I had been warned. In this part of Italy the people are not to be trusted. They are bad people, I was told. There are fights between crime families that leave headline casualties and people come here from all over to buy crack.
I paddled south. The weather was good all day. In the beginning there were woods behind the beach and that was nice. But later there were rundown beach shacks and fences put up from temporary building materials.
Then there was the town. Finished houses were falling down, some into the sea, and many buildings clearly had never finished being constructed. It was a slum from some post apocalytic world, and people walked along the beach as though it was normal.
This town was not my destination, I was to arrive at the Lega Navali in the next town, Casta Volterno. I was told to head all the way up the canal, to the very end. It was a long canal, lined with fishing boats on one side and empty docks on the other. The water was filthy with at least two layers of scum on it. The farther up the canal I got the filthier it got. Finally at the end up the foulest port I have ever imagined. There was more trash floating on the water then Cheerios in your morning cereal. The docks were falling apart and the fishermen that lined the seawalls and smiled were probably pulling out three eyed fish.
There at the end of the canal I saw an old rusty sign, barely holding on to a dilapidated building, windows all broken, that pronounced to whatever bum might be interested "Lega Navali." I was not encouraged by this, In fact, I was depressed. I saw a place to get out of my kayak, the seawall was low and there were stairs going up. The lower level was covered in a layer of slime, old decayed things, and nastiness.
A happy-looking woman approached from above, her name was Rosa and she ran a restaurant here in the port. She asked if she could help. "Sure." Soon people from Lega Navli showed up and were kind and welcoming. Their chapter had effectively been shut down with the rest of the port, but they were still happy to have me. I ended up staying the night with Rosa and Antoni, her husband. Their home is a warm and soft place in a city Antoni told me ''Is not really Italy.''