One Day (and Night) in Cesenatico

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When we travel with most of the children we tend to stick to the minibus as our mode of transport. It is much easier to pile our belongings and them onto it and set off than it is dealing with passport queues and airports with the ten of them, especially as so many of them are still so young. Over the next couple of years, as our younger ones reach the ages of the middle ones, and the middle ones become older and more responsible (stops to think about what she’s just written), we will probably venture onto planes and trains. For the moment, it’s automobiles (well, just the one very large one) and road trips (very, very long ones).

A general rule of thumb is that we add around 30% of the Sat Nav’s estimated travel time on, allowing for its slower speed than smaller vehicles, any traffic we may come across and of course, the regular stops that our tribe of toilet tourists require. Given that I am still nowhere near perfecting the art not yelling/not bribing/not threatening to kill the kids from the front seat across the several rows behind me, something I expect will not happen until they either buck up and get on with enjoying the journey without trying to kill each other, or when hell freezes over (the latter is arriving sooner than the former, it seems), we try to limit any one drive to around 12 hours. So if the Sat Nav estimates a 9 hour journey, we’ll expect a 12 hour one. It works out pretty accurately.

Our original travel plans had us due to drive directly from Punta Sabbioni in Veneto down to Matino in Puglia in one day. The Sat Nav estimated this to be around 10 and a half hours long or, to put it more accurately, ‘No *%£!ing way’. Given that the Marina di Venezia holiday parc we were staying in with Eurocamp had closed down pretty much everything before visitors had even left for the season, we decided to pack up and leave a day earlier than booked, stopping off four and a half hours along the coast in the fishing town of Cesenatico.

We found a couple of last minute family rooms available at the Ostello Stella Marina, a hostel situated only 2km from the town centre. The hostel was immaculately clean, with free on site parking, a bar and restaurant and free wi-fi in public areas. It also has its own private beach just a short 200 metre walk away. For an additional fee you can also take advantage of the shuttle service, a laundry service and fax/photocopying services too, as well as air conditioning should you need it.

The rooms provided were more than adequate for an overnight stop for a family. Each family room slept six (ours had seven beds available in it, I assume the other room did too), and all towels and sheets were provided.

 

ostello stella marina

 

Being a hostel, there was no kitchen or living area. The dorm room was extremely spacious – large enough for the kids to happily try out Joseph’s skateboard. There were also two toilets, one within its own room together with bidet, basin and shower, and another within its own cubicle.

 

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Both toilets led off from a larger shower room with another two separate showers and two basins.

 

ostello stella marina cesenatico

 

The beds were very comfortable and we all slept well there, although we did have to be up and early to leave by 7am in order to get back on the road again. We did have a good, albeit short, stay there, and would definitely recommend Ostello Stella Marina to anyone looking for a convenient stopover. We booked two family rooms at the Ostello Stella Marina through booking.com for a reasonable $70 each, which we were very happy with.

 

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After dropping off our belongings for the night we decided to check out the Ostello Stella Marina’s private beach. We were given a card at the hostel’s reception desk which we needed to present to the chap at the snack kiosk. Once again, our ‘poco’ Italian and the guy’s non-existent English was helped along perfectly by some pretty fabulous gesticulations and animated expressions. We gathered that we could have two sunbeds and parasols as we were renting two rooms, and we also had full use of the private basketball and volleyball courts. There was also a toilet cubicle available for use which was once again very clean.

 

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It turned out that this beach was perfect for beachcombing…

 

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…proving to be bountiful with lots and lots of treasure.

 

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So much, it was a challenge to carry it all…

 

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Until finally, it was time to share the precious bounty…

 

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Because it would be shell-fish not to share…

 

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…goodies like these…

 

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…or these…

 

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Occasionally, the bounty hunters were disturbed by the sound of an old man loudly laughing, a sound that actually turned out the be one of the largest seagulls we had ever seen, watching and chuckling from a rooftop nearby.

 

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Soon, almost everyone was on the search for treasure…

 

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…which was found with little effort…

 

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…and discovered often…

 

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Soon they had added enough to their collection…

 

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…to start work on a new project…

 

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‘Dead Crab World’

 

Building Dead Crab World in Cesenatico

 

Eventually it was time to say goodbye to the beautiful beach and the newly constructed Dead Crab World, and head off into the town for a spot of birthday dinner.

 

Isobel on the beach Cesenatico

 

It took only minutes to drive along to the Cesenatico canal, taking longer to find a spot to park. This isn’t easy at the best of times in a place like Italy where narrow roads and a 17-seater minibus don’t marry well. Cesenatico did have plenty of parking spaces. However, we seemed to have picked a night when roads were closed and diversions were created, due to what looked like some kind of charity walk or run, gathering by the people walking by in numbered bibs and vests.

 

Bel and Paddy telescope Cesenatico

 

We drove around to the other side of the canal where we found an almost empty car park beside the canal. In fact, this whole area was much quieter than the other. The reason for this soon became apparent, all the activity was on the other side and the canal’s crossing service would be ending within the hour.

We soon realised that the very little time we had to spend in this place would not be enough. Driving by the canal, we loved watching its beauty unfold as the evening wore on.

 

joseph on telescope at Cesenatico

 

Cesenatico was founded early in the 1300s after Cesana was in urgent need of a seaport for its trade and the little town soon became dependant upon its harbour.

 

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In time, the Italian general Cesare Borgia decided that the harbour needed protecting from the waves and that defence works were necessary and so Leonardo da Vinci designed the port canal, the original design of which can be found in the Institut de France in Paris.

 

Canal mouth Cesenatico

 

With five miles of sandy beaches to enjoy, Cesenatico has become a popular spot with tourists and the pretty harbour is lined with restaurants. Sights to see in the area include the Floating Marine Museum which includes a floating nativity scene, and the skyscraper on the beach, both of which we missed due to it being so late in the day. It is also home to a statue of Guiseppe Garibaldi, one of the first statues to be erected in Italy back in 1884.

The statues below are no longer there as we had to take them with us…

 

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We did see this statue of a woman and two children at the mouth of the canal harbour which we thought was wonderfully impressive indeed.

 

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The statue depicts a sailor’s bride or the wife of a fisherman, rushing to the harbour with her children early in the morning…

 

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She watches and waits to ensure her husband’s safe return from working at sea since the early hours of the morning…

 

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As she continued to look over the horizon, we decided it was time to find somewhere to eat. As it was Joseph’s 7th birthday, the day had begun with a nutritious breakfast of waffles, ice-cream and whipped cream.

 

Canal Cesenatico

 

It was about to end with a delicious feast of carbs, with the children tucking into huge platefuls of tagliatelle bolognese, while I opted for the ravioli and Mike satisfied his recently discovered love of risotto at La Pesg-ga on Viale Lungomare Ponente, 41. Freshly prepared and full of flavour it was one of the most delicious meals we had had in a very long time. The cooking was impressive and the cost was more than reasonable. The service was also excellent, with them extending even more kindness to us after learning that it was Joseph’s birthday and presenting him with a tray of ice-lollies as they played the tune of Happy Birthday, along with a kiss which I think Joseph particularly liked! Joseph said it was his best birthday ever and he loved it there.

 

dinner at la pesg-ga cesenatico

 

Unfortunately, we had to make our way back to the hostel in order to be up and out early in the morning in order to continue our trip.

 

Cesenatico canal at night

 

Brace yourself, Cesenatico, we will be back.

 

 

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