Party holiday in Italy

Today we stayed in a hotel for the first time in a long time. It was indeed an experience of a special kind, which we would not have suspected in the afternoon when we arrived. To be more precise, it was our first real party holiday in Italy in a very long time. Although not completely voluntary.

Holiday in Basilicata

Two days ago we reached the south coast and with it the state of Basilicata. According to the locals, it is the poorest state of Italy and we can say that this information is absolutely consistent with our own observations.

Many places here are deserted and real ghost towns. Others are full of migrants from Africa and other countries. Officially they are here to get asylum, but it is an open secret that almost all of them are employed as workers in the fields.

Viele Gebäude in Italien wirken wie in einem Slum

Many buildings in Italy look like a slum

Even nature is not always idyllic

Two days ago, we reached a place called Castellaneta Marina, which was completely different from the Italian cities we had seen before. For once, they had not tried to eliminate every bit of nature and replace it with concrete. The place was a kind of luxury holiday resort for rich people who had a second house here in the shade of the spruce forests. At first, this sounds nice and idyllic, but unfortunately, also approximately 5 million crickets, chirps and cicadas got wind from this beautiful place to live in the nature. The noise they make is almost unbearable. And yet people still behaved as if it was paradise on earth. "Don't worry," said the priest, "they only do that in summer and only from sunrise to sunset! Afterwards, they're quiet.

The only place you could really stand it here during the day was the beach.

Accordingly, we were glad the next day to finally be allowed to move on. Unfortunately, we got into a forest where there were almost only sand roads. And of course millions more of said crickets.

Diese kleinen Insekten machen einen schier unerträglichen Lärm.

These small insects make an almost unbearable noise.

Hiking on the south coast of Italy

For hiking, the southern coastal area is clearly more unsuitable than the northern one, as there is no continuous road anymore if one leaves the motorway. This meant that for a distance of nearly 10 km as the crow flies we had to walk approximately 25 km through a desert-like steppe. Thus, the "Hotel Meta" that suddenly appeared out of nowhere seemed to be our rescue. Especially when it turned out that the staff was extremely friendly and the manager invited us to stay overnight for free.

Sonnenuntergang über dem Meer

Sunset over the sea

Visit to the Hotel Meta

When we arrived, however, there was just a siesta, so it was quiet in our residence, like in a cemetery. Not even the pool was used. Apart from Heiko and me, of course.

But the face of our quiet sleeping place changed completely when the clock struck 15:30. From that moment on, it was party time until 1:00 in the night. To our surprise each of the guests agreed with that, and they gathered in the evening for the animation show in the hotel garden, like an open air concert. All generations were represented and no one could afford to jump on stage for games or join in. Even an old grandfather of about 80 years of age, who was wearing nothing but a red shirt and white fine-rib underpants, danced his heart out.

We had actually never experienced anything like that before.

Different types of hospitality

Today we were less lucky. After a short but sufficient hike we came to one of those places that were almost exclusively inhabited by refugees/field workers. In the church we met two young pastors, one of whom was from the Ukraine. He told us that all the blocks of flats in the back of the village were inhabited only by immigrants and that there was neither electricity nor running water. And exactly this later turned out to be a problem for us. Because the room that was described to us as a pilgrims' hostel, on closer inspection, turned out to be a common room for these refugees. Strictly speaking, it was the only place where they could take showers and charge their mobile phones. So with about three thousand people, you can imagine what it was like there.

So the idea of the pastors would have been to close this room for the night and make it available to us. But this was out of the question for us, and so we left again in the evening to try our luck 14 km further on. There the thing looked completely different. We met a priest who invited us directly to his house and whose door was open for refugees at any time, for example if they wanted to watch TV. He himself said goodbye again shortly after our arrival, because he had arranged to meet some friends in the city.

"Just make yourself at home! I'll see you tomorrow!" he just said.

The slogan of the day: Hospitality has many faces

1st stage: 16 km, 175 m altitude difference, finish: Franciscan monastery, Castellaneta, Italy 2nd stage: 22 km, 265 m altitude difference, finish: Pfarrheim, Castellaneta Marina, Italy 3rd stage: 20 km, 35 metres altitude gain, finish: Hotel Meta, Metaponto, Italy    

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