I'm over in the west coast of Italy now, in levanto, a town that is part if the Cinque Terre. It's a cluster of five islands along the coast, all within walking distance of each other (when the flooding isn't an issue of course). Staying here is fairly cheap, with a four night stay in a hostel that's only two minutes from the beach, costing me under a hundred bucks, so I'm happy.
This place is fairly new to the tourist track and as such there haven't been even a tenth of the street vendors that Venice had. This is a real town where travellers are guests, not the main consumers, at least that's my perception.
The beach is beautiful. I always gravitate towards gravel and rocky beaches just so I can see what sort of critters are swimming around. After a very, very awesome faceplant directly into the salty ocean I was happy to find anemones, sea cucumbers, and oth cool stuff. While on my way to the public (read free)beaches I noticed several women were topless and that it totally wasn't a big deal at all, so I figured what the hell! So yes, my boobs have
seen the Italian sky! Do you have any idea how freeing it is, how good it feels to sit on a beach without body issues keeping you covered? I feel like in the states we as a culture demand perfection anf hold ourselves to a crazy standard, whereas here, the beach is there to be enjoyed, go enjoy it! I actually laid, out in my swimsuit and I felt amazing. Coming from me, you know that's saying something.
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