We drove to Ostuni this morning to meet with Roberta who kindly reads my blog near La Rochelle in France but is visiting here with a view to buying a house in Puglia. Not I hasten to add because of my descriptive powers ! This was something she had decided on long before discovering my blog. La Rochelle is not a part of France I know but having attended a Naval College for 5 years I feel I know it well both from the actual battle of Basque Roads in 1809 when Captain Lord Cochrane fought for two days almost defeating the French Fleet while his Admiral James Gambier did nothing to help . Gambier was exonerated of failing to engage the enemy ( a death sentence court martial offense) in a whitewash trial whose verdict shocked the nation bought up on the exploits and daring of Lord Nelson. La Rochelle and the blockading of the French Fleet there was also much mentioned in the Hornblower books by C.S. Forester which were, of course, compulsory reading at 13 years old at the College. Gambier is mentioned in Flying Colours. So that’s the history lesson for the day.
After coffee with Roberta leaving her to attend a wedding in Ostuni we drove on down to Santa Lucia on the coast just south of Villanova Di Ostuni. Summer has suddenly arrived and we wanted to sit on a beach and enjoy as it has been a long time a coming this year.
Santa Lucia is very like the coast to it’s north around Villanova which I discussed in an earlier blog but I wanted to see the beach there and walk the coastal pathway . I was interested in some inlets that had been made during the WWII and were for fast MS boats of the Italian Navy to harry convoys in the Adriatic Sea. I found several of these
cut into the rock with clear indications of concrete foundations for barracks and stores etc plus some machine gun nests in the concrete.
The real beauty of the area is that it is greener but wilder than Villanova and very unspoilt. You link on to little paths through the undergrowth
which you follow down to very small secluded beaches made for just two people.
All very exclusive aren’t they? However further along you arrive at Santa Lucia beach proper. This is a large expanse of sand in a sheltered bay and this is it
It is the middle of June the temperature today was 27C at the coast and the sea is now swimmable to all but the biggest cowards like me and as you can see if you click on this photo there are 3 people on this huge beach . I wonder how many other places in the Med can boast that today ? But as the sun set we headed back up to Martina Franca .
Beatles in 1962. I think hearing that you can almost forgive the poor Decca records guy who turned them down for a recording contract based on their early stuff !
Talking of beaches I played you a tune from my beach lounger iPod collection the other day Wave by Antonio Carlos Joabim. He translated his lovely Portuguese song into English in 1970 and Sinatra recorded it.
It is deepest note Sinatra ever sang on a recording but I just cannot believe the lyric “when I saw you first the time was half past three, when your eyes met mine it was eternity” . Truly truly awful ! How lazy is that !
I had a 2 week holiday in Crete in 1972 staying in Ag. Nikolaos which then was a sleepy little fishing village. No beaches had yet been developed but there was a small piece of sand at one end of the front with loungers and sunshades. The bar on the beach boasted a stereo system of which the owner was mightily proud and he played local Cretan music until we stepped onto the sand each day as the only Brits there. Then he played his only “english” record from then until we left the beach as the sun went down and it was this one by Sinatra. The lyrics grated to start with, but at the end of 2 weeks I was going mad ! He spoke not a word of English and my protestations were treated as praise and he merely increased the volume and smiled a gold teeth smile. A couple of trips to Spinalonga the leper colony island off Elounda actually came as light relief !