Day 4 ~ You Can’t Win ‘Em All

Started the day off with a decent breakfast before heading to the beach. It was a quiet beach, with free chairs and umbrellas. The ocean was more of a pool, as a manmade rock barrier had been formed about 100m out to sea. The deepest water is only waist high.

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It was dreadfully boring, all drastically tan old people or piteously unhappy parents with their bouncing off the wall kids. I stayed about 2 hours for some Vitamin D and left. My friend had told me to try the flatbread sandwich here. I found a cute place run by LeLe and Elena on the main street. It’s tastes as basic as it looks, which isn’t really a bad thing.

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Nothing special about this, but a decent beach snack. Not quite up to par with some other lunches I’ve had. I took a slow walkabout to explore before leaving. It’s a classic beach town with lazy cats behind fences, pastel homes and a pleasant perfumed air.

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I was excited to get in the car and drive across the peaks of Umbria and Toscana.

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It did not disappoint. Beautiful driving weather and the miraculous landscapes combined with poppy tunes from the radio made me jump, jive and wail all along the meandering path through the mountains. The lack of tunnels, but plenty of cutbacks along the ridges make for exciting travel.

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Arriving in Siena late in the day and weary from my transport, I asked for a dinner recommendation from the staff of the outstanding Sienna Hostel Guidoricci. This place was brand new, and had done its homework regarding what a hostel should provide. It was top notch, top notch! The old man singing classical music in the lobby told me to visit his friends at Il Vinaio di Bobbe e Davide (Via Camollia 167). I was forced to sit at the bar, which for a solo traveler is frustrating but understandably acceptable. I ordered the pici pasta with pepper because it was recommended as typically Senese.

 

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Boring! The best part was the pepper…

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Then, after 40 minutes of waiting, drinking and nibbling bread, I got this microwaved gem.

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A sad plate of meat for sure, and not even good! To be fair, the employees were rushing around prepping for the party of 20 that had just sat down, but seriously, no vegetables? I asked the guy to try everything, and I don’t mind paying. I guess everything includes leftover ribs and dry meatballs. Whatever, my stomach feeling queasy already, they saved a bit of class for last.

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This is a Ribollita, a true Tuscan dish of day old bread, tomatoes and other veg. It was okay, but I’d had enough bread. I was done with today and headed home for a shower at my awesome hostel.

Big Bologna Pranzo and Pizza in Rimini

It’s no surprise that Bologna cooks it up big. CIBO (Also: Culinary Institute of Bologna) is Italian for food, and this is the best eating city in Italy. I found a little place off the main street called Trattoria Del Rosso (Via Augusto Righi 30). I was learning that to make it from noon to the eight or nine o’clock dinner time for Italians, I’d need to order a primo and secondo piatto. First up: Tagliatelle con ragu.

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Perfect homemade sauce, fresh Parmigiano, bread to clean up the meat, and a deep red wine to match. Next was the biggest surprise of the trip for me. I asked for a meat recommendation, and he told me the unappetizing sounding “stinco.” It means shin. I said, “Si, grazie.” About 40 minutes later, this comes out…

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The two men next to me shared a plate of this, and they seemed very full afterwards. It was a delicious struggle to finish. The meat was outstanding; rosemary potatoes; lovely afternoon meal. I was loaded with food and made my way to Ravenna before darting off to San Marino for sunset.

Finally arriving in Rimini after dark, I asked the young lady at my cute hotel Hotel Fra i Pini for a place to eat. She told me to go to the Old American Bar (Viale Giuseppe Mazzini 25). I was surprised to find basically the most layered and delicately flavored pizza I’ve had yet. It was called barsciola? and had sausage, onion, truffle oil, rucola, garlic and mozzarella. I finally met a pizza I couldn’t finish.

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