I woke up baking under a hot sun...it had been cool when I fell asleep, so I had left my long black pants on. I was also lying on a reflective space blanket, which wasn't really helping to keep me cool either.
I gathered my things and started stumbling down the beach towards the Marina of Grosseto, a little less than halfway to the town I wanted to be in by the end of the day. I stopped in a beach shower/restaurant thing to take a shower, shave and change my clothes. I got something to eat and set out running towards Grosseto feeling fresh. The run was not incredibly exciting, but it was short.
In Grosseto I had the name and address of another running store, and I was really banking on another runner having some sympathy for me...but when I got there my dreams were shattered by a sign that informed me that the place was closed for the August vacation that is almost like a religious holiday here.
From there, I went into the center of town and started looking for potential places to sleep if nothing fell in my lap: I walked around a pretty cool castle that I could definitely storm at night if I needed, and tested the grass by falling asleep on it for an hour so. I went to a pretty amazing exhibit at the museum of Etruscan artifacts and spent an hour or so marvelling at the craft of some of these things that had been made almost 3,000 years ago. I couldn't sleep in the museum though.
I was feeling pretty hopeless, and in the evening I started to feel hungry...so as I passed by the "Irish Soul" pub, I decided to stop in to see if there was an Irish breakfast on the menu. There wasn't, and the two women at the door informed me that the place was actually closed for the evening. There was a soccer match between Grosseto and Roma, and they were not allowed to sell alcohol until after midnight. I started conversation with Ella and Robbie, and they invited me in to sneak a beer. The bar is awesome...and has the feel of a real pub. It is built into one of the old storage areas in the castle walls, and has enormous vaulted stone ceilings. At the end of our beers, Ella and Robbie started heading out to close up shop. They asked me what I was doing for the rest of the evening, and when I explained my scenario Ella quickly offered me a place to sleep. It was some of the best news I had ever heard.
We went back to her place, where I met here brother and her mom and dad (who was walking around in his underwear). I took a shower, and then headed out with Ella and her brother Stefano to meet some friends for a drink and dinner. We drove out of town and spent the evening at a small town party eating freshly made gnocchi and ribs while listening to folky Italian music and watching people line dance. After having a pretty rough time the night before, it was a perfect confirmation of why I have this crazy rule for myself.
Around midnight I said goodbye and Stefano drove me home and I quickly fell asleep, once again extremely grateful for the hospitality that I have received.
16 August 2009