Published: January 7th 2007January 7th 2007
Beautiful sunny day, nice beachfront walkway, clean crisp ocean air...something to build an appetite on!
Beth: What’s for lunch today? Me: Ummm…how about driving to the tip of the peninsula and see what we can have for lunch there? So we took off on yet another daytrip. Since this was a bit longer drive and we didn’t get out of bed until 9:30AM, we took a main strada to the town of Leuca. This is located on the very tip of the Salentine Peninsula. If you look on a map, you will see it at the very tip of the heel. It doesn’t get much further south than this point. We made it there in an about an hour and a half. It was the usual experience on the strada - the normal high-speed, stress filled state of constant alertness, always looking ahead, behind, and to the sides.
Once we arrived in Leuca, I was able to relax. Like all the other seaside towns that we have visited, Leuca was verrrry quiet. As you can see in the photos, there is a heavy Greek architectural influence. The town was also very clean and tidy as was Otranto. Hmmm…Brindisi could take a hint from these towns.
We drove right down to the waterfront and easily found a
I'd hate to be close to this coast in a fog!
parking spot. We walked up and down the seafront walk and took in the sun and crisp ocean air. We spotted a lighthouse on a hill at one end of the town. It looked rather new so it didn’t really capture our interest. We also thought that the large church close to the waterfront looked somewhat new and so we didn’t have an interest in looking inside. We walked down to the water’s edge and noted that there wasn’t an actual beach, just rock; jagged rock at that. The water here was also very clean. There were a few Italian tourists around also taking in the sun and enjoying the walk.
We noticed that there was a sign pointing to a grotto so we proceeded to go look for it. We did find the grotto but it wasn’t particularly interesting and plus there was a sign forbidding any climbing into it. I pointed out to Beth that this must be the most southern point on the tip of the heel. I decided that I had to have a photo of the spot. I clambered down the rocks and found locals fishing off the point. Those guys were making some pretty
In ancient Italy, the bad guys showed up with regular frequency.
impressive casts into the ocean.
At that point my stomach started demanding lunch so we walked around a bit until we found a place. I should note that my usual practice is to look until I find a place that gives off a “good food vibe.” We got in ahead of the crowd and secured a nice place in front so as to get some more sunshine. There was only one waiter but he was very efficient and got around quickly to the small group of customers. We had a plate of mixed seafood as an appetizer (antipasto) and that was excellent. We had a salentine white that was tart, citrusy and incredibly light. It seemed to hardly touch your tongue. Damn, that was good wine!
Beth had a whole grilled calamri and I had “mare misto” that was grilled and lightly seasoned. I tasted the calamari and it was fab. My dish was so crisp that I ate the gamberoni shell and all, save the head. For a “contorni” we had grilled veggies. I have to learn how to prepare the grilled eggplant!
The waiter was a great guy and really friendly. He was so helpful and gracious. I
How do you say "Got any bites?"
just can’t say enough good things about the Italian people here in the south. It has been such a great experience to meet and chat with them. They are always complimentary about my Italian, even when I am tripping over my tongue and struggling with finding the right words. They always take pains to be good hosts and inquire about our experience here. I had always read about “la dolce vita” and Italy being the “bel paese”, but now that I am immersed in the attitude, I have a much better understanding.
I knew the first time I walked out onto the Piazza della Reppublica in Rome and felt that vibe, I said to myself, “Yep, this is my kind of place!”
There are more photos below