Imagine the scene if you will:
A 28 year old man in his underpants is running down a dark beech before dawn shouting garbled phrases from a smattering of European languages.
"Mi passporto por favore!"
"Perdu mon sack!"
Suffice to say it was not a great way to start the day.
The previous evening our protagonist had left the Ligurian hills behind and began passing endless miles of private beaches (a horrible Italian phenomena) cluttered with sun lounges.
Just south of Viareggio he left the road and entered a coastal nature reserve called Parco di Migliarino famed for its dunes where Tony Blair is said to have once holidayed. Cycling along a dirt track in the early evening heat he decided to cross the dunes to the beach. All but deserted he decided this place was grand and after a swim put down roots and made camp.
All was good with the world as the sun set and excited anticipation of seeing the cream of Tuscany: Pisa, Lucca, Florence mingled to dreams.
Unfortunately the anonymous villain of our piece was set to destroy this idyll. Creeping along the beach before dawn he snuck up on the slumbering cyclist and snatched the barbag containing his whole world and which he had kept close to ward of just this sort of eventuality
Cruel fate allowed our hero to wake and notice the rogue take flight but did not grant him feet fleet enough to catch him.
Hence the increasingly desperate cries of our pant wearing pursuer as the sandy footprints he was chasing became less and less distinct. The righteous fury that had propelled him 3k down the beach evaporated as the sickening reality of what he had lost began to hit him in the pit of his stomach.
Right enough of this 3rd person nonsense. I think the lack of photos to break up this blog is starting to do funny things to my writing style. (such as it is.)
I was gutted, knackered and still a bit bleary eyed when I realised that one of the keys to my bikes lock was in the barbag. Moreover, what if the whole thing had been a distraction so his mates could go after the real prize - my bike?
3k back at a rather less impressive, but still tiring, pace and that fear at least was proved unfounded I also recovered the thief's shoe which had come off during his flight.
I proceeded to pack up what was left of my belongings, talked with a couple sleeping further down the beach who hearing my shouts realised they too had been robbed, and checked bins to see if any of my stuff had been dumped.
As I did so I kept realising things which had been in the bag and were now gone forever.
Wallet with 200 euro newly withdrawn the day before
Phone with irreplaceable photographs of the cycle from Zurich, my contact numbers and downloaded apps/maps etc.
Suffice the say the air around me turned blue repeatedly as each item lost was newly remembered. Under a dark cloud I slowly cycled back to Viareggio to find the polizia.
After being sent from one police station to another I finally found someone who would take my statement. Nodding sympathetically and giving me my police number he seemed less than impressed by my "evidencio," suggesting I put the manky plimsoll in the bin. My plan that we go back to the beach that night and do a sting operation was met equally unenthusiastically. He seemed rather more concerned by whether the guy had been black and when I explained it was dark he nodded in ascent as if to say exactly. Sigh.
Ipod (with all the music I had added since university the Itunes it had been synced to lost in the mist of time.)
Realising that the police were unlikely to mount a daring retrieval operation I initial planned to contact home and have some money wired to me. After blagging the use of a computer I fired off an email home but that plan slowly disintegrated as I couldn't get back online.
The notebook I had been writing in since I'd set off from Hadrian's wall.
I had 10 euros in my pocket....
Cigarettes, rolling tobacco and lighter Goddammit I need a F$Đ&/%( cigarette!
...I immediately invested 6 euros in some tobbacco and skins.
I had 4 euros in my pocket. I also still had the bike, my clothes and camping equipment and some small amount of food principally cous-cous.
I had been heading south to Allerona near Orvieto to meet family so I resolved to continue doing just that.
Going fast I figured I could be there in three to four days and had just enough food to last me uncomfortably for the trip. It sure beat sitting around in Viareggio, baking in the heat and and hoping the police would come through. (ha!)
Kindle, with all the books for my trip. I don't even remember the page I was on!
Time to get out of dodge.
Maps and compass
Realising my navigationally disadvantaged position I borrowed a scrap of paper and scrawled down the name of towns and villages along the way from a map of Italy on the side of the closed tourist information booth. I'd just follow the damn signs to Allerona!
Glasses and prescription sunglasses
Fine I'll squint at the damn signs to Allerona.
Fine, I'll squint and burn. Damn you thief, damn you Viarreggio, damn you world. Onwards!
All roads lead to Rome right? And Allerona's near to Rome?