Monday, 22 August 2011

Lady with a Handbag and a Car

Foggia  -  Trani                    82.4 kms           108’ascent
I paid the bill. Alan picked me up off the floor and we went to retrieve the bikes. He had found, on the map, what looked to be a suitable alternative to the main road to return to the coast. It was much less busy but the surface was often cracked and bumpy and the amount of rubbish on the roadside was deplorable. I am convinced that one of the Italian pastimes, is to throw from a moving vehicle, anything which is made of glass! Points being awarded for the greatest number of shards! And maybe extra points for a mixed colour collection.
We did find our way back to the coast but this was not the tidy townships of further north. The entry into the towns was dirty and depressing and it was not until the centre was reached, that its appearance improved.
Nostril wind returned in the afternoon and made the ride into Trani something of a challenge. We then proceeded to tour Trani looking for accommodation. Scratching our heads at the roadside (you’ve guessed!) a lady in a car pulled up. “Follow me” came the now customary cry. Following a car, driven at some speed, over cobbles (Yup, they have appeared again) after a day in the saddle was exhausting. And all for nothing, as it turned out. The pension, which favoured cyclists, was full. We thanked our angel profusely but she was not beaten yet. There followed a second town dash back into the square and an information tent. This produced directions to the station hotel which provided us with a much cheaper option than the night before!
We have been impressed by the general amiability of the Italians. In the case of our angel, it turned out that she was a keen camper (as in camping car) and she had recently written a book on the subject of visiting Scandinavia and Nordkapp. This information we gleaned from a combination her being able to speak a little French and assistance from another Italian passerby who spoke fluent English and worked in Ireland. Otherwise cars at traffic lights have asked us where and what and many have waved and tooted. Mind you they do a lot of waving and tooting but some of it has been for our benefit and mostly supportive rather than derisory. (There is a definite difference between the toots!)

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