Tuesday, June 24, 2014

This is not the beach you're looking for

Whenever I explained which cities were on our Italian itinerary, I always said that Trieste is a beach town. While that's true, it should be noted that the beach is nothing like what I expected from my experiences in Florida and the Caribbean.

First, there's no sand. People just lay out on concrete. For people who think playing in wet sand is about 80 percent of the reason to visit a beach, this is a huge disappointment.

Now, who really wants to lay on concrete?
Second, all women wear bikinis no matter what type of body they have. It's admirable. And a few of them go topless. Unfortunately for Ryan, none of those were women he particularly would have wished to see topless (due entirely to their advanced ages).
Third, the Adriatic Sea is beautiful, clear and extremely inviting -- until you realize it's teeming with jellyfish. I'm not sure how you could do anything except stand there and play defense the entire time.

The water is clear enough to see every rock on the bottom. And every jellyfish. 

Fourth, the beautiful and expensive resort actually requires you to pay extra for beach access. It appears to work somewhat like a swim club membership: You pay for a day or season pass, and you are entitled to various tiers of perks:
  • Swimming and concrete sunbathing only: 6.5 Euros on weekends; 5 Euros on weekdays
  • Swimming and the lease of a deck chair: 8 Euros on weekends; 6 Euros on weekdays
  • Swimming, a deck chair, an umbrella, a table and service: 28 Euros
  • Swimming, a deck chair, and a small cabana to store your stuff: 800 Euros for the season
The view from our hotel's balcony early in the morning, before the sun was enticing enough to draw beach goers. 

The beach up the coast had a pool in addition to the cabanas, deck chairs and wooden pallets. There are an assortment of piers dotting the coast that drew crowds.  
Some people also were sunning themselves on large wooden pallets, but I couldn't figure out a price for those and the attendant didn't speak English. Besides swimming and sunbathing, paying guests can use gaming tables, eat at private cafes that serve alcoholic beverages, and swim in pools (in the case of a neighboring beach).
Trieste does have several miles of free beaches closer to downtown, and there are small pockets of free access between the resorts in the area where we stayed. We passed the main beach on Sunday afternoon and it was incredibly crowded.

So while I was really looking forward to the beach (it was literally the only item on the spreadsheet for Sunday afternoon), it turns out Trieste doesn't really have my kind of beach: I'm too pale and paranoid to tan anymore; I'm petrified of jellyfish stings; and if I wanted to lay on concrete and be uncomfortable, there's always a nearby parking lot available for free. I settled for sticking my toes in the water with a wary eye on three nearby jellyfish that looked menacing.

My toes on the stairs into the sea.

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