Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Surfer Joe Summer Festival 2016 Part 1

It's that time of year again. The time when thoughts turn to Livorno, on Italy's Tuscan coast. The time when surf music fans from around the world are drawn to the Surfer Joe Diner in that fine city, for one of the world's greatest celebrations of instrumental guitar music. Time for the rekindling of acquaintances and friendships forged, in years past, at former gatherings. Time for sun. Time for eating, drinking and all night dancing. Time for the Surfer Joe Summer Festival.

But before all of that shenanigans, there's time for Jules Deadman and I to snatch a brief couple of days in Rome. We landed yesterday and, upon heading from runway to train station, were accosted by an extremely persuasive gentleman, who convinced us that we would indeed be better off waiting for him to round up a few other unsuspecting souls and then allowing him to drive us to our hotel. The only problem being that, while we waited ("Just two more minutes. Two Italian minutes!"), we missed the train and, in all likelihood, any advantage gained by travelling with this chap. To be fair, once he had amassed the required number of willing souls, he did drive us pretty swiftly to the door of our hotel, so I can't really complain, but next time we might just hop on the train.

After checking in and grabbing a light lunch, accompanied by a rather pleasing glass of Dopio Malto, we took a quick stroll past the Colosseum, the Forum and the Circus Maximus, before heading into the tangle of streets that is Trastevere. Much frustrated walking round in circles ensued, as we discovered that our map seemed to bear little relation to the actual layout of the streets. However, we eventually found the bar we were looking for and watched most of The Republic of Ireland's draw with Sweden, before popping across the road to Bir & Fud, for (unsurprisingly) beer and food. Thanks to Hazel and Ian for the recommendation.

A couple of hours in the charming company of Alexandra, from Speedball Jr, and partner Andrew, of Weirdsville fame, ensued. We drank more beer, while they drank wine served in what appeared to be a large glass chimney and we watched Italy despatch Belgium 2-0, much to Alaxandra's disappointment and the evident delight of the locals.

A brisk stroll back to the hotel and we fell into bed. Today will be another day of exploring ruins and monuments (and, no doubt, bars) and tomorrow we catch the train to Livorno. Unless, of course, a rather persuasive gentleman can persuade us to wait two Italian minutes while he finds four other surf music fans who need a lift straight to the door of the Surfer Joe Diner.

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