Sunday morning,Crawl out of bed at 5am . Do 3 minutes of yoga , grab slice of toast and as many layers of clothes as possible as the weather could be cold.
It's not yet light and we are on the road to Taranto. It's surprising how many other people are up so early as well.
Arriving at Taranto it's neccessary to limit breathing for the first kilometre as there is a chemical plant which looks like something from a nightmare future - and it stinks.
After that I like the city. First we pass the old part where the houses are tall, lean in towards each other and are mostly run down. If you go for a walk through them, as I have done when the market was there previously , its like stepping back in time and a little scary.
On the other side of the road in contrast there are hundreds of boats tied up. Not fishing boats - we will see them on the way home- but pleasure boats, small yachts - expensive looking speedboats etc.
On round the corner and the sea is on our right and the buildings on the left grow more imposing, though only a few metres in are the scary slummy ones.
On we go over the bridge , past the fort looking out to sea and we are into the newer smarter part of Taranto .Very imposing buildings on the left with enormous doorways, restaurants, banks and on the other side of the road a large tree lined promenade going on as far as we can see.
About half way along this road we turn off and head inwards to the piazza Immacolata also known as Piazza with Palms.
We turn up the road and there is always a moment when we wonder - have we got the right day, is it on and where are the other stallholders. (It has happened that we have gone on the wrong day and another time that it had been moved- once to another town and once to another piazza.)
But everything is ok today. The weather is fine and there are other stallholders setting up and plenty of room to park and unload.
Setting up the stand is like making up your own little shop. My part of it is only an add on but the antiques part looks very appealing and artistic when it's done. I think the 2 parts compliment each other.
So by 8am we are having a coffee and chocolate cornetto - sitting in the (limited) sunshine and ready for lots of sales. Ever hopeful!
We sit and watch as other stall holders unload goods from cars, ape's, vans and camper vans. You can buy an enormous variety of things at an Italian antiques market. There are also about 40% of the stallholders selling handmade crafts.
Several of us sell paintings but only me and Letizia sell our own.
After two or three hours I am bored. Although I only take paintings of Taranto and Martina Franca I was getting a fair amount of people stopping and looking ,but no sales.
I decide a walk is in order.
The piazza is part of a shopping street and I set off window shopping. Some shops however are open and I remember a year ago going into one of the larger department stores and being surprised by a sign pointing to the department of Lingerie and Seduction. I was a little to shy to go have a look then , but now I determined to see what is on offer. I am not exactly sure what to expect, but I am disappointed. I think maybe I thought it was going to be an Italian "Anne Summers" . It is however a pretty boring underwear selection with nothing very notably seductive in my opinion and nobody offering advice on seducing ......in fact it is so boring I go straight through and into the christmas decoration part and find some cute unsexy teddy bears.
Further along the street I stop to take photos of a pink and white building that looks like someone had a lot of fun decorating. It reminds me off a cake with decorations. (In a nice way.)
On the way back I see two shops selling military or naval uniforms. I had always assumed that if you were in the navy or army you get provided with a uniform. It amuses me to think that perhaps these are designer uniforms for the more fashion conscious Italians.
Once more back at the stall I can see a lot of people in uniforms at the end of the street and soon we are entertained by a brass band marching past and then performing in the piazza.
By then there are lots of people about and just sitting watching people go by is an entertainment in itself.
Eventually it is lunch time and we have a carry out chinese - the second time in 8 years.
And then it is packing up time. It takes about one and a half hours and invariably looks like all the stuff will never fit into the car. (It has been a close thing once or twice.)