Deride the prejudice
17 people found this review helpful
Rimini is not difficult to reach and has long since ceased to be trendy. Budget airlines go there, but that does not diminish it in any way. It is a lively resort firmly fixed on the east coast of Italy and in the 20th century. A bit behind the times, but it doesn’t try to be retro, any more than Blackpool does. There are all the joys, pleasures and disappointments one would expect from a popular resort. I have seen many, trailing behind my wife who has to visit these places in line of duty. Not the beaches, but some unexpected corner less than half an hour away. A possible bus ride away from Rimini San Marino is one such treasure. Not recommended on one of those multiple seated cycles that trundle along the beach road. It is a tiny tax haven located on high country and important in the time when height was very important for survival. Half way between San Marino and Rimini is San Patrigano where we were visiting an astounding rehabilitation community for people defeating a drug habit. Done through work, where they make hand made wall paper, stunning materials on hand operated looms and creating astounding furniture from discarded barrels. Then there is Rimini itself, where it is possible to rent a personal parking spot on the beach for a day or half day. Comfortable lounger, exotic shade, clear sea a few yards away. They all compete, with different attractions so that the beach will contain people who enjoy similar things to you. Activities for children, activities that do not include children and themes that cover the holidaying world. Nothing unique, even the two distinct parts of the town can be found in most resorts. The up market end and the decidedly seedy end. Even here, where we were looking for a recommended ice cream parlour, there is a less attractive area. Despite that, it did not seem a threatening sort of zone. The hotel receptionist suggested it was the best ice cream in all Italy, then it needed to be checked out. Of course, the proprietor was an uncle or cousin of the receptionist, nothing new there. It was on the way back from a fairly nice product from the nearly famous galateria that we stopped for dinner. I know we had desert first, but that was an appetiser. The restaurant rested about half way between the salubrious and the salacious. The meal was reasonable, as expected in a place that was competing with style on one side and cheap on the other. Then the bill came and a moment that divides the meek, me, from the not so meek, my wife. There are acres of advice about complaining and how it is necessary. The meal was acceptable and if there had been an automatic service charge, it would have been paid automatically, probably. If the service is not so good, then I feel even the meek should complain and perhaps not even pay service charges. But, in this instance there was a cover charge added. I have never come across this before, but I do know a ‘cover’ is the restaurant term for the table. As we finished coffee, we speculated on the alternative to having a table and finally agreed that providing a meal without a table would be very difficult. Deducting this extra charge from the bill was more than the elderly waiter could manage. I began to feel sorry for him. He was nearly as old as me. He shouldn’t be trying to argue with tourists about bills. He finally gave up and went to find for the manageress. I use the feminine term, for the Italians even have a different word for a female manager, so they still recognise the difference. The conversation was interesting in broken Italian, broken English and a little French thrown in for good measure. It has always been noticeable that when one tries to cope with the local language, it may provoke merriment, but is usually appreciated. I couldn’t follow a lot of what was going on, but we left as the manageress wished us ‘bueno sierra’ between gritted teeth and I was anxious about the look on my wife’s face. I didn’t have to wait long, for sure enough, next evening we went to the same restaurant. The evening was not totally unexpected. We sat in the same place and the same waiter came to take our orders. He had to do a double take and very nearly turned round and fled, but he was made of sterner stuff. He asked what we wanted . “Niente,” my wife said. Of course he didn’t properly understand. Even I can say ‘nothing’ in several languages. When she told him we would just pay ‘coperto,’ he did flee to find the manageress. She came very soon, the same one with the marvellous teeth that looked much better when they are not clenched. She was brilliant. She didn’t stand over us demanding all sorts of things, but grabbed an adjacent chair and swung it round so she could sit at the head of the table. ‘I don’t pay the cover charge!’ After that good start, there followed a conversation that I couldn’t follow. The gist was that we were welcome to stay as long as there wasn’t a rush of customers who would pay for the table and also buy food. When it was explained to me later, the charge is a service charge and I guess the geographical position of the restaurant between customers who need to complain and those who don’t requires them to call it something else. The manageress smiled a lot and I could see that there was some meeting of minds. We did have another meal and the bill, when it came, was minus the cover charge. Italians can be very unpredictable, as can my wife who paid an unusual tip. I shall never properly understand women. Although serried ranks of beach umbrellas and all the souvenir shops competing is not everyone’s idea of a perfect holiday , Rimini is only where Italy kisses the Adriatic with a smile. Behind Rimini and most other resorts, there are places that deserve a little of your time. As far as complaining is concerned, I believe there should be a course for holiday makers about how to do it properly without raising blood pressure. I think service personnel already do it. The other thing I have come to terms with is that there is no such thing as a boring place, only boring people. When I have the opportunity to visit somewhere new, I know not to be snooty about it if it’s not my first choice and just welcome the chance to see somewhere I may not have thought to visit. So, look for that cheap flight to anywhere and be prepared for discoveries.
17 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.