Day 10 – March 29 – Termoli to Bari, Italy (1800 Km out) – Simon

We left Termoli this morning with a 275 km run to complete to our Adriatic port of Bari ( west south west of Dubrovnik -across the water) The Adriatic is calm and a milky tourquoise, we see it from time to time as we trundle down the East coast truckers route by-passing a series of roughly built concrete seaside resorts. The plain is now flat for nearly a hundred miles with the vegetable and fruit farms becoming poorer as we go south. I am riding tail gunner to the troop of 5 bikes which must look truely formidable in the wing mirror as witnessed when terrified Italians suddenly assume they are about to be consumed by what they believe to be 5 traffic cops and swerve dangerously back into the inner lane. I chuckle and try and protect the squad from the rear by sticking the van’s arse a few inches into the centre line to intimidate the overtaking “Fangios” – I am truely in the ‘on the road mode’ now as I listen to Adele’s ‘Someone like you’ -rumbling into the sun. The guys in front stand on their pegs to release the bum strain of hours in the saddle- I relax in my comfortable airconditioned cab.

Suddenly out of nowhere the most extroadinary sight , a tall powerfully built shapely African lady wearing a sequined bikini standing beside the road in high heals and a pair of large shades. I was just thinking she should’nt have much of a problem getting a lift and I was concerned about the message her atire was giving when suddenly two more women flashed by on the roadside this time wearing hotpants and high heels. Well the penny dropped then! The next 50 miles was very sad , both Europian and African women in considerable numbers working the route – apparently a well organised system of exploitation .We pulled in for a coffee and the banter rate was considerably subdued by this sudden exposure to degradation and expoitation of vulnerable women; it is now a national scandle in Italy I have read on the web. Anyway-

Nothing much to report by way of architecture, incidents etc apart from our best fish supper so far last night in Termoli. The guys have taken to eating not only oysters but raw prawns and clams, something that my delicate intestines are not quite upto yet.

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We have booked on tomorrow’s evening fast ferry from Bari to Igoumenista . This takes us down the Adriatic about 100 miles south east , round the southern tip of Corfu and then into the main land at Igoumenista.We have a day of R and R in a nice hotel about 30 kms down the coast from Bari

If you hear a certain element of late eighteenth centuary naval english in my style of prose it is because I have just finished Patrick O’brian’s ‘Master and Commander’ on my audiobook in the van

‘Slendid ‘ as Jack Aubry ‘ would say

Simon

29th March

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