|Clck per allargare|
Today is my last day and I already know this is going to be a light hike. A short descent toward the “Table of the Apulias" (Tavoliere delle Puglie), then carry on straight to the goal, on basically flat ground with minor back roads and cart tracks one after another. Plenty of time to look around and think.
Shortly after setting off, in the distance I can see the "Devil’s seat" standing on a hill to the left. From where I am indeed it does look like a huge throne. Actually, it is an old, partially dilapidated house. As it crumbled the structure has been shaped in such a way that it now resembles an armchair. In time it has become a sort of attraction and people go there for a picnic on sunny days.
I keep looking around and I see wind turbines everywhere. The day before, from the terrace of my hotel I had already identified tens, if not hundreds of them on the horizon. I am personally in favour of wind energy, since we do need to obtain energy from somewhere and exploiting the wind is undoubtedly the least polluting source of energy available. However, I feel that there is a disproportionate number of turbines here in Apulia and that the plants have been set up without taking into account their impact on the landscape. This is what provides ammunition to those who are against the construction of wind farms, and this is a real shame, as the alternatives available are certainly far worse.
As the day progresses, the realization that my journey is about to end becomes stronger. My mind spontaneously turns back to the past days and retraces the stages. And suddenly something I have already experienced so many times before happens. It has been only eight days since I left, but I feel as if I left the "Taverna della Zittola" several months ago. Time has stretched, and a myriad of places, faces, situations are in my mind. I guess it depends on the fact that each day was lived to the full and that there was no routine whatsoever. Paradoxically, I remember even the hard times with some nostalgia. I wonder if all walkers feel the same or if this is something which is peculiar to me only. It has been eight fantastic days!
As I linger in my daydreams, isolated in the middle of a field I see something I've actually been looking for days: a cippo tratturale, i.e. one of the many stones once used to demarcate the tratturo. There used to be hundreds of them (one every few meters), now only very few are still in place, more precisely the ones that are partly hidden or that can be reached with difficulty. If you were determined to find them, you’d need to be patient and seek them out. But the one I have just found has stubbornly kept on fulfilling its duty up to our day, despite it being in full view. Later, on entering Lucera, I will discover that many of its "peers" have come to a sad end: they are used to support the fences of some plot of land. What a shame!
I take a few commemorative pictures, and set off again; shortly afterwards I see the last climb of my journey, which will bring me to a very long straight track, lined with ancient farms, and lead me up to Lucera. I am on a plateau overlooking the "tavoliere".
I keep on brooding, when I see Lucera on the horizon: this is really it! I start walking faster.
Once I reach the suburbs, it's time to bid goodbye to the tratturo: it runs round the town and links up with the one from Celano - and here is where other memories come flooding back - while I must enter Lucera.
I feel out of place as I walk carrying my huge backpack along the streets bustling with people and busy shops. I reach my B&B, get changed and become one of the many: yes, yes, this is really it, I have come back to civilisation. Is it civilisation?