Our garrulous friend Stefano had taken it upon himself to act as our travel advisor shortly after our arrival in Pescara. He had declared Avezzano not worthy of a trip (corroborated by the lack of an entry in our guide book) and so we struck that off our itinerary and generated a free day for later in our stay. This free day risked becoming two when he pulled a face when we told him that our other planned stop was Vasto and declared "there's nothing there".
We reasoned that he wasn't strictly correct, in that there was a beach. Take the beach away from Pescara and there's also "nothing there", so we decided that we might as well experience "nothing except for a beach" in a new place, especially when the train costs were so small. And so we opted to follow our itinerary and head to Vasto anyway. Sorry, Stefano.
As a matter of fact we didn't get to see Vasto itself, which is a small town because the train station lies between it and another town called San Salvo and since we headed in the direction of the beach we ended up in Marina di Vasto - the town itself would require climbing up steep hills.
So to the beach we headed, finding it within a few minutes. As we'd noticed further up the road in Pescara, the sands were reminiscent of those usually found in brochures advertising venues a lot more expensive than ours.
It might only be a small place but it's adorned with palm trees and bright flowers. Who knew that palm trees came in so many flavours?
In truth there really wasn't much to do in Marina di Vasto. But then I suppose all most people want is to sit on the beach and soak up the sun and in that respect it's a perfectly pleasant resort. From the pier we could see the town of Vasto up in the hills but we were sweltering in the heat and could see that we would be punishing ourselves unduly by attempting to get up that steep slope so resolved to get something to eat instead. That was easier said than done - it was a Sunday, which didn't help, but also Italians tend to have later meal times than we Brits do and so we struggled to find an open venue, though we eventually managed to find a restaurant that was just opening.
Because so few trains run on a Sunday we were stranded for a while so took a long walk to the train station. Still well ahead of schedule, we finished our day out with some reading in the station. For no real reason I decided to explore the station about ten minutes before the train was due to arrive and saw that there was a cafe. Whoops - we actually could've had a degree of comfort for those couple of hours!
The next morning Stefano asked me what we'd been up to, pulling a face when I said "Marina di Vasto - non c'e niente!" "I told you!", he replied. Indeed he did
We saw fields of sunflowers around the Pescara region when travelling on the train and within minutes of leaving the train station at Marina di Vasto bumped into some more:
The streets were bordered by palms ...
... and here's Radio sheltering in a palm alleyway:
The palms were bearing fruit at the time of our visit:
The beach had the white sand that we saw at Pescara ...
... and lots of people were making use of it:
Up in the hills is the tiny town of Vasto but the journey up to it looked far too steep in the heat to be worth it ...
... so we stayed by the sea instead: