I woke up in Minori and had some breakfast with Don Pasquale before heading out towards what was supposed to be Battipaglia. I had slept late, and it had taken freakishly long for my GPS to find the satellite signal, so I didn't get out of town until around eleven. After less than a mile of running along the narrow Amalfi road, I started feeling a serious pain in my quad/femur and decided that I should probably shorten the day a little bit. I ran only about 16 kilometers before stopping and deciding that I would walk the rest of the way into Salerno. If I took the day very easy, maybe I wouldn't have the same problem the next day. After a seriously long walk I arrived in Salerno, where I decided to take a leisurely day trip out to Paestum. It was something that I had really wanted to see that just didn't seem to fit onto my route. The short day of running had given a good excuse.
I paid three Euros each way to get to Paestum and back and hopped on the next train heading south. With all the time spent waiting for the next train, stopping at various stations, etc, it seemed like I could have run to Paestum almost as fast. I was giving my legs some rest though, and that was what mattered. After a few minutes of drooling on my cheek and some panicked "have I missed my stop?" wake-ups, I finally arrived in Paestum (ever since I started riding the subway to and from work in NY, I have developed a habit of falling asleep on trains).
After walking down a long straight road from the train station, I arrived at the ruins where I spent the afternoon and early evening walking around and checking out the sites. Paestum was my third UNESCO site in three days (Pompeii and Amalfi before), and it was amazing to see such well preserved examples of Greek temples. I had seen many photos in classes, and it was great to finally get a real sense of the scale of these buildings. I also saw the famous "tomb of the diver" in the nearby museum.
In the early evening, I took the train back to Salerno, where I went to the tourist office and spent an hour talking to the woman working the desk. She called all of her friends to try to find me a place to stay, but nothing ended up working out. She also let me use the computer (all the Internet cafes had been closed), from which I sent out some very last minute couchsurfing requests for Salerno. This is not something I usually like to do, but I definitely had to sink to the level of copying and pasting requests. I even sent a request to someone with the wrong copy and pasted name. Nobody got back to me.
I wandered around Salerno into the late evening until (when walking through a random piazza) I saw a group of nice looking people (around my age) hanging out. I went up and asked them if they had any suggestions of what I should do that night, and we were soon in conversation. Turns out that they were not actually Italian, but Spanish students here for a work exchange. It was actually pretty cool to communicate with them through Italian, as it was not the first language of either of us. They ended up being architecture and film students, which certainly explained why I had been drawn to them. One of them, Antonio ended up offering me a place to stay, and I had a great home cooked meal with a big group of people before heading off to sleep. Despite a difficult start to the day, it ended eventfully, luckily and comfortably.
05 September 2009