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Published: October 10th 2016
I have a feeling we've been here before
Ha ha, but I didn't get to stop this time.
The Lecce visit continued with another road trip. Otranto revisited
We had such a good time in Otranto with Bob and Rita that we decided to spend another day there. This time we had to take the train. They told us in the ticket office we had to change trains twice to go 43 kilometres. They aren’t big on announcing things on the regional trains but as we approached the town where the first change was to occur, the conductor came through, telling us to stay on the train right to the second city. Only change once. Whew. However, when we got to the Otranto station to come back, the sign said (we thought) there was no train but a bus would take us back to the transfer point. There were about 5 people on the train in the morning but the bus was packed that night. The bus twisted and turned its way through three towns without picking anybody up. What was that about? But we made the transfer point for the train and got home without trouble.
Dianne was very happy because we got to take off our shoes and plodge in the Adriatic. She was
Gate at night
We don't often go out at night but we get some great views when we do.
disappointed we couldn’t swim as there were lots of swimmers but I was just as happy. We got to see a great display of the world famous Steve McCurry’s photographs (remember ‘The Afgan Girl’
from National Geographic?). It was incredible. Cooking Class
Anna, our Airbnb hostess and cooking teacher, picked us up at 9:30 as promised and we strolled through the old town to her place. We stopped to pick up a few ingredients we needed (fresh octopus, yikes!), some veggies and some desserts at a cafe/bakery. We even managed cappuccinos at the cafe.
She had everything ready for us to start. Dianne did most of the prep while I took pictures. We made pasta, cut up vegetables and watched Anna prepare the octopus (Dianne helped cut up the octopus into small pieces). I was a bit nervous about this as I am not partial to squid and they seem very similar. In the pasta making, Dianne seemed to catch on to the making of orecchiette but mine left something to be desired. They were the basis of a lunch we had later and I think I could tell which one I made.
Anna’s husband, Maurizio,
The streets at night definitely do not remind us of Pender Island.
joined us for lunch. She had also prepared a couple of local dishes to complement the ones we made. We had a lot of laughs and a great time. We had made dinner reservations at a nice restaurant for that night but changed them for a couple of days later. That was how good the lunch was. We didn't leave their home until 4pm!
Anna has sent us the recipes for these dishes. I am looking forward to trying octopus in Victoria. Really! A little knowledge is a dangerous thing
Another road trip: Gallipoli on the west coast of the heel. The route from our apartment to the train station is not long but it is a bit torturous. We had done the route before so no problem, right? Wrong. We missed a right turn somewhere and ended up coming out a city gate not exactly where we wanted to be. We knew that much. A quick consult with the map told us the bad news (yes, it would have been a good idea to consult it first). We boogied and got to the train station to see the train to Gallipoli was still in the
San Pietro Basilica in Otranto
This is an example of the frescos still visible in this small church. Jesus washing the feet of the Apostles.
station. Dianne stopped to validate the tickets and just then the train left. Gak!
One of the platform people told us the next train was in about an hour and a half so we decided to do a walkabout. Where to? We didn't dare walk back into the old city in case we got lost again. We weren't too far from the cafe we had been to the previous day with our cooking teacher so we hiked down to it and had, you guessed it, a couple of cappuccinos. The same chap was on the bar and he seemed pleased that we had come back. In my very best (but not good) Italian I said "perdiamo il nostro traino se veniamo qui
" Which was supposed to mean "We missed our train so we came here". I haven't figured out past tense yet but he seemed to understand. He also seemed happy when I told him the goodies we had bought the previous day were very good.
We finally got to Gallipoli after a train change in Zollino. It's always a guessing game. The conductors have all been very helpful. Old Gallipoli (not to be confused with the more
Anna, with Dianne's help, prepared the octopus. Peter took notes. Now, if we can find fresh octopus near Pender we are ready for a good time.
famous one in Turkey) is a nice town built on an island in the Gulf of Taranto (the west side of the heel of Italy).
After our day of sightseeing we made sure we allowed enough time to walk back to the station as it was quite a hike from the old city. And, yes, I made another error on the walk home. At least it was a different one. Hey, we got home didn’t we? Evening strolling
It’s always fun to join in the evening passigiatta
when people like to get out and just walk around the town, especially the piazzas.
Many people get all dressed up for these strolls. One night, as darkness descended, we took a side trip along a new route. It certainly wasn’t as dark as it is on Pender, but the street lights cast some interesting shadows through the trees. At one point I must have been examining something at roof-top level because I stepped in a fresh pile of something on the sidewalk. The chap walking towards us got a good laugh as I jumped in disgust. He pointed up to the cactus hanging over the wall. Some of the
Home made orrachettie
This was the basis of a pasta lunch we had the next day. Worth the effort even if I need a lot more practice. We just watched a video of an older Italian lady making it. I need a lot more practice!
ripe fruit had fallen off the plant onto the sidewalk and stayed there waiting for me to step in it. At least it wasn’t from a dog. Museums
We spent a day wandering around the town and took in two small, private museums. One described the history of the Jewish community in Lecce and area. Very interesting. A second came about when a chap was renovating an old building and discovered artifacts going back a couple of thousand years. Incredibly, instead of just throwing it all away, he turned it into a museum. It had a watch tower with secret tunnels. When we asked one of the attendants who they were hiding from, she just started listing off names: Romans, Normans, Turks, Angevines, etc too many for me to remember! Eight Days?
Seemed like a lot when we started but we certainly managed to fill the time well. Lecce is a great place to centre yourself in the south of Puglia and the Secret Garden is the place to do it.
Off to Martina Franca. It’s hard to be believe there can be more excitement awaiting us. To Be Continued.
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