3:30 is my wakeup time that day, I leave a 3:40 to catch the shuttle bus to "Frankfurt" Hahn at 4am. With only 1 hour delay the plane takes off and I pick up my bike and baggage at Claudia's. Unfortunately my package with my "lost items" hasn't arrived yet (I had forgotten my ID and headlamp in a hostel in Viterbo the other day), so I decide to stay in Rome for just one more night

In the evening, the mail arrives in Rome and I'm very surprised to find that

  1. despite paying the hosts 9 EUR for insured shipping the stamps show that the package was mailed as a letter for 1 EUR and
  2. most importantly my expensive head lamp isn't inside, but some crappy light which I have never seen.

Not sure what happened here but it surely leaves a poor impression about my previous hosts. I'll write them an email when I'm in the mood.

Now however it is time to move on! As the sun rises I'm off. Not having a pre-planned route like the Via Francigena to follow anymore I get to choose the next stops by myself. "Let's keep it as flat as possible" I say to myself and follow mostly the provincial or state roads. It's my hottest day so far, and I'm desperate to cool down at McDonald's over lunch. When I reach Terracina some 100 km later in the evening, the city itself is very busy. I even end up in a traffic jam because the streets are just too packed with cars.

The mountains here look pretty climbable though! Too bad I didn't bring any gear with me...

Also I'm having trouble finding suitable camping: 30, even 40 EUR is the charge for a night! Seriously, Italian camp sites are massively overpriced for what you get, even more so as there are no special tariffs for cyclists. Even in Switzerland I paid less. I end up paying 20 EUR to stay in "Salto di Fondi".

With no camping sites along my next leg of the trip I'm not sure where I'll be sleeping for the next few days, so I keep my eyes open while cycling.

In the afternoon I find a good hidden spot not far from the road, just above a field, that cannot be seen from the road. Quite a comfortable spot and despite a festival of barking dogs at night I sleep quite okay. When I hear the farmer's tractor the next morning not far away however I'm getting nervous and quickly pack up. At least I have a Couchsurfing spot in Caserta for the night after...

The next morning I'm not going to far. Caserta is the goal of the day, where I will be waiting for my CS host, who returns later from his day trip to Sorrento. A thunderstorm is approaching. I'm lucky to be in the city anyways and seek shelter again in the local McDonald's for most of the afternoon.

Unfortunately however my CS host doesn't get back in touch with me. Not having heard from him in 7 hours I decide to move on at 18:30 and once again try my luck in stealth camping in the countryside. Major annoyance: the cyclist-hating dogs, which are making my presence well-known to the whole neighborhood. One of them is even going after me for a bit.

In order to save time before setting up camp, I have dinner along the way and in the dark. At 22:45 I eventually find a mosquito laden spot in the middle of an olive grove. Seriously, those annoying blood suckers are taking all the fun of my Italy experience! Unless you really love tiger mosquitos, I cannot recommend visiting Italy. They seem more hungry here than elsewhere.

Despite loud music in the distance -- Italians seem always to have a party going on, plus: it's Friday night -- I fall asleep... lightly... until, suddenly, I hear foot steps in the grass, approaching me! I'm wide awake now. It's 3:30 am and I'm in the middle of nowhere! Have I been found? Who is that?

Turns out there's no one, just the wind blowing through the trees and some insects. My dream and imagination have fooled me.