Beach Time!

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photo credit Chris Newman

In my mind, travel and vacation are synonymous with beach time.  Nothing says summer like the feeling of sun on my back, or the repercussion of sunburn.  I was unpleasantly surprised to learn that sunscreen is not a popular item here and thus is highly priced. Words to the wise: pack sunscreen when traveling to Italy.  I reluctantly decided 16,50 euro spf 50 sunscreen would ultimately be less costly than being a lobster for the rest of my trip.  Armed with overpriced sun protection, I was ready for the beach.

A huge perk of staying in Rome is the accessibility of beaches.  From our residence, students can board the Metro at the Cipro Station, transfer to the B Line at Termini Station and get off at Piramide. At the Piramide station, there are trains that stop along the beach.  Travel time is approximately and hour, though flies by relatively quickly.  The few times I have gone to the beach, I have traveled to the Lido Centro stop. The beaches are a short walk from this stop. I have always gone to the same private beach, which is cleanly kept and spotted with bright yellow chairs and umbrellas. Beach access and a chair are seven euro or a lounge bed costs ten euro.  The free beach is also nice, but significantly more crowded than the private beach clubs.  Walking along the shore line, you can pass all of the beach clubs as well as the free beach.  I took this walk to collect colorful pebbles and shells that had washed up on the shore.  Compared to the Jersey shores at home, the Mediterranean beaches have darker sand and the water is much cleaner, though it is not the crystal blue water I expected. The clearest water is found on the Almafi Coast, where the beaches have tiny pebbles as opposed to sand.

The beach is extraordinarily relaxing, though there is little hope for seeking refuge from the vendors.  Salesman carrying boards of sunglasses, tapestries, necklaces, sand toys, and other trinkets will hover over you trying to make a deal and you have to be aggressive in saying “no.”  One vendor whose services I did not at all feel hassled by was the massage woman.  For five euro, I got a massage on the beach and was very content.

One of my favorite beach days was the day we coincidentally went when there was an air show. We were expecting a few quick stints of tricks but the show instead lasted all day. The planes swooped right overhead then propelled into the sky only to dive back down quickly in spirals.  Every time we thought the show was over, a more impressive fleet of planes would come into view.  The finale of the show was understandably the most impressive. The planes trailed smoke dyed with green and red in homage to the Italian flag.  Snoozing in the sand and frolicking into the ocean were made all the more enjoyable by the brilliant air show overhead and was appreciative of the our well-timed trip.

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