On our way south, we spent a night in Pesaro, a beach resort on the Adriatic. Despite being charmed a month ago by Santa Margherita, Pesaro really confirmed for us that Italian (in fact, most European) beach resorts are not for us.
A long beach stretched out in front of our hotel. But it was hard even to see the sand, because the beach was divided up between the hotels, covered with deck chairs and umbrellas (a different colour combination for each hotel), bar/restaurants/snack bars, and changing and bath rooms lined up against the footpaths. I guess if you’re keen on the sea there is an appeal. You pay a fee and get towels, your deck-chair/ sunlounger and umbrella for the day, you can order snacks or drinks, or eat lunch at the restaurants, and there are toilets and showers right there if you need them. But the fees vary. You’d think if you were staying at the hotel, you’d get all this for free. No, not in Italy it seems. Our hotel charged an unbelievable (to us) 52 euro for the day, but we saw signs elsewhere, off the beaten track, for only 8 euro (though no towels, bar service etc). Still, the close proximity of all the other holiday-makers, and the regimented nature of the deckchair layouts, along with the loss of any sense that you were actually in a natural environment, just made us shudder.
To be fair, the summer vacation was coming to an end, and the beaches were still packed with people enjoying the sun, sea and sand. Cafes and restaurants were full in the evenings, the waterfront crowded with people strolling by the seaside, happy and enjoying their break. So it obviously works for them. Europeans, it seems, don’t have the same needs for personal space that we do in New Zealand. Or maybe they like having bars/cafes and amenities close by? We recalled being in the southern coast of Turkey, finding beach resorts and crowded beaches filled with Europeans, and then – right next door – coming across a single, long, empty beach with nothing but white sand, and a few Turkish tourists, and a single simple cafe on the sand back near the car park. We couldn’t understand why this beautiful beach was so empty. Just as we now can’t understand the appeal of these crowded beaches.
Now we’re in the deep south, beaches abound. I will report more anon.