[ blog » 2021 » 07_Tour_Italy ]d12: Campania ( by Philipp Gesang, location: An appartment overlooking the fiume Calore )

Equipment woes pt. 4

It just won't end. As I found out the night after my visit to Pompeii the repairs on my mattress were in vain. More inner walls started to delaminate and pop, causing more ruptures in the mattress' outer hull which left me sleeping on the hard floor that night again. At that rate my bicycle is going to fall apart next week ...

I researched outdoor and sports stores in Napoli whether I could grab a replacement mattress on my way through. Too bad though they all open after 10:00 h by which time I had planned to already be out of town and on my way to Caserta. I ended up postponing the purchase until the afternoon and bought a mattress in the Benevento Decathlon. It's a lightweight model too, just slightly greater nominal weight than the Klymit. I'm curious how it will compare after a night spent sleeping on it.


I left for Naples at 6:00 h to anticipate crowds and commuter traffic in the center. Turns out I hadn't reckoned with one major obstacle, the road leading there from Pompeii: About 20 km of the worst cobblestones I've ever had the displeasure of riding on. Seriously they could hold a southern version of Paris-Roubaix down there. I'll never understand the preference for plastering roads through residential areas with those awful black cobble-tiles. They induce more vibrations when cars roll over them, increasing the noise significantly in the process. Not to mention they will make anyone think twice whether they will choose the bicycle for some errand. A terrible choice in any conceivable way, but for some infathomable reason very popular with road planners in Italy.

After that 20 km of torture all the rest my arms got the day before was already cancelled out and my fingers started to get numb. My sightseeing plans were undermined by an enormous police contingent that had fenced off a large portion of the center around the royal palace. Troops of important looking suits were being escorted down town, there must have been some event of international significance that I wasn't aware of.

Leaving Naples I took the direct route that passed through Camorra hotspot Secondigliano. One larger junction I recognized from the Gomorra series but it doesn't look nearly as grim in reality as it does on TV.

Via Appia

Thanks to an early start I reached Caserta around 10:30 h. You need a ticket to access the Reggia and its park so I skipped on the Versailles of the South and took the Via Appia in east direction towards the hills. The pass that allows traveling from coast to coast is at fairly low altitude at around 300 m which made Benevento a strategically important town. First the Appian Way was constructed over the pass and was later complemented by the Trajan Way, an alternate itinerary to Brindisi closer to the coast that forks off at Benevento.

Traveling thus in the footsteps of Horace I reached Benevento around 15:00 h in the glaring afternoon sun. After I purchased the air mattress I went for a walk in the center and grabbed some food. Unfortunately most of the Roman monuments were off limits today but I managed to get a good look at the forum and the theater. In the frontyard of the latter among a series of Roman era finds there is a dedication stone marking the completion of the second road under Trajan. At least for a few kilometers I will hopefully travel along that road tomorrow.


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