Monday, May 23, 2011

Beaches, bicycles and camping

Saturday and Sunday we travelled through beach town after beach town. We are in the region of Abruzzo now which has a very large mountain range including the Gran Sasso, a peak over 2000 meters. However, most of the population lives on the coast and the traffic is heavy. The towns meld one into another in one big urban sprawl. Here was one of the more scenic and quiet moments on the road.

During the last few days, we have begun to see differences in the culture of this part of Italy in comparison to Puglia. First, the drivers are used to seeing a lot of bikes on the road and do not give a warning honk like in Puglia. In fact, we saw hundreds of bicyclists on the road today for the traditional Sunday morning ride. The pace of life seems to be more hectic in the coastal area of Abruzzo; the roads are never quiet even between 12:00 and 2:00. The young adults have more tattoos and there is more foreign influence. We are seeing Chinese restaurants, sushi restaurants, and Turkish kebabs for fast food.

We have been traveling along the Adriatic Highway, SS16. It travels all the way up the Adriatic coast. SS16 is a large two lane road, usually with good shoulders,and fairly constant traffic. It is well graded and fast to bicycle. In many places it is our only choice, but once in a while we can get off 16 and ride along a beach road.

We finally have the weather to camp. Camping in Italy is similar and yet different. Families come and set up group areas and we felt nostalgic for the annual Big Sur campout with the Dyck-Aronowitz and Faus clans. However, we were a little surprised when we saw a refridgerator being carefully removed from a car via the window. There was already two folding beds unloaded at the campsite and the further evolution of the campsite was amazing. A second refridgerator and cupboards appeared on the scene. The Italians are comfortable with close camping quarters as illustrated below.

Along one shore we observed a modern variant of the fishing machines, trabucco. A single steel girder extends a net which is raised and lowered by a hand winch (not wench). There were quite a few of the machines lined up, but we did not see anyone catch anything while we were there.

Tonight we are in Numana, a major beach resort area south of Ancona, and camping. Tomorrow we celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary in the country where we honeymooned. Ciao!


mas said...

I am so happy for you two, congratulations!  Right now I'm in Baja, after a 4 day vacation boating on Lake Powell, and it has been so delightful (and educational) catching up on your travels.  How incredibly cool to be biking so close to The Giro!  I so loved learning about the caves, fishing machines, CAMPING, and "aqua vita!". What wonderful photos, as always.  Thanks a million for the awesome blog.

Love, mas

Diana said...

Happy Anniversary! This is one you won't soon forget, huh? In keeping with my quest to accompany you via "cuisine remote", I made zucchini linguini for dinner last night and opened a bottle of red wine from Puglia which was really good. What's the regional food of Abruzzo?

Dave and Belinda said...

Hey Mark, thanks. We spent 12 days kayaking on Lake Powell some tears ago. It was one of our favorite vacations. We are talking of another kayaking trip there next year. The camping here is really, really different than at home. I don't think the Italians are enthusiastic about roughing it.

Diana, the common pasta served in the coastal area of Abruzzo is Tagliatelle Scoglio. We had it twice, once at a campground restaurant and once at a B&B. It always has a large unreeled gamberoni, which is a large shrimp/crayfish animal, as well as some shellfish (shelled) in a tomato/olive oil sauce. The pasta is very al dent.