We are off the ship! It’s been a long 36 days and while we’re glad to be back on land, we’re not sure how we will be able to function in society without someone cleaning up after us, cleaning our room, telling us what to eat. Mind you, we are going to a lovely little corner of Italy for 10 days so I think we’ll manage.
We’re off to Puglia which, if you look at a map of Italy, is in the South East corner, or the heel of the boot. This area is renowned for 2 things, neither of which is tourism. They are, wine and olives. This region grows something like 80% of Italy’s drinking wine and probably a similar amount of olive oil.
From the ship we took a transfer to the Airport where we had a bit of a wait for our 2pm flight. We stopped and had a roast pork sandwich washed down with a wine. Our flight took off pretty much on time and we landed in a town called Brindisi. This is a fairly major town in the region and it was from here that we picked up our transportation for the next 10 days.
We’re travelling in a Peugeot 308 wagon, and it’s pretty cool. It’s diesel however you only know that when you change creams too quick and the revs drop too low preventing the turbo from kicking in. It just fits all our suitcases in the back along with a couple of day packs, so size wise it’s very comfortable. It’s also brand spanking new, which is nice.

The car comes with satnav and after the AVIS lady helped us change the language, we were on our way. Our fall back was Google maps, but we’ve only needed to use that a few times so far as the in car solution is pretty darn good.
We headed off from the airport to our accommodation, which is in Lecce. Lecce is a lovely little town and while it is a major city in the south, it has a central area that is tiny cobble stone alley ways, with restaurants, bars, shops, it’s very cute and a place you could easily spend a week or more just exploring. Unfortunately we only have 4 nights here so we have a lot to pack in.
Arriving at our accommodation easily, thanks to the help of technology, we were greeted by Elizabetta, the owner of Roof Barocco Suite. She runs this lovely B&B with her husband. They live on the second floor, and have a suite and loft apartment on the top floor. We stayed in the Suite which has 2 bedrooms.

The rooms are quaint and welcoming, with lovely vintage furniture. There is 1.5 bathrooms, heated towel rails, and air conditioning. Out the front is a wonderful patio area that is surrounded by plants. We asked about a nice place to eat some local cuisine and we were pointed in the direction of a place called Nonna Tetti’s, which was literally 50 meters from the front door.

Here they serve traditional local foods all prepared fresh daily. The house wine was great and, along with the meals, was very reasonably priced. We ended up eating here 3 of the 4 nights as it was such good food and so close to the accommodation, you could roll back if needed!

We spent the next day, which was a Friday and a public holiday, just wandering around the town. As it was a holiday, the number of people in town swelled with Italians coming to Lecce and surrounding costal villages for the long weekend.


There are so many little places to explore in the old town of Lecce, and we only just scratched the surface, but we visited most of the popular tourist sights and took lots of photos. We ended up at a little bar in and out of the way alley with no one else around. It’s a strange little place called ‘Online’, and they’ve adopted a beach theme with and old boat inside that’s been cut out to make a table, and surfboards on the walls etc.
The other strange thing is they don’t serve any local beers, nor do they serve coffee. None the less we stopped and had a couple of drinks and some little snacks. We didn’t have lunch today as the breakfasts supplied at Roof Barocco is so big and so good that we were still full. Each day we were treated to a different selection of pastie’s or a baked breakfast strudel of sorts, hand made yoghurt, fresh fruit. Simply amazing food at this B&B.
The next day we took a long drive. We went out to the East coast from Lecce, and drove all the way around the bottom and up to a town called Gallipoli which is on the west coast. We stopped along the way at a few little towns but the day was more about the amazing scenery that adorns the coastline.
Driving was a little stressful as everyone in Italy speeds. If the limit is 50 they’ll do 70, if it’s 70 they’ll do 90 and so on. Sticking to the limit was hard with people screaming up behind you, on twisty bends, then attempting an overtaking manoeuvre on a blind corner over a crest. Travelling at the limit you’d almost be considered a hazard.
Tonight for dinner our B&B hosts managed to book us into a special restaurant that serves basically home cooked italian dishes, very traditional. Booking in advance is essential here, days or weeks in advance is preferable, however Elizabetta did a little begging and managed to get us a table, for only one hour, and we had 30 minutes to get there. We only needed 15 minutes so we sat down early and had a bit of extra time.

To gain entrance you had to ring a bell at the door and someone would come out and ask for the name on your booking. 

Entering the restaurant was like walking into someone’s living room that had no couches and only dining tables, The food was, as promised, very traditional. We had pasta’s soups, and a traditional horse dish. The house wine was also very nice.

The next day we went out early to drive a little more of the countryside. This took us out to the west coast to just north of Gallipoli and the plan was to arrive at Gallipoli for lunch. This all work out well and we had a nice drive seeing some interesting sights.

We arrived in Gallipoli a little later than expected, but not too late to have lunch. We parked in one of the allocated parking spaces as driving into the old town is not allowed unless you have a permit. The car park had blue lines, which usually means it is metered parking.  We looked around but couldn’t see a meter anywhere. Then a dodgy looking italian fellow came up to us asking for 1 euro to park here. We weren’t sure why he was asking for this, as he wasn’t an official looking person, and we weren’t sure for how long we could park there, but giving him 1 euro seemed to make him happy. The short story is he would be part of the local mafia, and this car park was his territory. 
Gallipoli is know for its seafood so we were on the hunt for a good seafood restaurant. We found one that had been recommended to us, however as we hadn’t booked, they wouldn’t take us. Considering the restaurant was almost empty we found this hard to believe, and it probably came down to our attire as we were wearing shorts and thongs. Never mind, their loss, we stopped by a freeway more but settled on Il Bastione, where we could look out over the sea from the terrace. The food was nice and the beer was cold.

After lunch we headed back to Lecce and went for a walk around the old town, stopped in at a little wine bar then headed back to Nonna Tetti’s for our last dinner. Tomorrow we drive to Matera, and stay in a cave for a couple of nights. Sounds like fun!

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