Having seen, over the past days, the turquoise strip lining the horizon in the far distance, it was time to leave the peace and tranquility of the Marche countryside and have a day at the seaside. On reflection, a mistake.
An hour down the motorway to Ancona and then, a few miles out of town, the map suggested a narrow, picturesque lane down to a bay. Clues to what we would find lay in our approach. Firstly, stopping off on the cliff-top to see, in the distant haze, the waters of the Adriatic and a shimmering beach covered with row after row of different coloured sunbeds lined up like regiments preparing an attack. The battalion stand like small-scale, model soldiers, on station, firm and erect, facing the appealing waters, stretching away as far as the eye can see. Preparing to attack or defend what? The sea? Hmmmm.
With trepidation we follow the tarmac down. Like an evacuation, cars are parked, nee abandoned, on every spare bit of road, every field. We get down the bottom. Both beach car parks are full. ‘Park your car up on the field a km away with the other thousand motors and get the shuttle bus down’. OMG. What must the beach be like!!
So we cut our losses and abandon that plan. We take the cliff road to Soroli. A picturesque town high on the cliffs above the coast and, yes, the car parks and rocky beaches way, way below.
The place is almost empty. I suppose everyone has booked their sunbeds for the day and is roasting down on the rocks. Here we find our one nugget, our small piece of calm and class. In the shade of a fig tree, outside a small boutique hotel we have a simple lunch- canelloni stuffed with assorted seafood, a couple of glasses of the local white and apricot tart to finish up with. Heaven. The high spot of the day.
Then back in the car, down to Sunbed Strip and Umbrella City and the angled, wooden beds of browning, burning bodies on one side of the road and the parked heat-locked cars parked on the other, before giving up, hot and exasperated, and heading for the the cool breezes of the hills, back to our peaceful base. Why did we go out in the first place?