“Let’s go to the Black Rock Beach,” he said. “It’s a bit out of the way so there should be less people!” he said.

In the summer of 2011 I came to stay with Marco for five weeks and we planned a five day vacation to Isola d’Elba, or Elba Island.

IMG_2810

I came to Elba knowing, like most of my initial travels, next to nothing. It’s an island? hurray! We’ll take a ferry? Cool! It’s off the coast of Tuscany? I love Tuscany!

You get the idea…

A popular island, especially in August when Italians go on vacation and head to the beaches en masse, we had already tried the beaches in Marina di Campo, driven up to the white sand beaches of Biodola and briefly made a pit-stop at another public beach before realizing that there was no space for us to even lay our towels down. We were ready to escape the crowds.

Biodola Beach. Beautiful but crowded. I suggest going for sunset to have the beach to yourself.

Biodola Beach. Beautiful but crowded. I suggest going for sunset to have the beach to yourself.

That’s when Marco found out about the Black Rock Beach.

The information online said that it was a bit more difficult to get to, so that cuts the families out; without sand, that cuts out the glamorous sun bathers; and on a more “wild” coast of the island, eliminating the weak swimmers. We were ready to go!

The trip started well with a bumpy, but spectacularly beautiful ride along a gravel road clinging to the cliff. After nearly an hour and many photo-stops we arrived at Villaggio Gabbiano, a luxury resort on the top of the cliff with private swimming pools, horses and anything else the rich would want, including convenient parking… So we parked there and set off on foot.

NOT dressed for a hike (beach ball not shown)

NOT dressed for a hike (beach ball not shown)

 

Culprit

Culprit

Forty-five minutes later and we began to suspect a wrong turn. An hour later and we started to look for options out. “Let’s go to the Black Rock Beach,” he said. “It’s a bit out of the way so there should be less people!” he said. In flip flops with a beach ball and an umbrella, we definitely weren’t prepared for such a long hike and as per usual when Marco drags me on an unexpected hike (see “From Portofino to San Fruttuoso on Foot“) I wasn’t thrilled.

Luckily for us the garbage man came rolling by. Turns out we had passed the path that leads to the Black Rock Beach, but now at least we had a ride back. Too far in to back out now, we thanked the driver for the ride and fought back trees and wildflowers to follow a donkey path down to the sea rocks below. Scrambling over the huge rocks we finally made it to the beach – a glorious stretch of jet-black rocks that welcomed us and only us. The only other person a small boat drifting in a nearby cove.

 

IMG_2842 2

So I wasn’t thrilled, but I have to admit: As per usual when Marco drags me on an unexpected hike, it was completely worth it!

IMG_2823

 

Written by ginamussio

3 Comments

#Winning: The Liebster Blogging Award - From Italy, With Love

[…] Tell the story of the best hospitality you’ve gotten from a stranger.Italy is a prime location to find travel hospitality. In all my travels in Italy I generally find the people to be warm, funny and ready to welcome you in – especially if you admire the food or attempt to speak in Italian! It’s not unusual when hiking in the Alps to be invited in for a coffee when passing someone’s cabin, and the patience of the Florentine’s for the tourists that swarm their city is awe-inspiring. The hospitality that affects me the most is that from Italians who have welcomed me into their country with open arms, but the hospitality that saved me was the trash truck driver who picked Marco and I up in the middle of a mountain on Elba Island to help us find the right path to our hidden beach. […]

Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *