…is a somewhat anti-climatic arrival at my cycling destination! I say anti-climatic because it just sort of happened by accident, and there were no fireworks or welcome parade. I assume that is because I am a day early, and it had all been prepared for tomorrow!
Although I am a day earlier than planned I don’t mean to imply any achievement in that, because it is due to the trains rather than my efforts. Saying that, having cycled most of the way I do feel a great sense of achievement to arrive here at all, and I must admit to feeling quite emotional as I took the photo of my bike in front of Brindisi Cathedral. I wanted to explain to someone what I had done, but it was raining and no-one was around.
It is the rain that caused the premature arrival. When I left S. Stefano a 8am this morning I had no intention of coming all the way to Brindisi today. Last night improved as a young energetic Dutch couple arrived, having missed their flight to Brindisi and diverting to Bari.They had caught the train as far as they could last night, then hitched out to the campsite! They are just starting their holiday so not at all disillusioned by the rain, and talked me into going for a rainy swim in the sea. I was already wet anyway, so I agreed and it was great! They had no cooking equipment so, since the campsite bar was closed and it was a long way to anywhere, we ate together, cooking on my little trangia!
I had a good 90mins cycle in the morning sunshine, along the coastal road, but the all too familiar black cloud appeared and the rain started. Thankfully it wasn’t driving rain, like on the way to Strasbourg, but it still soaked through very quickly. There were some great cycle paths that weaved through an historic farming area complete with historic farm buildings, but the rain washed away interest for such things, I just put my head down and pushed on.
I got to my intended destination just before midday, which would have been great on a sunny day because it would mean an afternoon in the sea. This was about 25k from Brindisi, and on my map the last campsite on this stretch. This meant just over an hour in the morning to meet my brother, Sam, and spend the day with him and his girlfriend, Carly, before getting the ferry in the evening! At midday, though, the thought of stopping, setting up my tent in the rain and spending the afternoon trying to keep dry, just didn’t feel appealing. Also, if it was still raining the morning I would have to pack everything wet, whereas now it was all dry in the bags.
I decided to do the hour or so into Brindisi today, and then find a hostel that Tim and Anne-Laure, the Dutch couple, had suggested. Although I have found the cycling less and less thrilling, I have enjoyed the camping for the most part, and I am quite sad not to have my last night in my little tent. Amongst all the uncertainty and even in the rain, in my tent with my bible has always been a safe, consistent, happy place!
The hostel is basic but cheap and dry and very central. I have washed and dried my clothes and am now heading out to find dinner. If I am not writing tomorrow from the ferry then something has gone terribly wrong!