Monday, August 17, 2015

Stranded in Santa Marinella

     For one of our free weekends, Nik and I decided to take small day trips to towns bordering the city center of Rome. We wanted a casual weekend where we could explore new places without worrying about booking hostels or long distance train tickets.
     Our first destination was Santa Marinella, a very small beach town about an hour away from Rome by train. We had to take the train to get there, but it was a commuter train, so it was extremely cheap. Santa Marinella is known to be the most beautiful and clean beach outside of Rome. What drew us there was the face that it was a sand beach instead of a rock beach, unlike most beaches in Italy. As we pulled into the town on the train, it began to feel like a completely different country. The houses were old and colorful, and the foliage was very tropical. Something I loved about Italy was that each town felt like a different world, even if they were close together.
     After we got off of the train, we walked down a huge hill to finally arrive at the beach. The water was beautifully clear, and the sand was extremely soft. After finding the very small public section of the beach, we made a bee-line for the water. There were a few small rocks to jump from, but we chose to leisurely swim around together because it was our first time at the beach in Italy. We noticed that there were tons of boats around us because they didn't separate the small marina from the swimming area. This would never be allowed in America, so we took advantage of it and sat on an old surfboard that looked like it didn't belong to anybody.
    After taking walks on the beach and swimming for hours, we decided to explore the town and find somewhere for dinner. We passed a couple of hotels with restaurants near the beach, but this seemed too easy, so we kept walking in hopes of finding a hidden gem. We walked for about an hour and a half with no luck. We were getting tired and hungry, and both of those do not work well for me. I was able to keep it together, though, because the town was so beautiful. We stumbled upon countless types of tropical flowers and even a family of stray kittens in a tree. There was plenty to look at as we made our way back to the strip of hotels all the way back by the beach area. We finally chose to stop at a very beautiful old hotel with a restaurant in the basement called Molo 21. It didn't look like much from the front, but we were desperate and would take anything at this point. Little did we know, this restaurant was amazing! Molo 21 was on a balcony overlooking the whole ocean, so we were able to watch the sun set at our small table closest to the water (they called it "the romantic table" for this reason). We got there around 7:30, which is early for Italian dinner, so we were the only ones there for awhile. Santa Marinella is a very small beach town, so there aren't many tourists in general.
     We chose to feast on cod ravioli, mussel pasta and the fried fish platter, which were three great choices since Santa Marinella is known for their delicious seafood. My favorite was the cod ravioli because instead of typical cheese ravioli, it was thick al dente pasta wrapped around generous portions of buttery fresh cod - no cheese involved. The fried fish platter was unique because it contained little fish fully intact with their heads and tails. You were supposed to eat around the spine to get all of their meat. This freaked me out, so I let Nik test it out first. Once he assured me that it good and easy to get the meat, I gave it a go and ended up loving it! After eating for awhile, we checked the time and realized that we had been eating for around two hours! I guess we had been distracted by the beautiful view and delicious food, but we needed to get a move on because this was supposed to be a day trip, and it was already almost 10 pm. The last train back to Rome for the night was 10:03 pm, so we really needed to get to the train! We quickly asked for the check, and after receiving it a half hour later (have I mentioned that Italian service is pretty relaxed?), we sprinted out of the restaurant to try to make the train. We arrived two minutes early, but we were forced to remember that Italians don't really go by schedules. The train had already pulled away, and we were now stranded in Santa Marinella for the night.
     It was a little stressful finding a place to stay because most of the hotels were four or so miles away with no taxis or running busses available, and there were no hostels in the area. Thankfully, the hotel next to Molo 21 was still open, so we ran into the lobby and were able to book a room pretty easily. We went right to sleep, and in the morning we were treated with a beautiful view of the ocean. We decided to take our time leaving for the train station because The town was so beautiful in the morning. After eating a leisurely free breakfast at our hotel (which involved stealing A LOT of fruit and Neutella packets), we made our way to the train station to catch a ride back to Rome on the now frequent trains. We were sad to leave, but we had an amazing adventure in Santa Marinella that we will never forget. I guess you haven't lived until you get stranded in a foreign town without a phone!

A beautiful home in Santa Marinella. 

Nik walking though the beautiful clear water!

Full view of the beach.

The view from our table at Molo 21.

The delicious cod ravioli.

The view from our hotel room in the morning!

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like such a fun adventure! Even if you guys were supposed to stay overnight it seems like it was nice to get to... even if it was stressful finding a place to stay. Your pictures are amazing! a few of us from London are going to Italy tomorrow morning and they are making me so excited! This is an adventure for the books!