A Day in the Life – Postcards from Romagna

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Cattolica, romagna, emilia romagna,#emiliaromagna,#cattolica,mare,#mare,mare adriatico, adriatic sea, vacation at the adriatic sea, vacation in Italy with kids, what to do in Italy with kids, where to go in Italy with kids, how to vacation like an Italian, where to go on vacation in europe with kids, where to go in italy with kids,

 

As you know I’m on vacation,  hence my slightly burned shoulders! Even though I’m here for the rest of the week alone with my 2 year old, I still really want to blog and share a bit of life (while he naps!) In case you’re wondering about what the Riviera Romagnola is I’ve explained it a little here.

 

 

Even though I’ve been taking a lot (a ridiculous amount, actually) of photos on this trip I haven’t had the chance to upload them, so this post features pictures from last year’s vacation!  Not much has changed, aside from my little guy being a older and my updated summer outfits!   On Wednesday I’ll try to show you what I’ve been wearing and what I’ve packed.  You won’t want to pay much attention to what I’ve packed, however, because I have severely over-packed for this beach getaway and could have brought a lot less stuff.  Maybe I should call the post “What NOT to pack for 10 days at the beach”!

 

Last Year

 

These pictures are actually fitting since I’ve had last year on my mind a lot lately.  I’m an overly enthusiastic individual, and when I’m on vacation in Romagna I often comment about how happy I am here and what a great vacation it is, only to be met with an expression that says “have you EVER been anywhere else?” or “Are you kidding?” or “Have you been to Sardegna?”

 

Now that I am accustomed to the Riviera Romagnola I cannot seem to let a year go by without spending some time here.  Even though we are also going to Lisbon and Copenhagen this summer (in September I will be POOR!!!) we still managed to find a few hundred Euro so that my son and I could stay at this quaint little 2 star hotel and have this vacation at the sea side.

 

To me, a vacation in Romagna isn’t about the beauty of the sea, per se, but how COMFORTABLE IT IS!  The moment you have kids, vacation going changes.  I’ve been on a few trips with my son (trans-Atlantic flights alone to Toronto, 5 rushed days in Berlin, his birthday extravaganza trip to Rome)  but I wouldn’t exactly call any of them “relaxing”.

 

To me, a vacation to the Riviera Romagnola, even though it has brown sand beaches and murky water, is like deciding to go to an all-inclusive hotel with kiddie pool. You know your kids will be happy therefore you are happy.

 

You go all-inclusive because as a parent it gives you peace of mind knowing there will be something for the kids to do, they will be welcomed, there will be services and food for them and maybe ….JUST MAYBE ….you will be able to relax.

 

Last year I tried to convince a Roman friend to come to the Riviera Romagnola with his family and vacation with us.  Known throughout Italy as the “Poor Man’s Vacation”, he couldn’t bare the thought of a low-brow trip and told me:

 

My impression of riviera is:
Crappy sea, hot dirty sand, screaming child, overcharged low-quality sea food, disco’s lovers, pre-packed defrosted ice cream, no parking zone.
So, my question has always been, why? Why do people do this to themselves?

I dont like riviera. Never did, never will!

 

 

Ouch.

 

He isn’t the only one who refuses to come to Romagna.  This article, from the BBC’s Danny Mitzman, sums it up perfectly, if people tell you they are vacationing in Romagna they will tell you “with a mixture of pride and embarrassment”! 

 

My response to him was the following email….

 

 

A Day in the Life – The Riviera Romagnola

 

Totally!!! I can’t wait!! This year Zeno will be one of those screaming kids!! I want to take him to the aquarium, and on the baby go karts and to “baby dance”!! 

 

