Day 5: Beach day to Santa Marinella

Today was our day off, sorta.  We’ve hit all the major sites that were on our list so it was going to be our free day to just have fun.  I had a wild hare to “go to the beach.”   Our destination today, Santa Marinella. I’ve never been to the beach in Italy and I really didn’t know how to get there other than a few pointers I’ve read on travel blogs.   The easy part was getting to the Termini station.  The kids are becoming Metro pros so I like to have them lead as much as possible.  Once we got to the Termini, it was yet another un-airconditioned crowded building.  Quick!  Get us out of here!  Not so fast…I went to use the self-ticket machines, seems easy enough…they have instructions in English.  But no matter how many times I typed Santa Mari…nothing came up. The machine didn’t even make a suggestion. What was I doing wrong?   I checked Google Maps at least 3 times and there is a station there, why couldn’t I find it?  I must have walked around the front of the station trying different machines and asking for help for about 30 minutes.  Poor kids.  Ben again, kicked into Scout mode (or perhaps he was dying to get to the beach) and made suggestions, read signs, pushed buttons.  Long story short…in Italian transportation, it isn’t called Santa Marinella…not even St. Marinella…it was S. Marinella. Of course!! It’s so apparent!

After finally getting our tickets we then had to figure out what track to go to.  The ticket may have given a clue but we could not figure it out.  10 minutes before our train left, a nice officer pointed the way.  Thing is, the track, number 27 was one of the airport tracks…at the far end of the terminal, like 2 football field lengths!  Off we ran.  In the humid heat of the morning, we ran.  All along in my head I’m thinking won’t an air-conditioned train feel so good? “Buzzzz!” sorry, try again.  There was no air-conditioning!!  Ahhhh.  But really, we were just happy to be on that train.  I would have really felt bad if we didn’t make it to the beach.  Both kids already had their suits on for God sakes. Total cost of the train ride for 3, 23 Euros (just in case anyone out there wants to visit that beach).

It was about an hour ride and we went from seeing graffiti walls, farmland to the ocean.  The ocean part was stunning. It was my first time seeing the Mediterranean and we were going to swim in it too!  The train station was literally two blocks from the sea.  I just kind of followed people until I saw the colored umbrellas lining the beach.  We rented an umbrella and 3 chairs for 40Euros for the day.  It was pretty crowded but so fun to Italian people watch.  At one point Ben walks up to me and says, “Mom…there is a naked kid in the water.”  Unfortunately there were no fish & chip, burgers or corn dog stands.  Seems like the snack food of choice is pizza.  So pizza we had.  We stayed for several hours and then it was time to get back.  We leave for Switzerland tomorrow to see Jen and family  and there is a lot of of packing to be done.  I think the beach trip was a hook.  I suggested we come back but the next time we rent a beach apartment and not move around.  I think they are into it.  Yeah!

POST TRIP TIPS: If you would like to make the same trip to Santa Marinella here are a few useful tips.

When purchasing a ticket from the ticket machine, Santa Marinella is spelled “S Marinella”  if you enter “Santa” or “St.” you will come up blank.  The end destination of the train is, Civitavecchia.  This is important when searching for the train as the end destination is what appearing on the platform screens.  FYI, for us, this train left and returned to the platform on the far right, all the way to the end.  I kid you not, a 10 minute from the front of the station.  Time it wisely.  Also, buy a roundtrip ticket.  Santa Marinella is a small station and there isn’t always an attendant.  If the ticket machine is broken, you might be stuck for a while.  Our train did not have air conditioning .  In July, it was pretty unbearable for an hour ride.  Make sure you have water.   We had air conditioning on the return train.

Once in Stanta Marinella, leave the station and head about 2 blocks to the ocean.  I took a right and walked a bit down the sidewalk until I came to a staircase that led down to the beach.  At the bottom of the stairs was a guy who was taking requests for umbrellas and chairs.  I got 3 lounge chairs and an umbrella for 40Euros.  Kinda pricey..but hey, I was in Italy.  There are changing rooms and bathrooms available near the umbrella office.   We didn’t have any towels.  I didn’t need one because it was so hot, i dried pretty quickly.  I bought one for Ben and it set me back 15Euros.  Next time I will be better prepared.  Bottom line, it was well worth it.

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