Never trust Italian trains...
Trip Start Jul 30, 2011
27Trip End Oct 28, 2011
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The first leg to Ancona was fine. Of course the only trains that take bikes are the slow ones and this was a route `I'd taken before in 2005 when I'd unwisely decided to spend my birthday in Rimini - which turned out to be a bad mistake....
Anyhow, the train chuntered past Rimini and down the coast past miles of beaches with 20-deep lines of umbrellas and beds. Holidaymakers got on and off, quite a few with bicycles - most of whom were clearly day-trippers jumping down the coast. All the time there seemed to be a contingent of African traders with bigs bags of goods they were obviously touting in different resorts
I only had an 8-minute change at Ancona, but the train I was catching to Pescara was 5 minutes late so I made it having to carry the fully-laded bike up and down the stairs between the platforms, and off we went....
About 30 minutes before Pescara the train came to a station and I knew there was a problem when the driver got out to have a smoke. Soon all the smokers on the train were on the platform and there was lots of conversation between the driver of our train and another train also stopped, and it was clear there was some sort of signal malfunction. I had a 13-minute change at Pescara, and as I stood puffing away I saw this evaporate. Luckily there was an Italian couple with bikes who were also travelling on to Termini - my next stop - and we discovered that we could catch a later train, so I relaxed until our train eventually drew away after a 45 minute delay.
Reaching Pescara, though, I discovered that there was no onward train (that could carry bikes) from Termini to Foggia (where I had my hotel-room booked) that evening. Te very helpful woman at the information desk told me it was best to stay in Pescara, and on leaving the station my heart dipped as I realised that Pescara is a seaside resort (I had done no research on the place as I hadn't expected to stop there...) and I worried that in August I wouldn't be able to find a room. There was a travel agent open outside the station and I went in and asked. The very unhelpful man said I should try the Esplanade, but refused to phone them to see if they had a room. I thought he was just trying to get rid of me, but I rode down there and found that (a) it was a nice hotel and (b) they had a room
After showering, I went out to explore. Pescara seems a bit up-market from my recollection of Rimini, but still with miles of umbrellas/beds 20 or 30 deep. Quite smart, with trendy bars and wide pedestrian areas, I found an excellent restaurant (Ristorante Marechiaro da Bruno) from Lonely Planet and had a very enjoyable evening surrounded by families and groups (all Italian - no sign of "foreigners").
The next morning I went and paddled in the (very warm) water and took a few photos before breakfast