Viva Italia III

MANFREDONIA

  • On the way to Manfredonia we take the train for a larger distance (we don’t feel like cycling the Adriatica, a fast motorway that is the only street on the coast; moreover, I am still sick)
  • We have a four hour stay in beautiful and sun flushed Termoli. This day more people than usual congratulate us on our project (some students, an older woman and two train drivers). Maybe that is because we sit a lot and cycle less today and that’s why people can communicate their thoughts to us? Elsewise we see interested looks or hear other cyclists’ greetings. At least the two train drivers seem to be so taken that the one invites us into the driver’s cab and the other lets us drive on two stations to Foggia for free, because this is from the train driver’s point of view (and then ours, too) a lot better: „Well, can we pay the addtional ticket on the train?“, we ask. „Ah, don’t worry, I will talk to my collegue.“ Viva Italia!
  • When we arrive in Foggia, it is already dark. Nevertheless, we want to cycle some kilometers to Manfredonia. With our extra strong flood lights we sweep through the lonesome and chilly night. As we ask for water at some country house, we receive unbelieving astonishment, but are asked to come in, then we pose for the family picture and before saying goodbye we get hints for the directions and two fresh bottles of water. One hour later it becomes spooky: barking watchdogs follow us for a while, an alarmsystem of a solar plant to the right, a military area to the left. We see a car with some people in front of a gate and ask, if there is a place to camp around here. Both of the men try to convince us not to do so, because it is dangerous („thieves are around and it is easy to get lost“), the woman nodds. So we accept the offer of Arian to camp in his garden. If this is the better idea? If we just had taken a hotel in Foggia!!! We follow the for us slowly advancing mercedes in front of us and go back into the direction which we came from. After ten minutes we arrive. Arian lives right next to the military area, is Albanian and after having talked for a while he tells us something about the Aryan race that Germans and Albanians would belong to – that astonishes us and is equally spooky. But in the end everything is ok. We quickly change the subject and get a decend camping spot in a shelter. The next day we can even gaze at the beautiful landscape (cactuses, olive trees, mountains and sheep flocks) in daylight.
  • We pass calm days with Francesco once arrived to Manfredonia.

BISCEGLIE

  • We plan an unusual long distance: 80 kilometers from Manfredonia to Bisceglie. Unfortunately we don’t have a chance to reach our destination by bike: while taking off my pullover I dislocated/pulled my shouldermuscle – when Alex put some pain killer on the muscle and massages it, it hurts so much that I even faint for a moment.
  • As we continue after a longer break we have so much opposing wind that we can only go slowly alongside the street with 7-9 km/h (later we find out that there has been a twister further South in Taranto). We decide to take the train in the next village (Trinitapoli). As it then additionally starts to rain, we find a nice truck driver that is willing to take us for a couple kilometers and then even spontaneously takes us 4 kilometers more to Trinitapoli center.
  • In Bisceglie Rosa shares her life philosophy with us: “When you give something good, you will receive something good in return. If you manage to appreciate the little things of everyday life, then those little things will add up to a big happiness.”

GORGOFREDDO

  • We cycle away from the coast towards the inland and immediately we notice: it is going up and getting colder.
  • The lovely surprise: José, our next host, already meets us on the way with his van and takes us up the last 2 kilometers – José knew we couldn’t be far, because his friend saw us on our bikes and called him:“ I just saw two blond cyclists with luggage, they have to be your guests for today.“
  • From Pippi and José we learn something about autonomous and sustainable living, e.g. which advantages trulli have (e.g. 19 degrees in summer and winter) and how soap, shampoo, tooth paste and deodorant can be produced from natural products.

CEGLIE MESSAPICA

  • We are now living with Hermann who renovated a trullo by himself during the past years. He is an artist and lives on a natural piece of land (= no poisons) with two dogs, two cats, many olive trees, fruit trees and vegetable patches.
  • We know Hermann from the helpx-website (= help in exchange for food and accommodation) and therefore help him with upcoming tasks. Until now we helped to weed and dig over the vegetable patches, to plant fava beans as well as to cut the cherry trees. We build a provisional door for the new building and picked and sorted olives. But the main time we searched and collected wood, made it smaller and put it all into the storage place. Of course we also help out with everyday things like cooking, washing dishes, etc.
  • We will leave on Monday to go to Brindisi and will then have stayed two weeks with Hermann. Our plans are to then stay a couple days in Brindisi and take the ferry to Patras, Greece. There we will also stay with someone we know from the helpx-website: Annie & Mariejeanne. They invited us over for the Christmas holidays and we gladly accepted.
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