Day 290 - Driving a Deserted Coast

Trip Start Jan 10, 2011
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Trip End Jan 08, 2012


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Where I stayed
Adriatico Hotel

Flag of Italy  , Marche,
Friday, October 28, 2011

After a VERY skimpy breakfast (a cold croissant and an espresso) we embarked on a long day of driving up the east coast on the secondary highway.  This not only avoided the expensive tolls but allowed us to at least see some of the natural & urban scenery.  We needed to cover some distance in order to give us time for our tour around northern Italy.  

SIGHTS & SOUNDS:
Much of the mid to northern east coast is a hotspot for Italian and international tourism.  However we were one of the only people around.  We were surprised as it wasn’t THAT cold but enjoyed the odd serenity and the feeling that the area had almost been ‘abandoned’ (at least for the season).  Before dinner, we went for a run along the beach and out to the end of the pier.  Eli took a quick dip into the Adriatic Sea (the water was warm and much so compared to the chilly air) to cool off before we went back to our hotel.

FOOD & DRINK:
For lunch Mia had 'pollo apanatto con spinaci' (breaded chicken with spinach) which was about as close as possible to her Nonna’s quality: high praise indeed!  For dinner we had a picnic in our room overlooking the vacant beach pleasently lit by streetlights.  We split some Lasagne & Mousaka we bought from a Bulgarian woman at a small kiosk on the deserted beach street.  This was the same name as a meat, cheese & eggplant dish we had in Greece and we think perhaps a general description for a ‘casserole’.  We also picked up some wine at the store.  For 3 Euros (less than $5 CDN) we had a wonderful Italian chianti!

HISTORY:
The area has been really developed and was the first area of Italy that had hardly anything of historical interest (there were of course the standard castle looking buildings on distant hills as are visible nearly everywhere).  However, the railway lining much of the route was old (i.e. recent history) and unfortunately a blight on the view from the road not to mention a significant restriction on access to the beautiful coast.  The flip side is that the views from the train would be great.

CULTURE:
The restaurant where we stopped was very local – a necessity being open in this, the off-season.  The ambience was blue collar and although they had lots on the menu, they were only serving a few items.  Not the friendliest service we’ve experienced.  Much more matter of fact, although not specifically rude.

EXPECTED:
The coast was very nice despite the overcast weather and rain.  We are also getting the hang of the driving ‘habits’ of local maniacs.

UNEXPECTED:
It was much colder than we thought.  Perhaps because of this or just seasonally, virtually ALL the hotels were shut down (we only found 3 that were open in a 2km stretch of beachfront).  On a pleasent note, the proprietor at our hotel offered to do our laundry for us – free of charge!  In fact, his mom ended up doing it by hand and though it wasn’t dry when we left the next day it was a refreshingly generous interaction.

However, the most unexpected thing we experienced were "The Ladies of the Afternoon".  Initially, we thought it strange seeing first young and then not so young women loitering at random places along the road.  After seeing a few of these "Ladies" we realized they were waiting in islolated areas, off the main roads, near industrial areas.  On closer inspection their outfits were more provocative than we first realized and it became apparent that these were 'working girls'.

ALSO:
In the peak summer season,even in the shoulder seasons, this area must be completely swarmed with tourists who fill the (now mostly closed) hotels lining the long & deep beaches.

We are looking forward to heading west tomorrow and into Tuscany!
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