A day at the sea: Rimini, Italy

Day 20 in a row of temperatures over 80 degrees and no air-conditioner finally got the best of me, so I did what any good Italian would do – I went to the sea.  We truly intended to take it easy and spend a quiet afternoon on the beach and return to Bologna by 7pm.  By now I should have learned that fun, no matter what, takes over as the highest priority in Italy.  So, as you will see through my photo diary, our best laid plans completely went awry, and the day was by no means a simple afternoon in the sun. 😉

A quick train ride from Bologna offers many potential destinations by the sea, but on this adventure, we chose one of the most popular destinations reachable by train.  Rimini is medium-sized city on the north-east coast of Italy in the Emilia-Romagna region.  It has a beautiful city center, as well as a robust coastline full of restaurants, shops, and most importantly, beach.  Nearby Riccione is a famous destination for nightlife, and Ravenna, which I talked about in another post, is also nearby.

Despite plentiful options for fun and sightseeing around Rimini, on this day we intended only to engage in some relaxing on the beach.

After some laying out in the (really) hot sun and getting a bit of color, our hunger pains got the best of us and we headed toward the main drag to find some food.  Of course we encountered a detour.  Here, my friends are playing a little competitive game of bocce (otherwise known as bocci ball).

And then, some jumping.  I had no idea my friend was so athletic.  I don’t think he did either. ;b

Lunch at the local Irish Pub, Rose & Crown, which is an institution in Rimini.  Believe it or not, eating italian food every day does begin to get boring after a while.

As you can see, some of us ate more than others… 😉

While we were waiting for my friend to finish his three-course meal, we noticed the managers of the pub were busy blowing up balloons.  And lots of them.  We wondered why.  They explained that La Notte Rosa happened to be that night, which I have now learned is one of the biggest entertainment nights in the Emilia-Romagna region during the summer.

The managers gave me a balloon and also an idea.  Why not go back to Bologna on a later train so we can enjoy La Notte Rosa?  After all, it only comes along once per year.

While we were digesting this idea, we left the pub to go back to the beach for a bit more sun.  On the way we witnessed the result of the manager’s balloon handiwork.  Balloons flying high over Rimini.

We went back to the beach for some sun.  Apparently we were not destined to get much sun.  The cloud formations became foreboding and dramatic.

And boy did the storm come.  We ran for cover at the nearest bar with more than a thatched roof for cover.  I was drenched.    The storm seemed more akin to a hurricane.  But I must confess, I loved every moment of it, as being a girl from Southern California, I am not accustomed to dramatic weather.  Somehow, it felt like summer, reminding me of running through the rain in New York during summers spend there in my childhood.

Lucky for my friends, I had my favorite travel accessory with me – my iPad – equipped with Fruit Ninja to help them pass the time while we waited for the storm to pass.

But I was much more interested in making friends.  While they were busy with my iPad, I kept myself occupied by meeting everyone who was also taking refuge at the cafe where we hung out during the storm.  Here I am – the drenched version – with my new friends.

When the storm finally cleared, the whole town immediately came alive for La Notte Rosa.  Even the streetlights were partaking in the fun with their pink light.

We loved the street artist that was creating complex images with spray paint on the ground for us all to watch, using bits of newspaper to create texture on a cityscape of New York.

Finally, it was time to get down to business.  Where’s the party? 😉  My friend wanted to find an old co-worker from Bologna, who was now living in Rimini selling trinkets on the street.  He didn’t have his new phone number, so we began asking every street vendor that we met.  Believe me, there are a lot of street vendors.  I will spare you from all the photos.

Of course, we finally found him.  It was a happy reunion.  And he gave us some tips for the rest of the night.

Most importantly, he equipped us with pink hats so we could join in the festivities of the La Notte Rosa crowd.  But of course, our hats didn’t compare to these.  I was jealous. 😉

And then, the fireworks came.  And a few hours later, the end of a night.  We lost one of our friends after he disappeared and fell asleep on the beach, but we made it on the late (early?) train with several hundred other people.  The train arrived in Bologna in time for us to see the sunrise.

I never knew a day at the sea could be so successful.  Thanks Rimini…

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