The run to Fidenza was pretty straightforward. Actually, pretty much every run I have until I get to Bologna will be straight and forward. One thing that carried through from the Romans are completely straight roads from town to town. I would imagine that there was never really any need for another road, so the Italians just paved over them and now they are busy highways. Great for cars, bad for runners.
I stopped after about 20 km in a town called Firenzuola and went into a cafe/supermarket and bought two bottles of Powerade. The lady at the counter had seen me running from Piacenza on her way to work, and she gave me a free bottle of water to help with my thirst quenching.
Runs around 20 km are really perfect, I can really just go out and cruise and not have to think about anything except for putting one foot in front of the other. Runs around that distance were pretty standard back at school, so when I head out the door, I just think to myself "eh, just doing a short little run in the park." On days like this though, I do that run in the park...I walk around town for maybe 15 minutes and I say "ok...well, time to do another short little run in the park."
When I got into Fidenza, I was incredibly thirsty again, and I stopped in the only open place anywhere in sight, a gelateria. They didn't have any real liquids, so I settled for a lemon Icee type drink. Best brain freeze ever.
After doing the typical loops, I found a group of people sitting outside of a cafe/bar, and asked them if there was anything to do around Fidenza. We started talking, and I sat down and they asked me lots of questions about my trip. Really nice guys, but they thought that I was crazy...which I guess is rational. After I got to the part where I didn't have a place to stay, somehow the whole group started slowly dispersing. Oh well.
I ordered something to eat from the bar and sat around for a while. When I was done, I went inside and paid, and asked the bartender if he had any solutions for me. He told my story to a nearby man, who ended up being an American (from Arizona) who has been living in this region for almost 30 years, teaching English among other things. Glen ended up offering me a shower and a place to stay...and a computer. He had a concert to go to, but he left me with the computer for the hours that he was gone.
When he came home, we spent a long time going over the cultural differences that he has found in Italy, and it was good to hear some advice from another American that has spent so much time here. We also spent some time talking about one of my favorite subjects: architecture. We spoke about digital fabrication and about the need for architecture that is either application specific with an application specific lifespan, or redundant architecture which lasts forever and which can be easily repurposed. While I was tired, the conversation was engaging, and I didn't get to sleep until around 2 am...knowing that once more I would be running under a high sun.
28 July 2009