Friday, August 27, 2010
A day at the beach
I have been wanting to go to the beach for quite awhile. I have been talking about it and planning on going, but just hadn't actually gone yet. Today, I set my alarm to get up early, got on an early train to Viareggio, and spent the day at the beach.
Viareggio happens to be the same seaside town that Justin and I went to back in February for Carnevale. It is completely different in the summer. Also, while Nadine and Simon were visiting in May, we spent a day at the beach here.
I had such a nice relaxing day at the beach today. I should have done this much sooner. Now the summer is winding down, and I don't know how many more chances I will have for beach days as the weather cools down.
Going to the beach in Viareggio is much different than going to an American beach. Here, almost all of the beaches are private. You can't just lay down your towel where ever you feel like it. You have to rent a beach chair for the day from one of the many private beach clubs. In Viareggio, there is a tiny area sectioned off for a public beach, but it is literally only about 20 feet wide, and people are packed in. It is a much nicer beach experience to pay 5 euros for a chair and umbrella and a little bit of personal space.
So, I spent the day sitting in my beach lounger, reading a book, listening to music, and watching the waves. I took a few breaks to go swimming in the sea, which was just the right temperature to be refreshing and cool you off, but not too cold that you don't want to jump right in. I also had the perfect lunch at one of the beach clubs of spaghetti alle vongole (spaghetti with clams, one of my favorite pasta dishes) with a nice glass of white wine followed by an ice cream sandwich back on the beach. (It's kind of funny, whenever I go to the beach in California, I ALWAYS want a hot dog, but here, I always want fresh seafood with garlicky, spicy pasta. Italy wins, sorry hot dogs.) After lunch, more swimming, reading, and relaxing.
Another thing about the beach going experience here, there are always people walking around trying to sell things. There are guys selling sunglasses (reasonable at the beach) but I also saw another guy selling puffy, down winter jackets (and a few ladies interested in buying them. I guess they were a good deal?) At the beach you can buy knock-off designer bags, clothing, shoes, food, jewelry, beach toys, and even massages. Yep, a nice Asian lady was walking around offering her masseuse services, so I thought why not? So for 15 Euro, I got a full body 30 minute massage right on my beach chair in front of the Mediterranean Sea.
Life is good here. :)