I’ve reached the sea for the third time! After first hitting the Adriatic in Durrës, after crossing Puglia (the heel of the peninsula) from Brindisi to Taranto, I’ve cycled all across the Southern Appenines through Matera, Potenza, Tricarico, Mura Lucano, Avellino and finally Napoli.
In fact, I followed very closely the “strada statale 7” a.k.a. …Via Appia! Infamous for having been in 71 BCE lined with the 6000 crucified bodies of Spartacus’s army of revolted slaves, this is the ancient road that linked Rome to the major harbour of Brindisi.
Until Matera, the road was a bit boring. Flattish, big fields, lots of fast cars, and… no trees. For a long while. That’s right, night approached and still, besides some bushy bushes, I traversed an area in which, huh! There really weren’t that many trees, not to mention an accessible pair of trees in non-private land! Please, to all those concerned souls, seeing me cycle off brightly with a hammock, to whom I replied offhandishly that “you’ll find two trees everywhere”… Well… not quite quite everywhere. You were right, dear concerned souls. Though I hope to write a more informed comparison of hammocks and tents shortly, perhaps I should quickly sum it up: it’s not as clearcut as I thought, but I still like the hammock :)
After that, I was in the mountains. Low mountains, sure, but still. It went up and down a lot. And it was gorgeous. And, as I had already realised, every little village was absolutely darling: perched on sharp hilltops, built around a churches or a castle tower (some of which are were built by the Normans, as in Tricarico!), red tiles, tiny paved streets, flowery balconies, etc. molto carino!
I have now been staying in a hostel in the south suburb of Napoli (Portici, just next to fantastic Herculaneum) for 5 nights… Too long. But actually (haha, real reason now) I had to finish a paper for the university. It’s aaaalmost almost done as I write, so that I can (and really have to) get back on the road today! I’m hoping to stop for frustratingly short time in Pompei, run around the ruins, and be on the other side of the Gulf of Sorrento tonight (50 kilometers or so for the half day I have left). I have 10 days to be in Palermo, 750 kilometers away. Not VERY difficult if nothing breaks – but that won’t leave much time for much else!!
Sorry for the brevity of the update, I hope to be able to write more later. My notebook is filling up very fast, and there is lots I would love to share, about the people I met, the things I saw, the things I thought and, um, the things I’ve lost! (I realized I’m really good at losing objects, I have a tremendously developed aptitude in that domain, I mean, in all humility, I’m really quite skilled. Well I guess I do have a lot of experience) (I’m also good at positive thinking, did you notice??) (not that I lost anything important, don’t worry, small thingies!)
I hope you are all well!
Oh, also: I added a “page” on the top banner called “Time & Space”… It just sums up where I’ll be when in the following months.