This is a story of life on the Adriatic coast after the season, the town, Bellaria – Igea Marina, not well known except to those who come in the season. Its sands are clean and near white.
It is mid-October, barely a few days past summer, it is a warm 25 degrees, even more, the sea is calm and blue. Yet the beaches, such as these near Rimini, are empty, not just of the platoons of umbrellas and chairs, but of people. As far as the eye can see not even a stray dog enjoys a run on the sand.
An analogy comes to mind. The shore can be likened to the skin of a man, the interface between the living force of the flesh, and the external elements of water and the atmosphere. With this new concept of our reality we walk along the road beside the shore. The ‘jewellery’ of this shore, the hotels, apartment blocks and shops are evacuated, shuttered and, where an occasional window allows the afternoon sun to enter, the rooms are empty, all furniture has evaporated. Where has the life gone?
Yet an occasional escapee emerges from a side street and enters this world empty of other life, just as a drop of water may escape from the sea. What are these escapees seeking? Where have they come from? Is there life away from the ‘bookcover’, the skin of the Rimini coast?
Just inside this skin, maybe 100 metres up a side street vein, a few people are coming and going, walking dogs, and some are entering or leaving the foyer of a hotel, the main source of this action, with the quirky name of Edward, no not Eduardo, but the very British regal name of Edward, and no not Edward VIII, the king of the abdication event, just Edward. A lady sits at the reception desk, and, it is maybe her mother who occupies the lounge watching the TV. Mainly men arrive occasionally, possibly from the labours of doing business on the coast, to collect their keys from the board before re-emerging not much later, changed and ready to tramp off in search of sustenance.
It is close to time for dinner. Turning right we come to a spacious bar across the road with tables set for dinner and, deciding that this may be the only choice we have, enter the ‘Tramps’ establishment and seek a table, maybe with some trepidation given the choice of the name. Your author chooses two fish courses, fresh anchovies and grilled tuna, while others select mainly pizzas. The local wine is more than acceptable and the beer is much appreciated. While we sit there more tables fill with groups of 2 to 8 people, all apparently locals who must know something about this place.
The meal was delicious, with the tuna cooked close to perfection. I then realised what that is. We had obviously by accident found the alternative life that throbs in the Adriatic coast after the season, hidden behind the skin of the coast. Seek, and even if accidentally, you may find something that defies the change of season.