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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Puglia, Italy

Nov 7, 2018 - Otranto, Italy

Otranto is in the far eastern corner of Italy's boot heel. Once a strategic port during Roman times, today Otranto is known for its white-sand beaches, famed Aragonese Castle, and eleventh-century Romanesque cathedral. The Strait of Otranto, to which the city gives its name, connects the Adriatic Sea with the Ionian Sea; all of which are part of the Mediterranean Sea. The harbour is small and has little trade. Our tour guide, Silvia, as usual bought us a treat - pasticciotto!! See the photos!! We got back to our boat early since it is...

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Nov 5, 2018 - Alberobello, Masseria, Monopoli

Alberolello is known for its cone-shaped houses called Trulli. It's a feature of this part of the Puglia region which gained UNESCO recognition as a unique building technique. The story is that when the King at that time, gave the land to a certain family, he said they could not build anything on the land. Well, of course, that's no good. So it was decided in the family that the buildings would not be permanent and could be easily torn down if the King's inspector came. So they built the buildings out of stones from the area and stacked...

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Nov 4, 2018 - Bari, Italy

The main Castle in Bari was the home of Frederick II, built in 1233. This Swabian Castle also served as a Renaissance residence for Isabella of Aragon and her daughter Bona Sforza and became a playground for the artists, writers and powerful dignitaries that the two would host. Saint Nicholas' bones are kept in the Basilicaa of Saint Nicola, commissioned in 1089 to house the stolen relics of Bari's Patron Saint. We know Saint Nicolas as Santa Claus. The legends were built around him because he saved little children from harm and gave them...

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Jun 17, 2018 - Heading up the heel of the boot of Italy

Having taken on fuel we then proceed to Otranto and anchored off the beach. Even though we were pretty much tired after the passage, we went ashore and explored the old town and tried to find a supermarket (which we did eventually having passed one which should have been open but was shut – annoying!). Friday 8 June Left Otranto fairly early. There was a bit of a breeze but nothing significant when we left. Slow progress for a while with other boats overtaking us. Then mid afternoon the wind picked up and we headed for Brindisi and in a...

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Trip Journal


our 2018 adventure

May 27, 2018 - Brindisi is a pleasant starting point for our ferry to Greece

After an early bus ride (Alberobello to Bari) followed by an uneventful intercity train ride to Brindisi, we arrived mid-afternoon. We found a nice little family-run cafeteria for lunch on our walk from the train station, just around the corner from our airbnb on Via XX Settembre. The whole point of being in Brindisi was to take yet another Grimaldi ferry to Igoumenitsa, Greece. However, we were pleasantly suprised by this town! In particular, I was pretty excited about seeing the Roman column by the waterfront, and the top of its twin in...

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May 20, 2018 - Bari and Conversano

Sunday 20th May: Today we moved from Gioia del Colle to go to Conversano for the afternoon cooking class. We were ready for Angelo at 9am and then drove to Bari for a walking tour conducted by Katia. Bari was much busier on this Sunday morning than it had been last Sunday afternoon when we arrived. Katia took us first to the harbour where the fish markets were still open. We saw men tenderising octopus as the locals like all their seafood raw and much of it was on sale for eating there and then. We walked through the old town to the...

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May 18, 2018 - Lecce and Gallipoli

Friday 18th May: A much earlier start today as we are driving all the way to Lecce so were on the road by 8am. The day is overcast and threatens to rain a little. We were delayed a bit by some roadworks and Angelo had to stop for tape to fix the side window where someone had tried to steal the van the night before. We arrived in Lecce about 10.30am and began our guided walk of the city centre. At the entrance is the Piazza Sant’Oronzo, patron saint of Lecce, with a statue of him (undergoing restoration). Nearby was a well preserved Roman...

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May 14, 2018 - Gioia del Colle

Monday 14 May: It was very nice not to have to get up early so we didn’t. Breakfast at the Palace Hotel was a cut above what we had in Sicily so we lingered a bit and ventured out around 10am. We walked more through the old section of town, looking in on the cathedral, and around the waterfront. We will be back with Angelo for a visit later in the week. As he was picking us up at 1.00pm, we had a coffee and cake back at the hotel, collected our luggage and waited for Angelo. He is a vey nice man with excellent English and we got to know one...

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May 13, 2018 - Bari

Sunday 13 May: A day of traveling. We said goodbye to Flavia and the other tour members with the exception of Helen and Paul who were traveling on the same flights to Bari. We walked to the airport shuttle bus stop in Piazza Politeama to find it mainly closed off with the police everywhere and we were told that there was to be a demonstration. A bus person told us to go 100m or so further on to catch the bus but had no idea what the demonstration was about. When we did get the bus the traffic was horrendous getting out of Palermo and we...

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May 5, 2018 - Bari

Having now completed three months on the road the time had arrived to hand in the car keys and head off to Albania for another adventure. Our Italian experience was extremely rewarding and although there were many scary situations the positives definitely came out on top. It was a tad sad to farewell our hire car, she had performed admirably. The little Fiat Punto had been through situations it probably had never experienced before, especially the 'Dukes of Hazard' airborne maneuvers we unintentionally put her through. She had been...

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Trip Journal


the Italian Boot

Apr 21, 2017 - Lecce and travel by slow trains in Puglia

The province of Puglia is known as the breadbasket of Italy - it is the source of 80% of Europe's pasta. It is also home to half the Italian olive crop - very evident when travelling by train with kilometre after kilometre of olive groves, interspersed with vines. The land is harsh and rocky, very different to the green rolling hills of Tuscany and northern Italy. Poverty and harsh living conditions resulted in many southern Italians immigrating to Australia, the United States and other wealthy countries, especially post WW2. Now, somewhat...

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Apr 16, 2017 - Holy Week in Taranto

On Thursday 13 April I travelled 'backwards to Puglia', the southern-most province in Italy. In fact, I literally travelled backwards on my six hour bus trip from Rome to Taranto - it turned out that my online seat, booked for maximum visibility by me at the front, passenger side of the bus, was bizarrely the single row facing backwards! The bus was packed to the gills with people returning home for Easter, so there was nothing I could do to change the situation. Taranto is not really a tourist destination: it is home to one of the largest...

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