05 September 2009

Day 103

42.9 Kilometers.
I woke up at 8:30 and had some cereal before heading out with my hosts as they went to work. I said my goodbyes and went out to find an Internet point so that I could get caught up on my blogs before leaving Salerno heading towards what would inevitably be a very small town.
I randomly came across an Internet point, where I went in and got on a computer. It looked about ten years old, and for about every 10 seconds of work I would have to wait about a minute for it to "think." Somehow I got a couple blog posts made before I got to the point where I wanted to rip the computer out of the wall and run with it up a mountain so that I could throw it off a cliff. It had taken me almost 4 hours to do 45 minutes worth of work. It was after three o'clock when I finally got running towards Serre.
I was concerned about my leg, so I took it pretty easy, and initially I didn't have any problem at all. Little by little however, the pain creeped in and when I reached Battipaglia at around 19 km, I decided to stop and walk. I got something to eat as I passed through town, walking onwards towards Serre. I walked for maybe 6 or 7 km before deciding that there was no way I could make it to Serre before it got dark if I kept walking. Despite the numb pain in my quad, I pushed forward and started running. The terrain became increasingly hilly as I came further inland, and the final 8k was basically a continuous uphill. The sun was setting behind me, and I watched my shadow lengthen as I headed east towards a big moon and a town I knew nothing about. I forgot about the pain. All I could think about was getting to my destination before it got too dark to see.
I arrived in Serre as the sun went down, and had to laugh to myself when I saw how little the town was. I was hungry, but there didn't seem to be many options of where to eat. I wandered all through the little town looking for a miracle until I came across a group of younger people sitting on a stoop in front of a shop. I was dirty and soaked with sweat, but I approached them anyways and asked if there was ANYTHING in the town. After telling them my situation, and why I (an American) was in the very small town of Serre, they informed me that there was no hotel in town and not much to do. Someone offered to go speak to the woman who ran the red cross, but before this happened a young man told me to come with him and I followed (as I soon found out) to find a restaurant. As we walked, he explained that the Red Cross would probably not be very comfortable, and that maybe I should try to find the number of a bed and breakfast that might still be in operation in the town. I explained that that was not really what I was looking for, and that I would be pretty comfortable anywhere. In turn, he (Domenico) offered me a place to stay on his couch. We went there first, and I took a shower before continuing on to find something to eat. At the edge of town, he pointed me down a little alley, and I had a great pizza at a place I never would have found on my own. At the end of my dinner, Domenico met me and we walked around town for a bit before I went back to his apartment to fall asleep on the couch. Everyone in this town, including (and especially) Domenico spoke with a thick local dialect, and I understood maybe 30 percent of what I would normally understand. Almost every word is shortened and changed, and at times I thought that he was speaking Russian. It was difficult not being able to understand what was being said, but I had the comfort of knowing that Domenico could understand me. I guess it is good preparation for Greece, where I won't be able to understand, read, write or speak at all.

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