To: Motta Montcorvino
Today’s hike was our first taste of what’s to come for the foreseeable future. Elevation changes, both up and down, will be the norm for the next several weeks.
The day started off in Lucera where we had a nice breakfast at the hotel at about 8:15. After we ate we asked the hotel receptionist to help us contact the hotel operator in Motta Moncorvino where we planned to stay tonight. The reason we needed to talk to the hotel was because it’s the only place to stay in this town and the next hotel is five miles away in another town. In addition, the other hotel was not on our route so we wanted to make sure the hotel at our intended destination was open. Luckily the manager answered and confirmed he would be here. We told him we’d be arriving at 2:00.
So off we went from our Lucera hotel at 8:45 with a spring in our step after our day off on Monday plus only 13 miles to walk today. The air was cool at 45 degrees and a north wind at 20-30 MPH blowing from our right side. We could immediately see our destination in the distance because it’s on top of a hill to our west. Our first planned stop was for a break and some lunch at a restaurant along the main highway. That didn’t happen because it was closed. So we pressed on, leaving the main highway and started climbing on back roads up to our destination of Motta Montcorvino. It’s about a 1000’ climb from the highway up some winding switchbacks.
With all our huffing and puffing we made it to town and our hotel about 1:15; 45 minutes ahead of schedule because we missed our lunch break at the closed restaurant. Of course, the hotel was not expecting us until 2:00 so there was no one here and the door was locked. So Dave and I sat around outside the hotel in the freezing wind until 2:00 when the nice owner, Gianni di Iorio, drove up. He was dressed like he had either been hunting or farming; we couldn’t tell which. He spoke zero English but we were able to communicate to him that we were hungry. He called a pizza restaurant a few miles down the road to see if they were open, but no luck. So he said no problem; he’d cook us some lunch. Immediately, Gianni had the fireplace going, brought us home made red wine, bread, and big pieces of parmesan cheese to get us started. Then we had pasta with cinghiale (wild boar) that Gianni had killed himself. It was all very tasty and Gianni was pleased that we liked his cooking.
So now we’re hunkered down in our rooms for the night. I’m pretty sure we’re the only ones here. We’ve got 17 mile of back roads through the mountains tomorrow. The wind is forecast to be strong again but no rain so we’re thankful for that. Thanks for reading.