An early start and a dash for the coast were our best intentions for the day. Our best intentions didn’t count on the shutters being closed, which meant our best intentions didn’t rouse us till the time we’d hoped to be near the coast. So off we headed at the crack of 10:30am with Salerno via Battipaglia displayed on our destination boards.
We flew off into the country on another B road, winding around the mountains and dropping down through forested valleys, past herds of cattle and finally, about an hour in, onto an autostrada. Battipaglia was on Pip’s “street art to see” list as a result of some spectacular works by European street artists, El niño de las pinturas, Millo and Luispak. Our challenge would be to find their pieces in a medium sized city with no internet clues. As luck would have it, an extremely hung-over bar man (remember, this was New Year’s Day) peered at some of the pictures on Pip’s phone and knew where one was – and it was at the school around the corner. A second piece was nearby and we found some other interesting bits at the local football stadium. Battipaglia success!
Not so success, was the time. Our main aim (apart from finding food on a well observed public holiday) was to get home before dark – those mountainy roads are bad enough in the daytime. We abandoned (deferred) our Salerno run and instead headed out to the coast off Battipaglia – my thinking was seaside – people – fish. No sirree! My actual was boarded-up-for-the-winter private beach resorts, piles and piles of roadside rubbish, no people, no fish. I should have recalled similar times in Puglia last year. Heading south toward Paestum, we eventually peeled off to Eboli and the road back to Calitri – time was being called and darkness approach-ed. Our hunger was sated by an Autogrill sandwich and we raced the GPS clock (arrival time was s’posed to right on dusk at 5pm). One missed turn had us backtracking on a goat track, but that strangely bought us time, and we arrived back in Calitri, just as the lights were coming on.
As we had wisely stocked up on food prior to the public holiday – Pip’s pork chops with melanzane, potato, tomato and fior di latte stacks were fabby!