From Casalnuovo Monterotaro to Pietramontecorvino

13 - From Casalnuovo Monterotaro to Pietramontecorvino

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August 29, 2022 - Before having breakfast, I lean out of a small window next to the entrance door: Diego, perfectly awake, is at his post and shoots me a look in return. Well, there's no way to catch him off guard! I have breakfast and calmly pack my backpack, knowing that today's stage is really short and easy.

As I open the entrance door, Diego jumps up and looks at me as if to say, "So, where are we going?" It's hard to explain to him that he can't come with me. He sticks to me like a shadow, soon followed by Neve, an older dog who is led astray by his companion. He doesn't seem to have much desire to move, but if Diego is going, he can't be left behind.

We set off. I think they want to go for a morning walk to do their business and take advantage of my presence to have company. After a while, they turn onto a side dirt road and go their own way. I continue peacefully on my path: it was nice of them to accompany me for a short distance... I don't have time to think about it when Diego happily speeds up next to me. Our greetings are postponed. Diego disappears again down a dirt road, followed by Neve, and this time I lose sight of him: thanks again for the company... but here he reappears. He must have understood that I will stay on the paved road, so from that moment on, he leads me by about fifty meters along the road to Casalnuovo Monterotaro.

"Diego, you can't come!" I say, but of course he doesn't listen. I stop, he stops. I start walking, he starts going. Not knowing what to do, I turn around and pretend to go back. A moment later, Diego rushes past me and goes fifty meters ahead in the direction of the B&B. I did it! I turn around and go quickly before he realizes it! A missile passes me again and returns to head towards Casalnuovo. Meanwhile, Neve looks stunned at these two who don't know what they're doing. It's clear that he wants to go home, but he can't leave his friend. Bad thing, bad company!

I stop and this time I really want to see what Diego is up to. He stops too. Seeing that I'm not going to move, he approaches me, looks at me with pleading eyes, then passes me and literally pushes me in the direction of Casalnuovo with his nose. I can't believe it, he has apparently decided to go on an adventure.

Meanwhile, I've entered a main road and Diego, ignoring the cars, trots in the middle of the street. Every time a car passes, I gesture to draw attention to the dog. Surely they'll think the worst of me since I'm not holding him on a leash.

Step by step I arrive in Castelnuovo and I find myself forced to make a drastic decision that I would have wanted to avoid: it's still early, but I call Rosanna so that someone can come and pick up Diego. Soon enough, Antonio, Rosanna's husband, shows up and holds onto Diego while I walk away. As absurd as it may seem, the last loving look the dog gave me hurt. It seemed to say: traitor! I think I will miss him. I barely have time to formulate the thought when Diego appears by my side. His sly look seems to be asking me how the journey is going. As I turn back to bring him to Antonio, I can't help but laugh.

This time the separation is final. Later I called to find out about the dog and discovered that it was complicated to convince him to come back: he really wanted to see the world!

I continue on my path, allowing myself a short detour to Castelnuovo della Daunia. The center is quite nice and well-maintained, so it's very pleasant to wander through its streets. During the break, I check the weather forecast: a storm is coming. I have to hurry or what was supposed to be a pleasant walk will end up under a nice shower.

The journey continues calmly. Occasionally, on the right, there are panoramic views of the Tavoliere delle Puglie. Soon I arrive in view of Pietramontecorvino. From above, I admire the Ducal Palace, the Norman Tower, and the church of Santa Maria Assunta.

When I am already in the town, the sky closes and all hell breaks loose. I barely have time to slip into a bar to avoid the rain, where I take the opportunity to call Caterina from the B&B and let her know of my arrival. As soon as the rain stops, while I'm about to walk towards the B&B, Caterina appears and takes me on a tour of the historic center. I can thus admire up close all the beauties that I had seen from above: to reach the B&B, in fact, you have to cross the monumental part of the town. Caterina is an excellent guide and you can tell she's in love with Castelnuovo.

Thus ends another day of walking, and I am now at the end of my wandering. In the evening, I finish off with a nice dinner... at the pizzeria, the only open place in the town!

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