European Vacation – August 18

The plan today is to spend an hour or two at the beach at Campora, then have lunch at Flori’s cousin (in the garage), do a little more visiting, then return to Cosenza, return the rental van, squeeze in a couple more visits, and then try to get to bed for an early train ride to Rome tomorrow.

We drop Flori off at his cousins (he has business to do regarding the selling of his land) and head to the beach. There’s a long line up of cars stretching almost from Falerna to Campora, all heading to the same place, a stretch of beach. We find our own spot just south of Campora and staked out our little area.

My previous experience with swimming in the ocean has primarily been in the Pacific, off the coasts of BC/Washington/Oregon/California. The Pacific is cold, and the color is usually an angry grey/green color. The Mediterranean is a deep blue, and is much warmer. The stretch of beach we found was part of a mostly unbroken stretch going from Amantea in the North to far south of Falerna. The beaches were punctuated along the way to numerous small resort towns, the historic buildings fighting for space with the new resort villas that were popping up everywhere. This area boasted what are probably the best beaches in Italy, and the government has been aggressively promoting tourism in the area. The results can be seen in the string of hotels that now line the beaches. The only negative was that when the rails were laid for the trains, the engineers obviously followed the path of least resistance and chose the flat ground beside the beaches. This means that most of the resort towns are separated from the beaches by the tracks that run down the west side of Italy.

The kids and I got our feet wet (actually, one surprise wave pretty much doused us from head to toe) and soaked up the sunshine and the Mediterranean for 90 minutes, then we headed back to rejoin Flori for lunch. By the time we arrived, the table was groaning under the load, with huge dishes of pasta, eggplant casserole, deep fried pumpkin flowers (very tasty, believe it or not), stewed beef (cooked in the sauce), homemade sausage, tomato salad and homemade olives. It was all incredible. For some reason, food in Italy just tastes better. I’m not sure if it’s the atmosphere, the freshness, or some trick of the senses, but I didn’t question, I just enjoyed.

After a little more visiting, we headed back to the hotel, where we were to head out for one more visit. But for me, the last 2 and a half weeks suddenly caught up with me and I hit my bed, unable to arise. Flori and Anna headed out, as the Hotchkisses watched a little more Italian television and called it an early night.

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