Friday, July 21, 2017

Pescara, Bari, Brindisi - Italy

A good idea while hitchhiking is to keep an eye on traffic travelling in the other direction because sometimes a driver will do a u-turn and come back to pick you up. And it's a smart move to decline the ride.

Hitching with my friend Mary Lynne from Rome to Pescara, I noticed a white, compact car slow down, the driver craning his neck out his side window to get a better look at us. He did a u-turn and came back to pick us up.

He was young, with a punked-out female passenger. We said we were going to Pescara and he waved and said okay, okay, okay. Mary Lynne and I stood on the highway discussing whether to take the ride of not, or rather, I tried to convince her we didn't want to go, but in the end, we got in.

We protested the return to sweltering Rome, but they drove until we arrived at a hair salon where we sat with our bags for about an hour while they debated something with two others, occasionally pointing at us. When I tried to break in and find out what was going on, they looked at me like I'd crawled out of an ice floe, so I picked up my bag and said, 'I'm leaving.'

What did they want? I never knew, but best not to climb into any car that has made a u-turn to pick you up.

We finally made it to Pescara, where we camped out on the beach for the night. It's easy to find a place to unroll your bed if you stay outside of town somewhere. We usually hitched for two to three hours a day and stopped where it was convenient to throw up our tent. And we never hitched at night.

We stayed with the Luparelli family in Bari, friends of Mary Lynne who were kind enough to offer us a room. The heat was phenomenal in Bari, I couldn't breath for the humidity, and at 1:00 pm everyday the family ate their main meal, a huge Italian spread served with red wine that the aunts and grandmother spent hours preparing in the kitchen. Dressed in black, they spent most of their time in the kitchen, like crows huddled around the stove. I gained five pounds, I just couldn't walk after eating and the father would point at the food and say 'eat more, have more.' Every time we ate I had to go and lie down afterwards. Luckily, we only stayed two days.

We said our tearful goodbyes to the Luparellis (yes, after two days they had that much impact) and then hitched to Brindisi, a beautiful seaside city, where we camped out for one night before taking the ferry to Corfu. Greece!