On Saturday, July 9, we went to Fano. This is another beach town on the Adriatic coast, north of Ancona, reachable by bus direct from Perugia. We had picked up some brochures that showed beautiful turquoise waters and sandy/gravely beaches with a sweet little town there so we decided to try it. Wanting to explore as many Italian seasides as possible, we figured we'd better not waste any more time! There is one bus to Fano in the morning and one home in the evening. You are there for the day, which suited us just fine and sleepy eyed we boarded the bus at Piazza Partigiani at 5:30am (we really do like the beach!), a perfect time to call my sister Suzanne in Denver. With the time difference, it was around 9:30 there. She's had a pretty rough time of it, having lost her husband to cancer last year, she had to put their dog to sleep this past week, which was pretty traumatic for her and her daughters. Dexter had gotten pretty old and has been ill for the past year himself so it didn't come as a surprise but it was heartbreaking for them nevertheless as he truly was an important member of their family. I learned that she had had a bit of unexpected (and unwanted!) excitement at her house when the water heater flooded her basement which has been filled with things from their store, the kids old toys and many of the things of Bruce's that she has been needing to go through. Upset at her bad luck when immediately faced with having to go through and move everything down in the basement, it struck her that someone was trying to tell her something, that perhaps it was more than time enough to get started doing this, as difficult as it seems. She is now forced to handle this and seems almost relieved to be given a direction and a place to begin. All of you who know me know how much I adore my sister and her girls and every heartbreak of theirs is mine as well. My hope is that things will start looking up for all of them and that this next year brings good things to their lives.
The bus ride to Fano takes around 3 hours. They stop about half way for a potty/coffee break and to let you stretch your legs. It's a beautiful ride as you pass through the lovely Umbrian countryside so we didn't mind at all and arrived around 8:30 in the morning. Since there had been rain the day before it was still too cool for us to jump right in the water so we decided to explore Fano and went to centro to have some breakfast. There was a street market underway which was fun also and we liked the town very much. It's flat there and everyone rides bicycles. Everyone - from the little kids to the elderly folks, it is the transportation of choice. We watched all sorts of things being delivered by bicycle also, like the woman from the coffee shop carrying the tray of coffees and pastries in one hand as she rode by and another one balancing a large vase of flowers! At around 11 we headed off to find our place in the sun, rented an umbrella, two chaise lounges and a small cabina - like a storage shed that you can also change clothes in - to store all of our stuff for later so that we didn't have to carry everything around with us if we wanted to walk back to town later.
The beach at Fano is as pretty as the brochure pictures. The area we chose, closer to the town, had a beach with soft stones. Further down away from the town, the sand was soft as brown sugar. One big difference between Fano and the Riviera del Cònero from a few weeks ago is the view of Monte Cònero. But it's lovely all the same and very reachable by just walking along the promenade. We found very beachy little restaurants and shops and beautiful stretches of shoreline dotted with the brightly colored beach umbrellas and chairs. Further down you can see the masts of sailboats in the little harbor. Charming! We had a spot right next to a family from Perugia - we had a little conversation with the Nonno (Grandpa) and enjoyed watching them all playing with the kids, with all the kisses and hugs all around of a large family who spend a lot of time together and where the kids are as comfortable with their aunts and uncles as with their parents - much the way we were growing up in Brooklyn with Aunt Celeste and Uncle Fred downstairs. They were all on vacanza (vacation) together at the beach. It really did make me think of the summers we rented a cabin at Sag Harbor with our cousins and spent many wonderful days playing together by the sea.
The water was wonderful and it wasn't very crowded, which surprised us for such an accessible, lovely beach. The day before had been stormy; we saw evidence of branches of trees and leaves scattered about and people sweeping and cleaning up. The day was not as warm as it could have been, but with the sun shining it was comfortable. In the water we looked up to the sky to see cloud formations reaching around the shoreline like a hug and getting darker by the minute. We played in the water a while and then decided to just sit on the beach and read and relax. In a very short time our relaxing turned into a quick scurry to gather our towels and things and race under cover from the rain.
We hurried into a Chinese restaurant along the road, one of the first we came to just to get out of the rain and ate a hum-drum lunch as the rain poured down outside. When it subsided a bit we ventured out and back down to the beach. It seemed to clear a bit and we settled down again on our lounge chairs. But again, the rain was relentless and we were forced to run for shelter once again. We ran across the street into a little café, which had a tented room open on one side and had some hot tea and cookies and just sat and enjoyed the sight and sound of the rain complete with lightning and thunder pounding down around us. It was quite a show, very dramatic and exciting, a real torrential downpour. I don't know how long we sat there but after a bit it subsided again and we walked into centro again and looked in some of the little shops that were just beginning to open after the afternoon riposo. The light was incredible streaming through the still darkish sky and we wandered around taking some photos and just exploring. The bus home was expected around 7:30pm so as that hour approached we headed to the bus stop. Jessica called us to say hello and as we were talking, walking by the beach the setting sun was lighting up parts of the shore, little white buildings glowed against the dark sky, patches of brilliant blue showing through with the sea picking up the reflections. There was even a rainbow!
The cutest thing we saw that day was this little girl and her mother, playing by the fountain in the main square. She couldn't have been more than 4 years old. When it was time to go she cheerfully left the water she was enjoying very much and as she turned away, she said to herself, as she brought her two little hands up to her face, shaking her head like an old nonna (grandma): "Che Bello!" It was the most adorable thing I think I have ever seen!
Right on time the bus arrived to take us home and we began the long drive home. It always seems we get there faster than we get home. Can it be that we are just tired by the end of the day and just want to be there? Watching the changing colors of the scenery pass us by is always entertaining and with this amazing sky, the sunset was quite spectacular and we tried to photograph it from the moving bus, not always the best way to do it!
Arriving home around 10pm we were completely exhausted. I don't know which beach we will go to next but we'll keep you posted!
On Wednesday we will be on our way to Paris!
Rosemary e Roberto
(Photos to come later!)