I mentioned in an earlier post our quick visit to Gallipoli and the crowds on the beach. Well the mayor yesterday congratulated himself on the success of the various campaigns to promote Gallipoli and said provisional figures showed a 40% increase in tourism to the town. I think we can attest to that as packed really doesn’t describe the place last Thursday.
Residents have responded to his crowing with fury. Parking has been chaotic they say, youth drunkenness appalling, the crime rate including rapes has jumped, no extra police were drafted in unlike say in Rimini where several hundred are added to the force to handle the crowds, huge lines at restaurants and bars have become the norm, public services including sewage unable to cope, Well the list goes on and on
The mayor responds that maybe it didn’t all go to plan but ‘ lessons have been learnt’ that famous catch all phrase which normally means nothing will be done.
Would he holiday in Gallipoli in August he was asked and started then to duck and weave. It transpires he holidays in Florida and is particularly keen on Key West tucked down at the end of the Florida Keys. That was another sleepy idyllic little place in the 1980’s that has been transformed into a ” destination” and one can see immediately where the Mayor is getting his ideas from. The poor residents of the now hip “destination” of Gallipoli need to find him somewhere else to go or their summers will continue to get worse.
He finished his own triumphal press conference by announcing his next campaign for 2014. He said in Key West thousands flock each night to watch the sunset on the beach. They clap loudly and cheer at the sun setting into the sea. We have better sunsets he proclaimed and unveiled the next big marketing slogan to go with Gallipoli Club, Gallipoli Beach Festival, Gallipoli Gay etc. Now we have ” Sell The Sunset “. Thousands he said lining the beach drinking and clapping as the sun goes down and then dancing the night away. His one concession to the complaints was that rather than have these thousands trying to park along the already full beach front he will build huge car parks behind the town and bus them in.
When we lived in Marina del Rey we drank in a bar called the Venice Whaler. It was run then by an English guy who had lived in the States for years. Each night thousands would sit on the beach and watch the sun go down and cheer and clap. His bar as the sun disappeared was always packed with people too. ” I can’t knock it, look at my tills ringing” he said “and I gave up trying to tell these kooks that it was going to do exactly the same thing tomorrow night and the next and the next” . Americans always say that god tilted the earth and all the odd balls living in America rolled west. But now it seems Salento is to do the same thing.
When we were driving down for a sunset drink on Thursday near Santa Cesarea we saw out to sea a single quite large sailing boat with just a large red spinnaker aloft racing south with a strong following wind. No crowds were clapping on the beach thank goodness and it was a beautiful sight to end the day.
Our house guests went to Martina Franca last night for the first time. We dropped them at 7 p.m. and they walked through the centro storico and enjoyed the passeggiata, then found somewhere good to eat. There is a jazz festival going on this week so not only was the main square filled with music but many of the churches had allowed the other bands to practice in their buildings. So everywhere they went there was sound. I collected them later that evening and Martina Franca has become their favourite place so far to visit. It certainly does have a charm about it especially on a warm late August evening. Again they ate in a restaurant where there were no tourists and no English spoken. This is something they are getting used to and loving. It is a rarity these days in Europe to be able to do this they say and I believe them.