As I write this, I am at the beach in Rimini with my dog, Harika. I needed apartness from the vacuum cleaner, the garden hose, the washing machine: all these things keep me from writing my “Slow Travel” book. In fact, It is I who find excuses why not to make a table of contents.
Actually, I am in Viserbella, a strictly beach-resort bit of Rimini. I am five kilometers from the center of the city. This is the place Italians take themselves on summer vacation. Right now, it is being clipped and chopped. There will be a short Easter hurrah, but the real summer won’t start until July,
Then for children, there are games and other kids every day. Moms bring their charges to their designated beach at about 10 in the morning. The moms visit with the other moms. The kids don’t necessarily swim that early – even though the water seems ok to me at 9:00 AM on an April morning, in August, Italians need bath water warm. Not to worry, the kids can play games. Umbrellas are set up and your two square meters of sand is designated. No kidding, it’s like a drive in theatre or a camp site – look on google maps: orderly.
At one everyone goes home for lunch and a nap, and returns at 3:30 or 4 and stays till sunset. Dads are around, in and out of the scene, ready for an aperitif and dinner, a game of cards or bocce. Often this whole scenario revolves around grandparents, who own the summer house. Grandma is home rolling out tortellini for dinner, and gramps is definitely drinking espresso with the boys. Actually, everyone seems to love this setup. It’s what childhood memories are made of, and where people learn to get along with one another in the most populated country in Europe.
nb: the red “cravat” on the elephant is a stairway up into the beast, where one takes a slippery slide to emerge at the rear….