|Wednesday 6th July 2016
Another blue sky day – but we are off East and after a brief stop for fuel we head along the mostly good roads to Matera.
However once we are parked the skies darken and we have thunder and lightning for a couple of hours but it does bring the temperature down from 34 Deg C to the high 20’s.
This small site is a bit strange - it’s attached to an Agriturismo – which has a large restaurant - but no obvious menus at the entrance – and the site has locked showers!
Thursday 7th July 2016
The dawn chorus wakes us and with barking dogs – people who keep dogs need to know that they (the dogs) can be a real pain in the butt - early and then at 7am the workmen start cutting the next door solar farm grass – so we get up super early for the hols and plan a day out.
We plan to stop in the nearby town of Matera, then Martina Franca, then Locorotondo and then finally Alberobello – but the Satnav sends us the other way round – no problemo!!
Bu again the roads are not great and twisty but we arrive in Alberobello to find that it’s market day! We get a parking spot in what doubles as a mobile home site – not a caravan place - at a cost of 3 Euro – no matter how long you stay.
This is Trulli House country – they are beehive style of houses made out of stone – we thought that there would only be a few – but there are many, many all over the place - What a market and cheap produce – fresh fruit – tomatoes only 0.85 cents a kilo and other stuff and the streets are full of stalls- what a wonder.
We take a look at a recommended campsite outside of town Bosco Selva – but it’s not great – wooded and a bit scary – nice toilets and showers with a friendly reception – but not for us - thank you.
So, on we press to Locorotondo, and thanks to the Satnav find a free parking spot – the Historic centre is close by and the streets are closed off for cleaning of the bright white stone work on the roads and pavements.
The centre is really nice a large garden area with a panoramic terrace and then the old town is a warren of streets – white washed houses and red geraniums flowers – we manage to bag a nice table at a restaurant in the shade but with a nice breeze blowing through the alleyway. Neil has the dish of the day – chicken leg with vegetables (not a big portion) and Carolyn has Stuffed Veal Rolls in Tomatoes sauce – Delicious she says!
Then on to Martina Franca – except we hit a Diversion which is a HUGE loop round – perhaps double the distance expected – BUMMER.
But the town is really lovely – another walled city, winding alleyways, nice piazzas – some with night time illumination it seems. Just lovely, BUT we stop at a café and order an Americano Coffee and a Coke - and the bill is 5 Euros – rip off!!
From there the Satnav says 90 mins home – and mostly good roads but it takes us through a couple of towns and we think – there must be a better way!!
Back at Matera – we try to find a supermarket – but end up at the Caravan Centre – Strange yes! – but we do need a washer for the water pump – but no joy – instead we buy a square warning board if we have the bikes on the back.
Then it’s struggle to find the supermarket and in the end we give up and head for the caravan park and then into town for the first place that sells WHITE WINE.
Sounds easy – but it’s not in an old town landscape – Carolyn leaps out to find a shop and I stay in the car to wait – Eventually she returns booze in hand – the day is SAVED!
Friday 8th July 2016
The Campsite/Agriturismo lays on a minibus several times a day to get folk into the town – parking is a nightmare and so we join the assembled throng and pack into the minibus – The driver an exuberant (only in Italian) character yabbers all the way in to the town and even starts to read from a guide book as we zip along the narrow streets – no seat belt on – But we arrive safely and are told to be HERE at 1pm if we want the next bus home!
So, we set off on a walking tour of the old town and the cave dwellings – nice but all GREY – and it’s really hot and so we take a little shelter/relief in a church along the way – it’s great how cold they are – is that some sort of meaning?
The views of the ravine and the opposite cliff face with caves are good – Why would you have cliff dwellings on both sides of a ravine – surely one side would be better – more/less sunlight – better access to water – and what did they eat – sheep/goat meat?
Yes, I know a guide would have been a good idea!!
Copyright Neil Tough@2016