Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Marina 'd Pietrasanta--Good Choice!

June 15, 2005, 6:37 pm, Marina 'di Pietrasanta, Italy

I’m sitting out on the terrace in front of the hotel, enjoying the sunshine and the quiet. The only sound is occasional passing traffic, the chirp of birds and the soft tap of my Alpha Smart.

The weather today was somewhat “iffy.” We had a couple of passing showers, one of them which lasted long enough that we took refuge on the terrace of a seaside ristorante; Kathy ordered red wine and I had Italian beer, a taste I’m growing to quite like. We were a little unnerved when the waiter brought us a small bowl of olives, a basket of potato chips and then a plate of hot herbed bread that tasted like a pizza without sauce and cheese. Delicious! But we were really nervous about how much our bill would be. It was that upscale. We figured that they’d tack on one of their huge cover charges, and I’m sure they did, but we were pleasantly surprised when the check came to only ten Euros. I broke my last 50E, so I guess I’m going to have to find a bank and get some more cash. (The waiter told us we could charge it, but had to spend a minimum of 50 Euros. Very, very helpful.)

Once we finished our drinks, the rain had stopped, so we started walking again. Marina 'd Pietrasanta is a pretty little beach town, but I’m surprised that there are so few shops and relatively few restaurants—at least within walking distance. I guess I won’t be buying any Bunco gifts here. We are going to try a real restaurant tonight, meaning we aren’t eating pizza. I want pasta and wine. I don’t think, though, we’re going to find one of those 4-course Tuscan meals that are supposed to be so great. That will have to wait for Siena and Florence.

We’re hoping the weather will be really nice tomorrow and Friday so we can laze around on the beach or at least at the swimming pool. It has to be perfect before I’ll go to the beach, though. The beach across from the hotel is private, and if we want to go there, we have to rent chairs and an umbrella at the “nice discount” of 22 Euros. The “nice discount” comes from one of the hotel people. They might as well charge admission to the beach! Sometimes, I really miss America and American ways. There is, supposedly, a free beach somewhere way the hell down the strand, but damn it, I paid for this hotel room, I should be able to go to the beach across from it! Damn, Italy is expensive! Greece was a bargain compared to here. Especially when it comes to dining out. Much as I’m enjoying this trip, I don’t think I want to come to Italy again. I take that back; I’d definitely go back to Venice. I don’t feel like I got enough of it.

Anyway, I’m glad we came here. It’s a million times better than Sestriere. I did lose that $50 I spent to reserve a tour of “The Last Supper” in Milan, but oh, well. There was no way in hell we were getting on a train today after that nightmare of a trip yesterday. I’m considering it a donation to the museum. I would’ve liked to have seen the painting, of course, just as I would’ve liked to have seen the replica of “the Shroud of Turin,” but it wasn’t worth the inconvenience. I’m just sorry I reserved the tickets in the first place. That extra fifty would come in handy right now.

Kathy and I have made a vow, though. We’re never coming to Europe again if we have to worry about money. It takes a lot of the fun out of it. So…I guess I’m just going to have to hope that CHOCOLATE ON A STICK makes me a lot of money or that I have a big contract offer from Mira when I get home.

It could happen, couldn’t it? (NOTE: It didn't; I'm still waiting to hear from Mira. Maybe my submission fell into one of those infamous publishing black holes.) I never stop believing in miracles, and I hope I never do.


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