I have decided on my days off between teaching, to go camping at the beach.
It is called Fiorentina della Pescaia.
There is an ancient fort at the top of the village and a row of restaurants along the shore below. My favorite is a place at the very beginning of the rocks that divide an inlet from the sea. The dining room is nothing but windows wide open to the water and salty air, and tables and chairs that look like they have been recycled at least twice. Fishing boats anchor alongside and the flapping and snapping catch is loaded directly into the kitchen. I don’t know what the kitchen looks like behind those swinging doors.
There can’t be much more than a massive bucket of teeny, tiny clams, a bucket of butter, a barrel of fresh parsley, one of garlic, a pasta pot loaded with baskets of spaghetti, a load of hot pans ready for the clams and somebody with a good arm and a loud mouth, for throwing everything together and then yelling that it is ready.
Unless you are allergic, there is no reason to get anything other than spaghetti alle vongole.
It is perfect every time. Along with, I get a half carafe of slightly fizzy white wine. No dessert. When I am done, I like to just sit for a minute with the tablespoon of espresso, heavy with sugar that sinks to the bottom of the cup and then get up and walk along the beach in the dark.
The ocean always brings me back; like they used to promise in those Calgonite commercials.
Next to where I sleep at home, under the lamp, there is a teeny, tiny little shell to remind me.