Southern Italy & Puglia – September 2013 (Part 2)

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Read Part One of my vacation journal HERE

On September 7, we began our trip to Puglia. We left the Autostrada around Polignano a Mare and headed inland.   Like magic, Trulli (or dry stone huts with cone shaped roofs) began to appear everywhere – no elves though, even though we really keep expecting them to pop out of a trullo. It’s such a perfect elf house shape!

Alberobello (8)Trulli

 

We stopped in Locorotondo for lunch – it’s a delightful hilltop village, blindingly white, with a pedestrian center (on a side note: it’s so nice how so many towns are now pedestrian only in Italy, a fabulous change from earlier years).  It was hot and we were hungry and thirsty, so we stopped for lunch in a cobbled courtyard right at the entrance of the old town.  Our first taste of typical Puglian Orecchiette (little ears) – turns out, we don’t really like them much….

After our meal, it was onward toward our destination for the week, in Ceglie Messapica.  The GPS started acting up and we were having trouble loading it. We kind of guesstimated which way to go and headed toward Martina Franca – and then Ceglie Messapica which is where we were staying.  The GPS couldn’t find our address, even I entered the coordinates. It told me we were in the wrong place. Talk about frustrated.  Luckily, I had the phone number for our B&B if all else failed.

Trullo Messapi (19)

We finally arrived in the right area and started seeing signs for Trullo dei Messapi.  It is a well hidden gem about 2 miles outside of Ceglie. It sitss in the middle of olive groves surrounded by stone walls.  Entering the property our only thought was ‘Wow’. You can read and discover more about it here:

http://www.trullodeimessapi.it/it/home/

http://www.trullodeimessapi.it/it/photogallery/

This place is gorgeous.  Our innkeepers, Antonella and Saverio have definitely created a little paradise at their complex.  It includes a large trullo (3 cones) for 6 six people (obviously too big for us.).  The other 2 small apartments are the rest of the complex. We stayed in the Lamia (storage building) which has been converted into 2 apartments.  We had a living/kitchen, bedroom and bath, with a lovely courtyard in front, with shade trees, figs, almonds and olives everywhere.  Flowers too – Antonella loves flowers and it’s very obvious, they are everywhere.  She and Saverio have been open for three years, but it took them seven years to fix the place up. Can you believe they did it themselves? Amazing.

Antonella immediately made us feel welcome – she’d stocked the refrigerator with anything we could need. Every little detail was thought out.  The restoration of those old buildings was so beautifully done that we could have moved in tomorrow.  Just to tease us a bit, Antonella took us to visit the large Trullo apartment – stunningly gorgeous.  The pool for the complex was salt cleaned. I loved the fact that it was chlorine free.  The pool area was lovely. It was surrounded by the most beautiful flowers and trees. It was really a pity we were only staying for 6 days!

Trullo Messapi (24)

There are three apartments in all at this bed and breakfast, and while we were there, the largest apartment was only occupied for two days by a family.  We had so much fun during the last three days of our stay. We had a Dutch couple for neighbors.  They live pretty close to where Peter is from (Utrecht area) – small world!

September 8: On our first full day at the complex, the plan was to be as lazy as possible. Antonella brought us bread every morning, and we did a bit of grocery shopping the day before so we were all set for lunch. Later in the evening, we went to Ceglie to do a bit of wandering and exploring. This is when we ended up having one of the worst meals of our entire trip.  We should’ve known that the words ‘tourist menu’ meant trouble.  Nobody was there and the owner obviously wanted us to stay.  After the mediocre antipasti, he turned on some disco balls and the horror of horrors karaoke machine. We will never listen to ‘My Way’ again without snickering…. this was NOT part the plan.  The worst part was trying to extricate ourselves from this place.  We won’t share names, but it was horrible.  Lesson learned.  If we see the word ‘tourist menu’ we will go in the opposite direction.  Stupid of us, we ought to have known better.

Oh well, it will make for some great stories someday…..

September 9: On Monday we decided to explore Ostuni, the white city.  The GPS sent us on a big detour through the countryside.  During the 2 weeks we were in Puglia, we think we ended up seeing  50 million of the 60 million Olive trees.  While in Ostuni, we stopped and had lunch at a fish place. The kind where you walk in and point at a fish, tell them how you want it cooked , and then go sit outside in the shade to wait, with a cool drink on the piazza.  Lovely.  I was hot outside, and between the scenery and the weather—it finally felt like a true vacation!

Ostuni (1)

After our meal, we wandered around town. We stopped to look at some archaeological work on the square down the hill and ended up back at ‘home’ late in the afternoon. We relaxed by the pool and were lazy for the rest of the day.

Next up was Trani and then to Andria, Castel Sant Angelo for a very special lunch. Read Part 3 HERE.

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