Last weekend's adventure brought us to the beach locale of Marina di Ravenna, Italy. Warning: this is not the Amalfi Coast or Capri. Censorship will be kept to a minimum but that means readers must recognize that I'm only partaking in the local culture. That being said, bits and pieces may be omitted for obvious reasons which include friends, family and future employers. I'll employ every effort to make my limited writing ability enjoyable, and my account as truthful as possible.
Marina di Ravenna is renowned, by college aged students of Emilia-Romagna, for it's "camping" and beach parties. It's accessible for day trips but celebrated, also by college students, for the overnight weekend camping trips. After class on Friday we decided on an overnight Saturday trip without missing "Super Happy Hour" at Bagno Toto or Sunday Funday on the beach.
Departing at 11am by train, followed by a bus to the beach, and finally we hit the ground running at 2pm. Naturally, we sought out one of the free beach areas as most of the beach is pay for use; meaning, not in the interests of college students. In addition to being free, the beach was stocked with crisped, rather than sun-kissed, bodies. Each tan undoubtedly achieved by a sufficient commitment to the sun coupled with a lack of commitment to sufficient clothing. Being bashful is as uncommon as a noticeable tan line along the beach of Ravenna. My only advice is don't be shy and join in. Men, feel free to bring your Speedo out of the closet and color those man-thighs; women, a little cheek never hurt anybody, I don't think.
Reality began to shift away from relaxation around 6 in the evening when a different atmosphere began to make its debut. 2 for 1 specials and pop music invigorated the mass of tan into a mass of song and dance. Groups celebrating bachelorette parties and graduations force their newly engaged, or newly unemployed victims into embarrassing situations in the traditional Italian fashion. Whether it be dressing like the opposite sex or approaching strangers to ask the most inappropriate of requests, accomplishment means enduring some form of entertaining humiliation. Meanwhile, heavy drinking ensued all around until 11 at night when the 2 for 1 piadina special ensured party goers would endure the night Once your tongue detects the first morsel, food becomes the new focus of consciousness. I inhaled four piadinas made of a variety of delicious ingredients including porchetta, proscuitto, peppers, zucchini and more. Between piadianas, I found myself situated on the ground Indian-style in complete ecstasy. I needn't concern myself with the beautiful girl sitting Indian-style in mirror image across from me sharing this next meal. My only concern was the cardboard container between us filled with heavenly fritto misto (fried mixed seafood). This brief respite further enhanced the bar hopping along the beach while reveling in this beautiful escape. Aimlessly wandering along this coastline devoid of hotels, but filled with beach bars, will forever reside in my mind as a wild memory of uninhibited youth.
I could stop with that romanticized view, but there was more fun to be had. A friend and I gathered the troops for a bit more free-spirited fun before the end of the night. Clothes were shed, some more than other, and a late night dip in the Adriatic ensued. Planning was not carried out to the fullest extent and our clothes were left a decent distance up the beach. Although, I have experienced a quick rising tide while in Oregon that left an entire soccer team scrambling to retrieve their belongings from the Pacific; so, maybe it wasn't the worst planning after all Unfortunately, this time a form of beach security stood waiting by our clothes with flashlight exposing us as we trod back up the beach. We never made it to the parties at centro in Ravenna that night as we planned. This beach trip must seem like quite a marathon and I guess it was because I haven't even explained in full, nor have I finished yet.
The night also included a moment of misfortune as a friend and I took a love tap of sorts from a car. I was unhurt but she had her foot run over and spent the next couple weeks enduring the effects of the incident like a real trooper. When the night came to an end, it came in fitting fashion. I never carry my passport when traveling in Italy but it turned out that it was required for the campsite where we set up earlier. Another calculated risk was met with fortune when I successfully sneaked into the campsite among a large group of friends. I guess my luck couldn't have been any better after because I had the fortune of sharing a tent with 3 girls and all the room in the world to sleep on the hard earth beneath me.
Morning broke and more relaxation followed in the form of more beach and sun. Tanned bodies had returned to bake as the Marina di Ravenna marathon slowly came to an end.