture of a sweet little bambino in a stroller. As we were walking back past the canal where we saw the geese, we saw a baby stroller racing toward the water, and a man running after it. My heart almost stopped as it fell in, and another man downstream came running with a net. Luckily, though, it was just the stroller—no baby in it, thank God. I don’t know how it got away from the adults.

We just got back from our walk, and we’ve unpacked (since we’ll be here until Saturday) and now we’re trying to decide what to do this afternoon. Kathy wants to go into Pietrasanta and check out the town. That’s fine with me, but we need to either get a bus or walk. The taxi last night from the train station was 15 Euros—not as much as I thought it would be, anyway, but of course, they didn’t take credit cards. We need to find a bank so we can exchange some money. I’m down to 50 Euros.

But it’s so nice to be somewhere where it’s warm, where there are people, where there is activity! Where we can have a decent breakfast with lots of coffee!!!

As for train travel in Europe? All I can say is…I’ll never criticize Amtrak again.


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