Saturday, I went to Santa Severa, a seaside commune just outside of Rome, with a few of my coworkers.
Of course, the day did not go off without a hitch in true Hannah Needleman manner. We planned to meet at Termini train station at 10:30, right between the McDonald’s and the Nike store. I woke up early (9:00 AM), packed my bag, made a quick stop to get a cornetto con ciocolato, and hopped on the metro. Just six stops until Termini! I get off the metro with plenty of time to spare. I knew where the McDonald’s was, an easy landmark for the American tourist.
Well, I thought so atleast. I got to the McDonald’s around 10:15 AM. Finding the McDonald’s was easy. But where was the Nike store? I looked left. I looked right. Neither of the neighboring stores was Nike. But then I saw a sign, indicating another McDonald’s downstairs, I thought “Aha! There it is!” I quickly made my way downstairs, not wanting to be late. I find this second, elusive McDonald’s and… no Nike store in sight. (I should mention at this point that I don’t have a working phone number in Italy. I’m doing it old school – only relying on the few and far between free WiFi hotspots.) At this point, it is 10:30 AM, and I am late. I finally find some WiFi and am able to connect with my coworkers. Yes, it was the first McDonald’s.
By the time I get upstairs, meet up with my coworkers, and buy my ticket we have three minutes to get to the train. No small feat when our train just happens to be one of the few trains leaving from the other end of the station. Caroline says, “Oh, we will be fine! Just a quick jog!” I soon realized I was completely out of my element. A quick jog to them was a sprint to me, and I was out of breath and wheezy… looking every bit stereotypical American.
Long story short, we missed the train. The next train was not for another hour, but my coworkers weren’t too bothered; I treated them to coffee after all. The next train came, and we were slowly but surely we were on our way.
On the train we discussed how Italy is a constant series of trial and error… I’m not sure I would have it any other way.
After arriving at the Santa Severa station, you followed the crowds on the 15-minute walk to the beach. Finally, we arrived at the beach! This is a free beach, which is actually a rarity in Italy. Although that might sound odd if you are used to public beaches in America, most other beaches cost you around € 5-10 – more if you want to use a beach chair and umbrella.
The beach was quite crowded, which is expected in the summer heat. The beach has dark sand, which is mixed with small stones and pebbles closer to the shoreline. This beach also has a castle view! The castle is Castello di Santa Severa, and it sits right on the waters edge. The water was murky compared to the crystal clear Florida beaches, but it was a much welcomed oasis to the sweltering heat.
We ended the day with ice cold margaritas and tacos. Not a bad day. We all came home sun kissed, relaxed, and content. Truly la dolce vita.