It was a most enticing picture from this slideshow, on the NY Times travel section that brought us to Viareggio for the day.
We were guided in the parking lot by a lovely Senegalese man. He waved us into the parking spot, instructed when to stop, showed my husband where to pay the one euro official parking fee, made change for the meter and in turn required just 5 euros. Did I forget to say he would watch our car until we came back? We thought it sounds like slavery but he insisted on keeping an eye on our car. So off we wandered towards the beach.
With 22degrees Celcius and sunshine, we could have sunned ourselves in the sand, but the thought of putting a towel down on top of the garbage, as the other sunbathers did, made my stomach churn.
So, we paid a visit to the tourist office. They were utterly unapologetic about the state of their city, guided us towards the shopping area and pointed out some good fish restaurants near the beach, luckily without a view of it.
The beach was a shambles but the Frutte di Mare on homemade tagliatelle at Titi del Molo was unbelievable. It was so good in fact, that I lost myself in the salty goodness and unconsciously licked my fingers.
Our wonderful, good-hearted waitress ran over with more napkins saying “This is for the others”. Whether she meant the other fingers or the other guests, I will never know but it was a terrific reminder to come back to earth and mind my manners.
They may have garbage on their beach but their manners are impeccable!