October 30, 2013

Tuscany Trip - Part 5 - Camaiore and Viareggio

When picking a place to stay for this trip, it was quite hard to decide where to locate ourselves. We tend to like being in the non touristy towns, away from noise and close to climbing. So, for this trip, we chose to be in Camaiore, a town of about 31,000, close to the sea,  right by the best climbing in the area, and less than an hour from Pisa and Lucca. 

The town had everything we needed. Supermarkets, stores, good local restaurants, awesome markets, and of course, gelato. Plus, a nice downtown area complete with park for the kids.We were lucky to be staying in Camaiore right when they were having a huge pepper festival! Every single type of pepper could be found, and all kinds of fun gifts and handmade items with a pepper theme were being sold as well.

Walking down the pedestrian only downtown of Camaiore

Just down the road from Camaiore lies a  larger famous seaside resort town called Viareggio. We parked right by the marina our first visit and couldn't get over all the yachts and sailboats in the marina/port. Unreal! Some honestly looked like cruise ships, but were private yachts. Who owns these boats?!

On the main strip parallel to the beach are numerous expensive clothing stores and restaurants, all with private clubs and private access to the beach. So bizarre. You can't just walk out on to the beach easily like you do in the states. You have to pay and go through a private club to get access. Luckily, it was the off season, and hardly a soul was at the beach, and the private clubs were mostly closed up. We found a small public entrance at the end of the promenade and  then a private club playground that was open/free since the beach season was over, and the kids had a grand time for an hour before we settled down to eat lunch.

Sand Angels

When we weren't visiting the towns and cities of Tuscany, we were happily resting and exploring the mountainside where we rented a villa. Just a short hike up the hill from our villa was a neat castle tower we enjoyed hiking to with the kids. Along the mountainsides fruiting trees were ripe with oranges, lemons, persimmons, pomegranates, olives, and figs. So awesome to be able to pick fresh fruits from the trees and gobble it up on the spot. We caught frogs and lizards and interesting insects many hours of our day, and collected wood for outside fires. Boccie ball games filled up many evening hours along with "hide and seek" and "ghost in the graveyard". In the daytime, while resting around the villa, I enjoyed playing around with my new  lens and practicing some photography skills on my little ones. Each night, I enjoyed cooking dinner using all the fresh ingredients we'd buy at the markets and grocery stores (pesto, Parmesan, olive oil, pasta, olives, and the list goes on).


No two doors are alike in Italy...

The front door to our villa. I have a thing for doors...
These flowers grew all over the forest floor.

Outdoor showers were Cooper's favorite.
Boccie Ball Games
Playing with a Lizard

And each night, after our busy fun filled days together, the kids would enjoy a bath , snuggle in bed for books, and fall quickly to sleep, worn out from a full day's play. Sublime.

Only one more post to go...

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