Certainly the worst storm I have seen in four summers here . We could sit on the veranda and watch the cloud being sucked up forming a huge black cumuli nimbus . Six to eight forks of lightening at any one time and then massive cracks of thunder.
We, of course, had house guests arrive that afternoon so they were treated to one of the finest electrical shows going. Most of the area went out within a few minutes and a trip to the bar proved fruitless as they had no power and couldn’t mop up outside whuch was under water.
Today we have bought our guests south through Lecce to Otranto and are now following the coastal road down to Leuca on the very tip of the heel. We looked out to sea for yellow blobs which are life rafts that illegals float across the Adriatic on, to land and be arrested on the various beaches and rocks along this coast. Today with a brisk North Westerly they would have been out of luck and would be driven quickly back onto the Albanian or Greek mainland.
The coastal route is really very beautiful and well worth a drive. It is almost the Amalfi coast 30 years ago and our guests fell in love with Santa Cesarae Terme famous for its four hot springs that bubble up through four different caves.
The town boasts some incredible buildings built in the 17th and 19 century as the rich and famous came to take the waters and build summer palaces in some style. The moorish architecture was all the rage it seems but now only a few of these buildings sporting huge domes exist. As we stood looking over the town and out to a very blue sea our well travelled guests said it reminded them of their first visit to the south of France some 40 years ago. Praise indeed.
We lunched on the front and once again the vagaries of Italian service came to light. We chose a place with a good fresh sea breeze sat down and the girl bought menus with somewhat of a flourish. Much pondering of a wide range of salads and panini took place and then she was back. Dimmi she said so I launched into the list we had decided on and were now expectantly and hungrily awaiting. Momento she said having sat through my lengthy list and disappeared back inside. She returned and said scusi la cucina e chiuso . Sorry the kitchen is closed !
My Italian failed me as we gathered up our belongings and walked 4 paces to the next cafe further down where a charming girl happily took the order and served us quickly.
The season is still in full swing down here and so accommodation is hard to find. We are installed in an Agriturismo place tonight in a small inland town which Tom Tom managed to send us around four times till turned off. Hopefully we shall have better luck finding a pizza joint tonight. I have just done the recce and have at least found a bar. It is all very Greek in style down here. A village square, a tree of idleness and lots of seemingly old men sitting on taverna style chairs almost playing with worry beads. Maybe we will get mese tonight. I would think that an illegal landing on the coast and wandering up here would walk around and think his navigation had gone wrong and he was back near Patras.