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Ignoring common sense, we scheduled a European trip in August. I know, it's the hottest month of the year, nothing is open because everyone is on vacation, and no rooms are available because everyone is on vacation. It was hot, but small towns were unaffected by vacations, and we managed to find places to stay everywhere we went.
We were on our way to Sicily to visit my wife's ancestral roots, traveling by train from Foggia to Reggio. Since we had no set schedule and the views of the southern coast of the "boot" were proving extremely enticing from the open windows of the coach, at Soverato, one of the many station stops, we decided to jump off. If this town didn't pan out, it was only 3pm and another train would be by every hour; we could try another town.
Not too many foreign tourists travel along the southern coast of Italy. The station is not in the center of town so the silence as the train pulled away was welcome. We got a cab into town and failed in the first couple attempts to find a room for the night. The driver said, "No fear." He had some friend or relative who ran the Hotel del Golfo. Not knowing what to expect we were pleased to find that it was on the beach and very pleasant. The proprietress was excited to find American guests, loved President Clinton (which she pronounced "Cleen tone") and gave us her last room, on the ground floor and facing the beach for about $35! (I later sent her a photo of Clinton that I made in 1992. I wonder if I ever return there will I find the photo framed in the lobby?)
During our short stay in Soverato we enjoyed swimming at the beach, a procession honoring Saint Rocco complete with the town band, a pleasant dinner followed by the requisite gelatto and "passagia" along the beachfront. As it was mid-August the route was lined with rides and booths for the town festival. In the morning I walked the deserted beach with a few other early risers and observed the fisherman (the really early risers) unload their catches from the night, and kibitzed at a bocce club. Finally we caught our train and continued to Reggio and Sicilia.