0521 The Many Faces of Rimini (Ita 046—new)

Rimini Travel Blog

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I’m looking forward to Rimini, if for no other reason than that it looks like there’s a 13 Euro hostel here… That’s well within my budget--  in fact, I could actually stay here a while if I wanted to.  And that’s a good feeling.  After 50 of feeling that I just have to keep moving all the time, Rimini might end up really feeling like a place I could call home…

 

But there’s something else about Rimini… This looks like the launching pad for conquering my 29th country, San Marino!  All the more reason to consider this town home…

 

So when I reach the Rimini Station, I make a beeline for the nearest Tourism Office, get directions to my hostel, ask about buses to San Marino and ask for, yes, a map…

 

Call me a wuss, but I’m doing it the easy way this time…

 

I quickly find my hostel.

.. take a shower… do some grocery shopping and take my very first swim in the Adriatic Sea… Then I take a long walk along the crowded boardwalk, just enjoying my new “home”…

 

God bless this tourist trap town…

 

After hiking way down the coast, I decide to cross under the railway and head back into town through a run of the mill residential neighbourhood.  But just as I’m nearing my hostel, I figure I’ll go ahead and take a quick peek at the Old City.  This is Saturday evening after all, and I suspect that that’s where the excitement might be…

 

At first I don’t see a lot going on… just a plaza turned into a parking lot, but then I see a crowd of people in an alley up ahead… I go closer to see and find…

 

One of the coolest bands I’ve ever heard.



I’m not sure what you’d call the style--  It’s like polka meets flamenco meets heavy metal… They had an accordion, a guy singing and screaming in a death metal voice… and a trumpet playing these passionate solos that sounded a bit like gypsy/East European style…

 

It was a really cool experience… something about the passionate music, mixed with the cheerful mingling going on in this packed, back alley of Rimini could only be described in four words:

 

I love this country.

 

Finally the concert ends and I head on my way.  But my night is far from over.

 

I go back to the hostel where I run into a Finnish sociologist/musician who is in the middle of doing research in Japan.

  We have two passions in common, so we hit it off right away.  Soon we were out wandering the streets together, discussing everything from immigration in Finland to the Japanese counter culture to socialism and work ethic to feminism and the drop in birthrates in Italy to the arrival of beggars from Eastern Europe (he told me that before their arrival, the concept of begging was simply unheard of in Finland)… It was a great chance to talk and learn from a guy with a lot of knowledge about many cultures…


I explain to him a bit about my Parkbenching Project, and he likes the idea, so I pull out my guitar and we take turns jamming tunes in a plaza that seems to be very popular with the younger Rimini crowd.  Folks around don’t seem to notice us that much--  but it’s still a lot of fun…

 

Finally, late into the night, I head on back to bed… It’s been a very full evening…

 

Two days later…

 

I end up staying a total of 3 nights in my temporary “home” here in Rimini… the first time I’ve felt at home since the beginning of my trip…


The first day was about meeting folks and experience the Rimini nightlife.

  The second day was all about nearby San Marino, and the third day was about exploring Rimini itself… The Old City does have quite a bit to offer…

 

First are a couple of majestic arch gateways that are what’s left of the great wall that once encircled the city.  On the south wall, an inscription catches my attention.  It’s a plaque honouring the Canadian forces who “liberated” this city from the “occupying” Nazis in World War II…

 

Maybe I got my history wrong… but I always had the idea that Italy was a willing and eager ally of the Nazis, not “occupied” by them… Could there be a bit of creating history editing going on here?  I’ll have to find out more about this…

 

Later I ask an Italian the question, “so do most Italians feel that you were the Italian people were victims in World War II or active participators?”

 

“Definitely victims” was his quick response.

  Then he gave it some thought “Well, actually, it’s a bit ironic, but the Mussolini dictatorship was the only period since the Roman Empire that Italians were truly united with a strong sense of nationalism…”

 

I had to ponder on that response for a long time.  It seems to be a theme I’ve seen all throughout Italy, this sense of a fragmented country where people feel they have little in common with each other. Italy has been a united nation for only 150 years, which is nothing compared to say, France, Spain, or England.  I guess the word “Italy” had always brought up in my mind images of a great, sophisticated empire that ruled much of the known world.  Yet there is very little linkage between that Italy and the Italy of today.  When Italians look back at their history, they see clans, families, regions, and dialects--  and that’s where their identity lies, not so much in their Italian identity. 

 

After my weeks of exploring France where, “one size fits all”, I’m really growing to love the complexity and confusion of this land--  and admire its progress and the great accomplishments of its people in recent history, despite the huge barriers there are between them.

 

 

And I guess I can understand a bit better why people would follow a guy like Mussolini who was able to instill in the this sense of grandeur and unity that had been lost for 1500 years…

 

Anyways…

 

Back into town, I reach the castle, which is a pretty impressive structure--  but not the Senigalia model… Then I take a couple of photos of some of the old cathedrals and the Main plazas… I’m tickled to see a list of Rimini’s sister cities and see “Ziguinchor, Senegal” on the list…

 

No disrespect for Ziguinchor (which I visited back in 2004) but I think Rimini is a little out of your league…

 

Then around on the north side of town where I come upon an authentic Roman bridge--  that’s still in use!  It’s a beautiful structure with massive carved stones in 5 arches… It’s really cool to see something from the Roman era that is not just ruins…

 

Everything wasn’t quite perfect here in Rimini… I go to a cybercafé where I find that I picked up some sort of virus in my USB and may have lost a bunch of my pictures… I go from one cybercafé to another until finally one helpful Bangladeshi (all of these cafés are run by Bangladeshis for some reason) who helps me access my photos…

 

Close call… I really doubt that I could go to all the cities I’ve seen in the last 50 days and retake the pictures I’ve taken--  but technically a city doesn’t “count” if I don’t have a picture of me with my guitar in it!  So I could’ve found myself in quite a predicament!

 

Anyways, I finally get it all sorted out, and I get ready to head on my way, for the third leg of my Italian tour…

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Rimini
photo by: sarah_82