Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Puglian Peculiarities




  1. The weather was poor by Puglian standards.  On the first Monday night there was a scary thunderstorm, which took out the electricity supply for about fourteen hours.  (We were informed on Tuesday morning that it wouldn’t be back on before 4 p.m.; it was actually restored at 2.30.  This way of exceeding a target is a very Italian phenomenon.)  Then, in week two, the wind kicked in.  If we’d been purely after a lounger-and-pool holiday it would have been a downer, but as it was it got us out and about, dilettante culture vultures.
  2. Road signs are idiosyncratic.  You’d think that finding your way through a small town like Carovigno, which is basically a high street surrounded by off-white low-rise suburbs, would be a doddle.  Not so – the signposts clearly say ‘Brindisi’, so you follow them and find yourself in a dead industrial estate, or a litter-strewn cul de sac…  Part of the problem is that they haven’t fully adopted the convention that an arrow pointing vertically means ‘straight on’.  So you get two arrows, one on each side of the junction, one pointing left and one right; if you miss one of these, you erroneously turn left or right.  And finding your way back from this error is an existential challenge.  I swear that they reconfigure the roads whilst I’m executing the seven-point turn.  It took an hour to get out of Otranto onto the coast road and find that gorgeous beach I’d remembered from all those years ago. When I finally got there, it reminded me of Studland.
  3. Baroque is everywhere, especially in Lecce.  Those totally bonkers facades, gargoyles, pediments or whatever they are (see photo #1 in the previous post for a snippet) make you wonder what those guys were on.  It surely wasn’t religion.
  4. I managed to swim in the villa pool most days – not very far, admittedly, because of my dodgy right arm – but still a breakthrough.  I’d have loved to have surfed in the Adriatic, but that’s not easy when a) the tallest wave is about nine inches and b) I’d forgotten to take my togs.
  5. Two-stage plane trips were a first for me.  We changed at Rome going out, Milan on the return, with several hours hanging around in airports – not fun!  But the luggage made it through both ways, which I consider to be a miracle of logistical efficiency. 
  6. And I haven’t even mentioned the food…!

 

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