As the only occupant of the campground last night, I went to sleep early. Early to bed, early to rise, I was up before 6:00 am. The tent, soaked by the night’s dew, took too long to dry. I left by 8:15 am with the tent packed damp. Mosquito corpses also littered the fly.
This morning I traded routes. While my path initially continued towards Naples, I turned towards the mountains and Capua. While my initial planned route included a 200 meter climb, a slightly longer route brought me along the coast to a river mouth, and a flat ride to Capua. I turned away from the coast today in Castel Volturno, a reputed headquarters for one of the Italian mob families.
As I’ve ridden south along the coast, there’s been more evidence of poverty. More abandoned and disheveled buildings. More immigrants selling things on street corners and traffic lights. Every day in Italy I’ve encountered stretches of highway with women sitting by the side of the road, with water and an umbrella – women garishly dressed in their mid-40s. As I’ve ridden south that scenario has become more common. Today the number of women increased, and the age decreased. I’ve wondered how the roadside prostitute managed their business, but today five minutes down the road from a collection I passed a hotel that charged less if the room wasn’t for a full day.
The early start and flat roads lead to a fast day. I arrived in Capua by noon, far ahead of my expected schedule. I had planned to spend the night in Caserta, 80 km for the day but only 10 km from Capua, and plenty of daylight left. The problem was the next good stopping point was an additional 50 km, 600 meter climb, while cycling into a thunderstorm.
Then outside of Capua I encountered the second largest colosseum outside of Rome. Tourists swarmed the colosseum in Rome, here there were only two.
I checked into La Corte del Re Borbone, a small B&B in Caserta mid-afternoon, encountering a royal palace along the way. Tucked away in a small courtyard, I was met at the B&B while I stood there wondering where to go. I’m alone in a four-person suite.
Allergies have plagued me this trip. Today I figured out it’s no longer only allergies. The early stop let me get some rest as well as giving my knees a break. Tomorrow I cycle towards Benevento, the confluence of EuroVelo 5 and the Via Appia.