I left Termoli at 8.30am even though I always try and leave before then but I hate getting up early - but I'm rolling with enough time to reach my destination before dark. It is still cool. It is also Sunday, Italian drivers day of rest, easily the quietest day of the week and the one day when your chance of being liberated from this mortal coil is less than say on Monday. So, I have a cycle route or a car route choice and assessing the roads to be clear and that they might stay so, on the SS16 to Foggia I have the road mostly to myself. Long stretches of lovely nothing.
The flat farmlands are scratchy, littered badly where they butt up to the highway and there is a chain of command of electric wires and pylons down to things that rust which without hills to hide them are in the flatness in full view.
The strong northerly wind blows me with such fury I have no need of my own electricity and naturally pedal my bike. Sometimes I stopped pedalling entirely and the telegraph poles broken fences and rusting gates passed me by like a moving film set. The heel of Italy’s boot-like shape is the defining geographical feature of the area and around Foggia; olives, grapes, Buffalo Mozzerella durum wheat plump up the view but grapes and vines aside the farmers are already ploughing this summers wheat stubble back into the ground. And always the barking dogs guarding a crater of a farmhouse rotting in a pile of junk.
So tommorow night I leave Italy. Boarding the ferry to Igoumenitsa I set sail at 22.00 for Greece. Before that I have seen little of the soft drug peddled in predictable packages; the hills in the sunset, olive groves, lemon trees. Girls who look like Sophie Loren. Like every country you don't know it's a maze. Of interesting people I do have some information and they are alluring but complicated. People like that are the kind that can have you quietly raging and then purring in the space and time of a few minutes or perhaps as long as a few hundred metres.
Map of the Day