Cycling

Benevento: Day Off

Massimo has a flat next to his parents’ flat and his parents live in his house somewhere else. So… while Massimo was in his parents’ flat, I was next door in his flat. Does that make sense?
Anyway, once I had got myself up and out of the flat it was around 10am. I wandered up into the village and sat composing the previous post on this blog.
Before 12 I went to stand where I was going to catch the bus, as per instructions. I was expecting a bus like the ones I had seen at Massimo’s place of work yesterday where I left my bike. Big ones. At around 12.05 a small bus – a minibus – pulled up further along the street than where ‘BUS’ was written on the ground. Two women got off and it drove away. I noted it as a coincidence that on the side was written ‘Mazzone’, Massimo’s surname.
No big ‘bus’ came and I eventually texted Massimo as I thought perhaps a ‘bus’ being late by 30 minutes in southern Italy might not be that strange. He texted back suggesting I hitch into Benevento or just wait around in the village. The minibus had Bern the ‘bus’ I should have caught and it was operated by his dad’s coach company, hence the name. The local bus company didn’t serve the village of Apollina.
I decided upon the latter of the two options offered and sat in bar and ate some sandwiches from a packet with a sell by date of the 24th September. If the likes of Sainsbury and Tesco knew it were possible to make sandwiches with a sell by date months into the future they’d have them on the shelves before you could say “what’s that strange taste of plastic?”. Keep it to yourself.
Within minutes of my discovery of the “buy now, eat at Christmas” sandwich, Massimo arrived in his car. In the front was a Spanish cyclist. She was also visiting Benevento to see Massimo and his fellow cyclists although had arrived by plane and train. After a couple of days in Benevento she is also travelling further east to work in a hostel.
The three of us made our way to Elena, Massimo’s girlfriend’s flat and just like last night she prepared us a delicious pasta dish; simple but perfect for lunch for a hot Italian day.
I then snoozed on the sofa (it is my day off!) occasionally mustering the energy to spot Massimo on the Internet trying to find cheap flights for me from southern Italy to the UK. I eventually dragged myself back to life and he announced that he agreed with me; the cheapest flights were from either Bari or Brindisi with Ryan Air.
I bought a ticket which, once I had added all the extra bits and pieces was around 50% more expensive than the stated price: welcome to Ryan Air marketing! My flight is at 11am on Tuesday from Brindisi (Note to Basil: are you OK to drive me to the airport as by Tuesday morning the bike will be in bits in one of those Decathlon bags you mentioned on Twitter. Note to Zoë: still OK to pick me up at Stansted at around 1pm on Tuesday afternoon? I’m not bothered about waiting if you can’t get there that soon). It’s sad that the end of my trip is nigh…
Massimo escorted the Spanish cyclist to a sports shop and I wandered into Benevento itself to discover all that it has to offer. It’s a smallish place which is just beginning to liven up after its afternoon siesta. It has a nice triumphal arch from Roman times (at the risk of stating the bleeding obvious, see picture below) and pleasant pedestrianised shopping area. I looked for a tourist office so as to be pointed in the direction of its other charms but couldn’t find one. But I have just bumped into the Spaniard (having problems remembering her name!) and we will rendez-vous for coffee in a few minutes time before the evening activities. The instructions were to meet back at Elena’s flat at 8pm! We mustn’t be late 🙂

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