Monday, July 22, 2013

Italy - Logistics and a Friendly Dog

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Pompeii train station. Photo credit: Wikipedia
Friday, October 21

With an overcast sky, threatening rain, we put off visiting Pompeii's old city and hop on a train for  25 kilometers to Naples Central train station. We want to depart from Brindisi or Bari on the east coast where ferries leave for Greece. How to get there weighs on our minds. We must find out train requirements from Naples, in case locating a bike box is required, which means allowing ample time for bike disassembly, packing, and taping before loading. If we can roll bikes onto the train, it's much easier. However, with bribes a way of life in southern regions – and recent train attendant hassles in Florence where each employee provided a different answer – we don't know what to expect. But we're also prepared for major disappointment: bikes not accepted at all. In that instance we'll pedal 4 or 5 days across the mountainous interior to arrive at either port. After a month in Italy, we're hoping the train travel is a viable alternative.

The Naples baggage guru says we won't need a box. Hopefully, the story remains the same on Sunday. At least logistics are clearer now. Fingers crossed, we'll celebrate Andy's birthday on the 27th in Greece.

Shopping in Pompei (spelling of new city). Photo credit: Wikipedia

We return to Pompei and shop for a couple days of stationary tenting. Busloads of foreigners invade the streets and by early afternoon rain falls. It's dismal as drenching showers continue for the rest of the day – our first true soaking since pedaling in Switzerland. We cook dinner under the wash house block eaves, then retreat to the tent. We resort to reading by candle lantern light. I'm involved with The Girl in the Swing by Richard Adams while Andy devours the International Herald Tribune for his dose of current events. I think of my father, who turns a year older today. Happy Birthday Dad.

Pompeii's stray dogs abound. Photo credit: Bela Lugosi's Dead, Jim
A new friend keeps us company. Along with stray cats, small dogs roam the Naples region. Since our arrival in the campground the previous day, a black and white short-haired mutt has adopted us. He remains loyal, laying beside our tent all night, even in the rain. He only barks to warn of approaching people or canines. Whitey – our name for him – neither begs nor ransacks our food cache. In turn we offer bits of food and loving caresses. He is small enough to fit in our panniers though we cannot imagine the hassle of bike touring with a pet. I know other travelers will adore Whitey's manners and keep him alive.

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