“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.
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.
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.
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.
As per usual when Marco drags me on an unexpected hike I wasn’t thrilled but, as per usual, it was completely worth it.