On the 13th day, it rained.
Can't honestly say I was disappointed. It's the greatest excuse in the world not to take my daily hike. I didn't go on my walk yesterday either, but then yesterday was Sunday, right? And that wasn't an excuse since even writers on a writing retreat are entitled to a day of rest.
I did have to fight hard, though, not to crawl under the duvet and take out the Sue Grafton mystery I read before going to bed. I don't think I enjoy a single activity more than slipping into a novel with the hiss and splash of rain as white noise.
Today, I'm proud to report, I worked on my novel-in-progress for many hours. My main character chose to co-operate today. She's something of a bitch -- but in a good way -- but won't always do as I tell her. The poor thing has no idea what I've got in store for her. If she did, she'd tell me fuck-off and walk right out of the book.
Despite the rain, I did have to go to the grocery store. I donned my red raincoat, with hood, and pulled out the umbrella I bought when I passed through Alberobello a few weeks ago during a downpour.
I purposely bought the umbrella in a store near the basilica of Sts Cosimo and Damiano. I figured buying it from a real merchant I'd have a better chance of getting an umbrella that would live through more than a single rainfall. Not like the one I bought in Rome from one of those guys that wander the streets as soon as a single spittle of water drops from the sky.
I know, I know but Teri and I had been waiting half an hour for it to let up and the cafe we'd taken shelter in was about to close. The umbrella seller wanted 7 euros. I told him I wouldn't give not one a penny over 5, and the deal was made.
He had every colour imaginable but I chose black for some reason. Anyhow, it barely got us back to the convent where we were staying with the good sisters di Sant'Anna on via Giusti.
The umbrella I bought near the church turned out to be no better than the one sold by the street vendor. The only consolation is that I only paid 4 euros for it.
Today, by the time I got home -- and we're not talking gale force winds here -- the frame was completely distorted and the fabric ripped from the skeleton on two sides. I hurled the thing into the trash.
The moral of this story is this: Always take a raincoat that has a hood when travelling to Italy.
Every year at the end of September, thousands of people from all over the Salento region travel to Alberobello to celebrate the feast days of Sts Cosimo and Damiano.
Teri and I stayed at this trullo for three nights. Alberobello has thousands of these houses made of overlapping local stone. Their existence dates back to the 16th century.
UNESCO has the city a world heritage site for its trulli.
Inside our trullo.