Dinner with our Friends Jeff and Eileen

Now I take you all the way back to June this year, the week before we left what had been our home away from home for the last two years in Italy. A lovely dinner with our friends Jeff and Eileen from California, America who also have their home away from home in Viareggio, Tuscany Italy. I wonderful summers evening with great company, great wine and fantastic food!

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Heading for the hills

Things have started to get a little busy here now and the weekends away have become few and far between. I have  attempted  to start many a post over the last few weeks but have not got around to finishing any of them! So my poor old blog has been a little neglected. I will however make more of an effort to be more regular in my posting from now on.

The last few weekends here have been super hot, I even managed to get sunburnt whilst wearing sun cream! I have since peeled, but have a good base tan for the rest of the summer. And while half of Tuscany seem to head to Viareggio on these hot sunny Sundays to stroll the passeggiata and lay on the beaches we tend to head for the peace and tranquility of the hills. I have written about going up to the hills before in How much Marble does the world need? but a couple of weekends ago a few of us headed that way for a long and very enjoyable sunday lunch. Before arriving to our destination of mountains of home-made pasta we came across an old marble mine that we had driven past before but had never walked up to… this time we did. It made for some neat photos and I think would be a great place for shooting an advertisement of some description.

Well it’s been a quick one, but better a short one than nothing and something to keep things ticking over until I can write more!

Free Beach?

It’s now that time of year again in Viareggio… You can no longer simply walk onto the beach and place your self down where ever you feel like. In my opinion I just don’t think that is right! Most children grow up having full access to any beach that they wish to run around on and dip their toes into the sea. Here in Italy the government leases the beach to anyone who wishes to pay for that lease. These people then place umbrellas and deck chairs next to each other for as far as the eye can see! Almost 3km of beach front is covered in them! And if you want to go lie on one, not only will you be right next to a stranger, it will cost you a pretty penny too!

It’s not my idea of a fun day at the beach, but there are plenty of people who come to Viareggio for vacation who can afford to use these beaches and who come to the beach to be seen.

Maybe I find it a little saddening from my growing up on a farm that backed right onto a free and clean beach where I could surf every day, providing the tides were right at that time of day. I could walk in the sand on not find any rubbish if I tried. I could walk along the beach for miles and not bump into a single soul. I  am very lucky and privileged to have been able to experience something so special. I feel it’s something that every child has the right too, if they live near a beach! I think I will always have a very strong fondness for the west coast beaches of Taranaki, New Zealand. Even now I crave to take a walk along one of the many beaches on the west coast and have my toes dig into the sand and only sand.

What about you? Does the beach hold any special memories?

Bikes of Viareggio

It’s been a while! And I have many a trip to write about but currently not enough time. So just a quickie from me today!

The Italians from my observation have a great fondness of the bicycle! And from what I can see a bike seems to last a person a life time!

Where ever you stroll in Viareggio there are rusty old bikes leaning against a pole or wall. Some are locked up and others are not. Those that are not locked are fair game for the taking! Some look like they are almost to the point of being unridable (I’m questioning if that is even a word), but where there is a will there is a way.

I have often thought how handy it would be to cruise round on a bike while here but I’m afraid I have left it too long (I had a picture in my mind of buying a cool cruiser with a basket on the front) and the time that we have left here doesn’t quite warrant it anymore. Find one on the street maybe? Maybe not….

Some Sunset Pictures around Viareggio

Just a couple of photos taken on my way home from work. Not a lot of writing needed in this post. Just some photos for you to look at.

Here is a monument for the fishermen and their families that wait for them at home while they are out at sea. And for all those who never came home.

This photo (above) when you first glance looks pretty, sand, snow and sea. There are the mountains in the background and the town of Viareggio. But there is also a lot of rubbish. I find this a little sad. I am told that in the Summer time tractors grade the beach to clear all the rubbish which is all well and fine but… Ever since I was little I have loved nothing more than taking a walk along the beach on a really cold winters day, all rugged up. As cheesy as it might sound it makes you feel alive, and then there is the added bonus of getting home to a nice warm cozy house. I can’t do that here, as to be honest it upsets me too much to what we are doing to our planet and it also just makes me miss home… At home I can walk down the beach and not come across any rubbish.