 We never need to take the car, you park at the hotel and then walk, or rent a four person bicycle that has two seats in the front for kids!
In the morning you just walk out of the hotel, after having the free breakfast, and you are right on the beach.
We’ll go to our Bagno in the early morning, leave our toys at our sun bed under the umbrella and then I will put Zeno in the baby carrier and walk along the shore while the tide is low and there are kilometers of wet, cold sand.
Then I will put on his hat and let him play in the shallow water along the shore.
At 11:30 we’ll go back to the hotel and get ready for lunch. We’ll eat at the hotel or in a piadineria! I’ll have a piadina with grilled vegetables and Marco will have one with sausage while Zeno eats one with Prosciutto Cotto and Mozzarella.
After lunch we’ll have a nap in the hotel room and then at 3:30 we’ll go back to the beach and make a castle and do gymnastics in the water.  Over the speaker they will play the same songs over and over again until I know all the words.
Then if Zeno goes poo in his bathingsuit, I’ll take him to the baby changing room where there are wipes and a changing table and a sink, and it won’t be a big deal.
When Zeno is tired of the sand I can bring him to the area with slides, and swings and other babies playing in plastic houses with windows and doors that open and close and he’ll play peekaboo! Or he can join the baby activities group and make a craft and meet the Disney characters that walk along the beach to greet the kids.
Then at 4:40 we’ll have a snack and cocktail and make friends with the other people having snacks and cocktails. At 6:30 we’ll take a walk along the shore and go way out and enjoy the sun slowly setting.
Then we’ll walk for two minutes back to the hotel and shower.  Dinner will be included and someone else will make it!  There are usually five or six options for every meal. I’ll have grilled fish and Marco will have a huge fried fish platter.  Zeno will have pasta with pomodoro and after ten minutes he’ll be bored of eating and he’ll want to play or throw his napkin on the floor.
This won’t be a big deal and no one will give us dirty looks because the hotel restaurant will be filled with other kids who are also bored and throwing their napkins.   The older kids will distract the younger kids and the old people will play and make faces at the babies. And Marco and I will be able to totally relax and actually talk to each other instead of feeling embarrassed and asking for the bill and wanting to leave. Last year, in August, someone played with Zeno at every meal and Marco and I drank wine and chatted.
After dinner we’ll go back to the room and brush our teeth.  I’ll put on makeup and get dressed up and we’ll head out to take a walk with the friends we made at our 4:30 cocktail.
We can walk to the ferris wheel, or we can go to the free concerts or markets or watch the people dancing the waltz along the boardwalk.  We’ll stop into one of the hundreds of children’s arcades, or let Zeno drive a baby go-cart!
Or we could take the car into Rimini’s centre!  It will be filled with people and the museums and art galleries will all be open late.  We can have a gelato and sit in the square and blow bubbles or buy some cheap jewelry from the street sellers or vintage glasses from the midnight market.
Zeno will fall asleep in his stroller and will be so exhausted he’ll sleep until the next morning.
Honestly. I’m hooked!! I love the Riviera Romagnola!!
 But Marco doesn’t want me to convince you to come because he thinks you won’t have a good time!!
So it’s ok if you don’t!  But maybe next year.
_________________________________________________________
Do you want to know what my friend responded?
You idiot!!
Ok, we will come but only for the cheap jewellery!!

 

 

 

Ok, it is almost time to head back out to the beach.  I LOVE your comments and am just finding some time now to read and respond to all of the comments that were left over the weekend.  Thank you for taking the time to leave your thoughts.

 

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  • Why are Roman’s the snottiest ever when it comes to vacays?

    Since my husband’s mother is from Romagna they use to spend some time on the beach there and he is continually trying to talk me into it – however – previously I’d heard the stories (told of course by snotty Romans).

    It looks like the perfect place for childhood summer memories!!!!! I don’t remember glitz when I was little I remember having fun, my parents being happy sitting on the beach and playing!

    Next year I’m coming, yes?! And I’ll probably eat to much piadina with the that weird delicious cheese!

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    • You mean this is a Roman thing?? AND even though he is such a vacation snob he decided to take his family to the free beach in Ostia last week, and actually had a great time!! Your husband’s family is from Romagna?! You should let him talk to you into coming (but not with his parents!) and I think Florence will have the time of her life….who knows maybe we’ll meet you.

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  • Joe

    Like that picture of him posing in the pram 🙂

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  • Cristina

    WOW that sounds like the best vacation EVER….one day….we are coming! My kids would LOVE IT

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    • This made my day yesterday AND today!! Ok here’s the plan, the next time you guys come to Italy I will help you plan. The riviera is located on the train routes to Venice, so you could squeeze in a four day stop over for the kids between two major cities like Rome and Venice.

      To give you an idea of price, my two star hotel (which is PERFECT for a trip anywhere from 1 to 14 days!) is about 37 euro a night per person INCLUDING breakfast and DINNER!… kids are free under a certain age. You can find so many deals for around or under 50 euro a person that include all meals, and we’re talking Italian meals (first, second, dessert, wine, coffee), plus kid options.

      Ok….don’t toy with my emotions, if you come we’ll come and meet you at the beach!!

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  • This post cracks me up. It’s so true that traveling changes when you have children. To be happy yourself, you will want them to be happy. I think your vacation sounds like fun, except I’m not much of a beach person at all. Enjoy your time!

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