Happy May Day! I’ll be honest, it was a little more (or less) happy here! In Italy, May 1st is also Labor Day and everyone takes the day off to be with their families, hit the beach, whatever. On the down side, everyone takes the day off and practically nothing is open – you’ll be lucky to find an open bar for your morning espresso!
Today was gorgeous – we took the train from Chieti to Pescara and from Pescara to Vasto, a small seaside town an hour or so away. We arrived just after 11h00 and immediately hit the beach, walking along the shallows for over an hour before deciding to head up to the town itself. Now, we were too cheap/lazy to find a bus, buy a ticket and deal with all of that so we elected to walk up the mountain. Yes, mountain. It took us an hour, in sundresses, sandals and 75F sun-shining weather, but we did make it, and only mildly dehydrated/sunburnt at that. We walked around Old Vasto for a few hours, grabbing lunch at a charming local restaurant (okay, it was our only choice – nothing was open) where we feasted (okay, not really) on local Pecorino cheese and a balsamic reduction, a salad for myself and pasta for the girls. This not-quite-epic lunch was, however, followed by the most amazing gelato ever (not to mention cheap! €1.80/medium aka 3 flavors mounded into a giant cup). Of course, I got hazelnut, coffee and dark chocolate — how can you go wrong! — but the vanilla, coconut/dark chocolate as well as lemon and cherry/cream were apparently excellent as well.
We meandered our way down the mountain, past orange trees and farms, along the highway, through the new part of town, past the old train station and back to the beach. We walked the boardwalk on our way back to the (new) train station, picking up some souvenirs along the way (I found adorable wood earrings and Gina found a bouquet of 15 hand-woven silk flowers). We headed back to the train station, walking past restaurants and hotels we had passed that morning, enjoying the cool breeze and warm afternoon sun. We ended up taking the 18h41 train back to Pescara – no big deal, there were two more that ran that night, one at 20h00 and one at 22h00. However, in the process of booking our tickets from Pescara to Chieti, we were confronted with the realization that there were no more trains that evening – the last one left Pescara at 18h00 and there would not be any more until tomorrow morning. We were a little concerned, but Pescara is not far from Chieti and our hosts had encouraged us to just take the bus anyway – so we would do that.
An hour and a half later, we pull into Pescara Centrale – pleasantly sunburnt (I daresay) and ready to head home for dinner. We visit the newsstand/bus-ticket-purveyor in the lobby only to hear that there are also no more buses tonight. Great. We had to call Tony. 20 minutes later, Tony pulls up in the rickety (albeit stable) Fiat Punto we have become so accustomed to and we take off, once again at breakneck speed, through Pescara, along the turnpike and back to Chieti. Fortunately, we leave early tomorrow morning (9h39) and will be back in Rome in the afternoon, just in time for… oh wait. It will be Sunday. Like good roommates, we cleaned out all of our perishables before leaving the apartment for three days; like unadvised foreigners, we didn’t set anything aside because we didn’t know any better. At least there’s Monday!
View of the Adriatic Sea and the Beach from Old Vasto – see that skinny little dock? That’s the pier in the previous photograph.