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J122 - Monday, February 15: Casal Sabini (half way between Altamura and Santeramo) - Cisternino

70.11km – 9H36’
Altitude : 341m
This morning our breakfast is fit for a king, in an unusual place because it is a room built in the 17th century. We stayed in this unlikely place, an historical “agriturismo” (B&B) which, contrary to many such homes we see on the road, has been restored. Since it seems that many old buildings are not maintained, we are happy to have been able to spend the night in such a place, with hosts who can’t do enough to make us comfortable. Perhaps I have already mentioned it, but if you visit Italy the “Agriturismo” option will help you to get close look at the country. The cooking is local and the welcome warm.
This stage is the second to the last in Italy because tomorrow the terminus will be Brindisi, where we will embark for Greece. The site will not be updated as usual is so don’t worry. Our night on the ferry is the cause. We are due to arrive at 3:00 in the morning….to be continued.
The scenery changes as quickly as the weather: the rain stopped this morning, giving way to a pleasant day of clouds and bright patches. The road is dangerous and Serge wears his fluorescent vest and remains on his guard. We follow low, dry stone walls for kilometers. These walls border the road but also limit small parcels of olive groves, pastures, orchards, vineyards or wheat fields. There are also cacti and palm trees: the Adriatic coast is not far away. The Itrian Valley is also known as the Valley of the “Trulli,” small, conical drystone huts, typical to this place. Some Trulli are ruins, others have been restored are homes or additions to homes.
During this time, Serge continues to run. He no longer counts the dead dogs or the stray dogs. Tomorrow he will no doubt make the count in order to put a number on his “Facedog” encounters, which are not exactly friendly.
Thomas and René are doing the dishes, with caps on their head and sleeves rolled up: one washes, then other rinses and Daniel wields the dish towel: the dream team! It’s a picture far from the legendary Italian “machismo,” at least that’s the reputation……
As for serge, he is already in bed at 7:30 PM because all of a sudden he was overcome by fatigue, so off to bed he went. With rare exceptions, Serge likes to have dinner with us. The evening meal is a time for communication and companionship. It’s also a time to relax; when everyone takes a pause because in the morning once breakfast has been gulped down we don’t take the time for anything except getting the day started. So, the evening meal is an important part of the day on the Around the European Union Race.
Tomorrow: Ostuni – S. Vito – Brindisi

Town : Cisternino (Les Pouilles)

GPS : N40.74383° E017.40765°