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Report 1911: Travels in Sicily and Southern Italy

By Linda Hagstrom from Pennsylvania USA, Spring 2011

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Page 9 of 14: Monday April 4 and Tuesday April 5

photo by Linda

Matera, part of sassi area

I spent Monday relaxing at La Bussola, sitting in the sun and reading, walking to the little town of San Niccolo for coffee and gelato, and then walking to Capo Vaticano.

Tuesday morning Fabrizio drove me in the sunshine to Ricadi, the little nearby train station. I had to be on my toes all day, how much so I did not realize at first. I was traveling to Matera, near the heel of the boot, and it would take all day.

First the one-car train to La Mezia. Just a few minutes to find my next train, and I was on the Eurostar to Salerno. In Salerno, I had six minutes to find the bus which was substituting for the train to Potenza. Luckily I knew I would be taking a bus and not a train because the lady at La Bussola had pointed it out to me ... the bus symbol on the train ticket. And reaching Matera for me was dependent on me making this connection.

Potenza was cold - much colder than I had previously experienced on the trip, and I was not prepared - and cloudy and windy.

I waited for three hours and the bus to Matera finally arrived. On the way to Matera, rain started and at the end of the two-hour ride it was dark and pouring rain. I got off at the most likely stop, Piazza Mateotti. A lady stood nearby waiting for a different bus and I asked her in English whether there was a taxi stand nearby. Fortunately for me she spoke English but didn't know of a taxi stand. I walked in the rain to the entrance of a nearby bar and a man standing there asked me if I needed a taxi. Did I ever! I said "yes" and he was surprised but took me to his taxi and drove me in a downpour to the office of Residenza San Giorgio, where I had reservations.

The receptionist took me over cobbled paths to my apartment in the sassi (cave dwellings, or - literally - stones). The water rushing down the paths covered my ankles.

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