Thursday, January 10, 2013

unexpected memories of Pesaro

Haven’t heard of Pesaro, Italy? Neither had we… but we had come up with what seemed to be a grand idea, to head there for the evening as it’s right on the coast, and then catch a ferry to Croatia the next morning. I love entering new countries by boat, and we were certainly happy at the idea of lounging around on beaches while Europe started to descend into chilly fall weather. Bought two tickets and hopped on the train!

After an hour of enjoying the scenery roll by, a guy who looked too attractive to be a train guard asked us for our tickets, and after examining them a moment asked me to step aside because there was a problem. Apparently we had not validated them, so there was the potential that we could use them again. I told him we were on our way out of Italy… ciao, hasta la vista, see ya in 5 years when I’ve got more money, etc etc. He said the fine was 50 euros each.

“Fuck.” I said

“Double fuck.” He said with the two tickets in his hand.

He agreed to settle 2 for 1 on the tickets, so 50 euros in total. I said I had to talk to Elisa about it, and while he was away we decided we would either pretend we had no money and see if he could bill us (thought this was the best option since I’m technically homeless so much of my life). Or we were going to plead and see if once we got to Pesaro we could have a train worker there destroy it in some way to ensure we wouldn’t use it again. Eventually he came back and as soon as I started with a plead, wasn’t even sure which one it was going to be yet, he quickly marked something on the ticket and said, with a big smile, that we were okay to continue on with no fine. What charmers, these Italians!  

Since we had long ago started converting currency into drinks, we figured that we’d just saved ourselves about 20 beers each by avoiding those tickets. Salute!

Reached Pesaro and pulled a classic tomato and avocado sandwich in a plaza move while Elisa went for her more meaty option from the grocery store. Alessandro from Couch Surfing had agreed to host us for the evening, so when he turned up we piled our stuff in his car and went to a restaurant by the water for a bit of food and some drinks. He had just returned from Egypt and Thailand for scubing diving and was incredibly easy to get along with.

Nice spot for some spritz!

Turned into a bit of a rainy night, drove to the flat he shares with his mother over huge rolling hills, such vast open spaces. I could imagine in the day light on a sunny day it would be a really enchanting scene! We drove around listening to great music (classic rock! Didn’t even know it existed in Europe) and went on a seafood spree for dinner – plate of cold fish (sardines, prawns, white fish), bowl of mussels, pasta with shellfish and prawns, a massive whole fish, calamari, breaded fish, something that looked like a crawfish but who knows… fish fish fish! And a liter of white wine. And some Jager for digestion.

The next morning rolled around all too quickly, not nearly enough time to snap out of that seafood coma. The ferry was supposedly at 8:20, but when we got there the dock looked deserted. Alessandro asked everyone around, no one had the same answer about what was up with the ferry or when another one would be. Apparently since it’s not “summer” anymore (was the first week of September) everything comes to a halt. This should have been indicative to us of what was in store for the future, but were still full of optimism deep down, so we pushed through this hurdle and re-vamped our plans. Back to Venice, it is! After much searching for routes and boats, our best option was to go back to Venice and cross to Croatia by land. Since Pesaro was all the sudden a pretty unnecessary little detour for us, we at least had the chance now to enjoy the day, as our train didn’t leave till 4 p.m.

Alessandro had been such a great host already at that point, and once we realized we would have to stay he was more than happy to show us around Pesaro. He works with and loves horses – he used to train them, but now trains people to train their own horses. His genuine affection for the animals is deep, and he took us to stables where he used to work. There is a nice view of the Castle Gradara in the distance.

We made our way over to the castle, the first proper castle I’ve ever been in.

She deserved it ;)

We finally bid our generous host farewell and hopped on the train to Bologna. From there got on our train to Venice… or what we thought was our train to Venice, but what was actually the more expensive high speed train to Venice. Another train guard telling us we would have to pay 50 euros more for these tickets. Dios mio. This time we just kept repeating the truth, that we were totally clueless we had boarded the wrong train. Luckily he didn’t seem too bothered by it and again we were 20 drinks richer for a train guard’s laissez-fare attitude. 

"Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home." - Basho Matsuo


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