Monday, August 01, 2011

Gallipoli, Italy

Italy has a Gallipoli as well, on the west coast of Puglia, and just as many Italians flock there in high season as Aussies do its Turkish namesake on Anzac Day.  Arriving here in summer with no reservation is foolhardy, but I’ve done that everywhere for this entire trip and I’ve always been able to find something. 

The bloke at the tourist information centre (who speaks no English) says it could be a problem when I tell him I'm looking for a room. He rings around and after about five minutes a stout bloke with a waddle (who speaks no English) arrives. He leads me through the winding streets to a mini-market selling vegetables and paper towels and cans of tomatoes. I’m sleeping among the produce? He passes me off to his wife who emerges from behind the cash register (and who speaks no English).  She's a friendly lady but she rattles off long Italian sentences and looks at me expectantly, despite my having just answered her previous long Italian sentence with “no capisco, no parlo Italiano”. She plucks from the shelf a bottle of water and a package of sheets (they sell sheets?) and, smiling, leads me out again through the winding streets.

Eventually I'm taken to a clean and decent room with its own entrance up a flight of steps.  She makes the bed with the new sheets and gives me the bottle of water, all the time persisting with her rambling Italian. I recognise a word or two—“Street! Door! Key! Yes!”—and then we look at each other and say, “err….”  This goes on until I am exhausted.

“Thank you, shut up and goodbye!” I say and throw her down the stairs.

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