In all the excitement of going to London and then returning with the lurgy I completely forgot that our last house guest friends had burnt the midnight oil to compose a diary of their first experience of Puglia. It has lain nestled in my inbox at AOL for weeks now and I have done nothing with it.
When Roy and Judy first suggested coming in October for 10 days we were just a tad worried. September weather can be iffy and October can be downright scary . We racked our brains for things to do if the weather was bad for their trip and basically realised that Puglia is a fair weather place to visit. Even trogging around the baroque stuff is better done without rain cascading down the back of your neck and the wind blowing your mac away. Maybe wine tasting and cooking might be the thing we thought. They on the other hand seemed non plussed by our fear of what the weather could do. Normally quite lucky with it said Roy breezily.
We, on the other hand, are not, hence the concern. We have driven through the Arizona desert in pouring rain, ended a 3 year drought in Alice Springs, brought unheard of amounts of rain to southern Thailand in March, deluged Penang in February much to the consternation of the locals. The list goes on and on. I have letters from Prime Ministers inviting us to visit their arid countries. Friends now ask us where we are going to holiday so they can book the furthest place away from us. As we descend the aircraft steps we notice people running to grab their wet weather gear whatever the weather forecaster said that morning.
Anyway Roy was quite right. He and Judy moved around Puglia almost unaware that the place they had just left was about to get tons of rain and the place they were arriving at was now basking in sunshine. This is the first part of their diary of the trip
Puglia trip 01-10 oct 2013
Stayed with Mike and Geraldine who moved from Cyprus to Puglia 2 years ago.
Their house is near Martina Franca in a beautiful rural area with views over lots of
Visited Martina Franca market with Mike. Judy bought new boots. Then
toured the area. First a picnic on the beach near Savelletri home of the travel writers mythical fish restaurant which we couldn’t find either. Then Polignano for tea, and drove
back via Castellana Grotte, and Alberobello. Dinner with mike and friends Billy and
Martine. We all rather overdid the vino rosso and bianco and whose idea was the grappa!
Bright day but coolish at 20c. Left at 1000 with a hangover. Headed
south to Lecce then the east coast as far as Castro Marina where we found a nice
hotel. Very few people around but excellent meal in the Underground restaurant.
Fresh fish and good Salento wine for only 50 euros for two. Cool evening but
lovely spot. Early night. !
Early morning swim in Castro Marina. Left after breakfast and paid 73
euros for Hotel Euromare. I think we were only residents. Scenic drive south to
the bottom of the heel at Santa Maria de Leuca. Picnic on nice beach then drove
up the flat and sandy side of the Ionian to Gallipoli. Another nice swim on
Gallipoli beach.Found an interesting B&B Insula in an old Palazzo for 60 euros
in the centre of the old town. Lovely drinks and carpaccio of polpo and
swordfish at the Spingula wine bar on the ramparts as sun went down. Not very
hungry for dinner! Weather sunny but cool in evening. Found a small Trattoria ,
the Angelo Blu and enjoyed pasta with clams and excellent local red wine. The
restaurant evacuated to watch the procession carrying Saint Frederico and Saint
Agatha around the streets. A joyful occasion.
Up with the sound of the church bells at 0800 to enjoy a short stroll
around Gallipoli in the early morning sunshine. Checked out after breakfast,
collected car from free parking in the port area then drove north along lovely
coastline to Porto Caesare for coffee, walking and some shopping. A lovely town
and very quiet at this time of year. Enjoyed a swim and picnic lunch in hot sun
on beach just north of town. The weather changed after lunch and we drove back
through olive groves and vineyards to the Martina Franca region and home to Mike
and Geraldine’s. The end of an excellent two day mini- excursion around the heel
of Italy. Very glad to have done it off- season as it must get very crowded at
the summer peak. Hotels and parking were never a problem!
We all enjoyed a meaty evening meal with a difference at L,Antico Borgo in nearby Cisternino.
Described very well on Trip Advsior and well worth a visit when you are hungry!
Part 2 tomorrow but you see what I mean. The weather didn’t change until they arrived back with us again !! I’ll let you all know where they are going on their hols next I promise.