Friday, August 24, 2007

Story of Our Family Trip to Italy Part Two

Part Two of a Series

[The rest of these articles will be using the text of the original email I had written back in October 2005.]

Hello all! This is a short novel about our trip to Italy. (You've been warned.) I tried to write a few notes each day of what we did, so I'd be able to remember. You may be sorry I did. :) We left for our adventure on Thursday, Sept 1st, [from Richmond International Airport] and arrived in Rome [at Fiumicino] on Friday morning because of the time change. We had a driver there to pick us up--my parents, Eddie, Emily (8 ½), and Thomas (5 ½), and myself.

When we got to our apartment in Gaeta (really the area of Gaeta we were in is called Serapo), my oldest cousin, Franco, and his mother, Elisa, (my mom's sister) were there to welcome us and give us the keys to the apartment. They'd bought food and stocked the kitchen, provided sheets and all the other things we were going to need to begin with, so it was nice to just unpack and start eating. :)

Here's a map of Gaeta, and this shows the larger area, including Rome, Naples and Cassino.

Some pictures of the apartment. Click on images to enlarge.
The kitchen--tiny refrigerator, and the gas stove utilized a bombola or "little bomb," a propane tank which was kept out on the balcony on the other side of the doors you see here, with a gas line through the wall. They tend to be a bit paranoid about the "bomb" going off! Notice anything missing? You basically washed the floor every time you showered.
There were two balconies, this one starts at the back bedroom, goes past the next bedroom, and then to the kitchen. All the rooms had double doors that opened out onto the balcone. It was great to have the clothes lines to hand our towels and swim suits on.
This is the back bedroom, the one Eddie and I used. Those wooden slatted screens, serrande, do nothing to keep mosquitoes out, by the way. Ask me how I know.
This was the room next to ours, which the kids used.

On Saturday we were ready to visit the beach! We visited one of the public access spots, where you could rent umbrellas and chairs if you wanted to. It was really crowded still--schools didn't start till around the 12th-14th, and it varied by locality, so there were lots of tourists from other parts of Italy there. It was very hot the whole first week of our trip, but then cooled a little and was really nice the rest of the time. Emily sent her first postcard that day, which only arrived a couple days ago. :) [A month later, by that time.]
On Sunday we decided to try the private beach "next door." In Italy, businesses rent or buy a section of the beach and set up a large snack bar close to the road, then they have rows of neatly placed umbrellas with two lounge chairs and a captain's chair. When you go there, you rent your spot for a fee each day, or you could rent by the week or the month (we went to Lido Miramare). Hard to imagine, so I'll post some pictures.
Anyway, this is the way to go, if you don't mind the fee, about 15 Euros for the day, maybe 10 if you arrive in the afternoon, and more if you want extra chairs. The beach in front is still public, to the high tide mark I guess, and the water is, too, of course. The water was shallow for many yards out. I walked really far and was still only in up to my waist or a little higher, which makes it great for small kids. And the water was really calm--no huge waves like we're used to in the Atlantic. It's also about 3 times as salty, and warm. And very clear--we could see the seabed really well.

The sand was very fine, and there were few shells, and hardly any fish in the water. Different from what we were used to. My cousin Franco and his wife Marina, and my two aunts, Elisa and Wanda, came for lunch that day, and Franco and Marina went back to the beach with us.

Part three tomorrow.

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