So as my last post suggested, I spent my first day in Italy first in Bari, where my boat landed and then headed north towards Gargano national park. I spent the night at a campground just outside of the park in a small town called Mattinata.
That first evening I spent some time in town stocking up on food the the planned adventures of the next day. I didn’t find anyone who spoke English so I managed to buy food at a grocery store, find Internet and recharge everything while eating gelato and prosecco all in Italian. It was a terrific day.
The next morning I was up and out early to get a good start on one of the trails in the park. I parked in a little lot with two other cars and set out. The lizarding was terrific. I found two species quite abundantly and had a lot of opportunities to observe them.
I started heading back to the car around noon planning on a picnic lunch farther into the park when I noticed, as I got close to the cars, a lot of clothes and gear on the ground. I recognized them right away as mine.
The thieves were extremely thorough. Everything was opened and turned out, even tiny compartments of pockets and camping gear.
When I got to the car I saw this:
There are still some details that are confusing: they smashed the windows way more than was necessary to get into the car and they took all of my stuff to the comfort of a shaded cupola 10 m down the trail. But the end result is the same. They made off with my iPad and some other electronic and camping gear.
Luckily I was carrying my passport, camera, phone and money with me.
I had a long talk, in terrible German with a couple of hikers who tried to help me call the police. Eventually the local police showed up and we talked in Italian about how to get to the police station in Mattinata. I ended up giving the police report in French as the officer spoke no English and my Italian is more gestural than verbal. All in all it was an exciting linguistic experience in and of itself.
The next step was finding a mechanic that would make the repairs but as it was Sunday afternoon no one was answering their phones. I returned to the campground and began telling my story in mime and nouns to my neighbors, all of whom were extremely apologetic and wonderful. One gave me some gelato, another, a nice cold beer and a third brought over a portable vacuum to help me get rid of the glass all over the front seats.
The rest of the evening was spent cleaning the car and organizing my stuff to see what all was missing. This morning I started searching for places to replace the windows but to no avail. No one is available until Wednesday, so I’m staying put until then.
I’m safe and fine. Thanks for your concern! I’m going to have to cut out my trip to Spain unfortunately, but with luck, research will be back on track at the end of this week.