Sunday, August 1, 2010

Tues 27- Fri 30 July-VIAREGGIO

Today we ventured out of the city to Viareggio (on the Tuscan coast near Pisa and Lucca) on the train from Santa Maria Novella Stazione in Florence. We packed one small suitcase and the boys had a small backpack each with their games and our lunch and drinks in them.
The train ride was only an hour and a half and quite comfortable in the 2nd class carriage.
We did not know about validating our tickets so it was a bit of a shock when we got a fine for not validating them (see europechildrensmallbudget.blogspot.com/2010/07/some-interesting-facts-about-travelling.html).
When we arrived at Viareggio we set off walking towards the beach to find the promenade, this part was easy. But then we walked and walked to find the hotel, after 30mins we found the landmark the hotel owner told us to look for and found the hotel we were to stay in for 3 nights (Hotel Lukas). Cindy the owner is lovely and speaks very good english. Our room had 4 single beds and a bathroom and tv in it. Small but we were only sleeping and using the bathroom there. Our breakfast was included in the cost of the room and was quite nice (croissants, ham, cereals, cake, toast and coffee and juice).
We headed to the beach at about 2pm and found out quite quickly that we had to pay to be on the beaches close by (10 euro for a chair or 20 euro for an umbrella and 2 chairs all day). It turned out not to be too bad, because you really do spend all day at the beach except for lunch time unless you bring a packed lunch, the sun does not go down until 830pm and the sun is not as hot in Italy as it is in Australia.
Our dinner the first night was awful, we ate a cafe on the beach and had hamburger and chips (literally the meat pattie and chips).
2nd day at Viareggio, we got up had breakfast, went down to the beach paid for an umbrella and spent a few hours there until lunch time. We headed down the promenade and found somewhere to eat, we enjoyed a pizza, superburger, salad and chips (we shared). The salads here are huge! We met an English family over here for 2 weeks and the boys kicked the soccer ball around for a while. The boys were happy to play with other boys. One of the English boys got stung by a jellyfish the day before and had the marks to prove it all over his belly. The jelly fish are big and have a blue ring around the edge of them, I think they sting like blue bottles. The lifesavers have nets and they scoop the jelly fish out of the sea and bury them in the sand. (Not a good idea when the kids are digging in it). Hello!
We had ice creams and headed back to our umbrella (where we left our towels), the boys enjoyed a few more hours of swimming and I had more time for my tan.
The "gypsies" hang around the beach and try to sell you things, just pretend to be asleep, they keep moving then. :-)
We had a great dinner of mixed deep fried calamari, baby octopus and fish with chips. It was the best and I did enjoy the octopus (tasted like the calamari).
We received a call from Iain's cousin Mark saying that He was in Florence. We told him where we were and him and Rachael (fiancee) drove to Viareggio (where they had been that morning :-). We headed back to the hotel and found Mark and Rachael waiting for us there. It was great to see a familiar face. Mark and Rachael have been travelling the USA, UK and Europe for 7 months now in a large van.
Thurs 29 July- WET Viareggio. It poured and poured. Mark and Rachael headed back to our Florence apartment with our keys and used our washing machine.
Fri 30 July- Iain's birthday. I remembered the night before and didn't remember until we were on the train back to Florence oopsie! Happy Birthday Iain. (we have found that we don't know what day it is most of the time).
Glad to be back in familiar surroundings, we headed back to our apartment and had a great dinner of NACHOS. Thanks Mark! Yummo!

1 comment:

Jon and Kirsty Van Itallie said...

Great that you guys got to catch up with m n r....and in Italy of all places. Did you see my parents there last week? They're on Corfu now. Glad you got a beach break...sounds fun, although a little different to here...paying for beach access?! Crazy. Keep having fun and happy belated birthday Iain...hope it was a great day....even with the rain.