Puglia, Italy 

After house/pet sitting for friends and family the last 5 weeks we decided to have some time in the sun. Where better to go than Italy! In between house sits we spent the odd night sleeping on friend’s drives, outside their houses in our motorhome. Our daughter in law had just given birth to a baby boy so we wanted to stay close to home as he wasn’t very well, and had to have an emergency operation for a twisted bowel. Once you close the curtains in your moho though you could be anywhere eating your full breakfast. Haha.  

We had chosen an airbnb apartment in the centre of Brindisi. For £19 a night we weren’t expecting much but was pleasantly surprised!

Like me, many people won’t have heard of Brindisi as it’s not really a tourist/holiday destination. It is near the “heel” part of Italy in the South East.  It is certainly a place I can recommend though. The city is a warren of quaint streets lined with apartments, churches and shops with old delapidated facades, windows with washing hung out and local shops where the people of Brindisi buy their fresh regional produce.

 The waterfront reminds me a little of Venice along the Grand Canal.

There is a short but scenic  promenade to walk on and the local families can be found eating ice cream, drinking coffee or wine, walking their dogs etc until nearly midnight.

Amongst the narrow winding streets, that the cars somehow manage to navigate, are hidden gems that are artistically lit on an night to showcase the architecture at its best.

We walked along the waterfront and headed to where the street food stalls were. You always get the best and cheapest food here 😀. We weren’t disappointed. Unlike in England, the stall counters were refrigerated and were full of all kinds of meat and thick italian sausages. You selected your meat, then your panini and they flame grilled it for you. Nothing on the menu was over €4 and the ice cold beer was only €1.50 a bottle. Rather cheap for its prime location. It would have been rude not to sample the beer. The street food will wait for another night.

As we walked further along the promenade we could hear loud music, but not the kind that damages your ear drums hahah. It was salsa music! An ice cream parlour had cleared it’s outdoor tables and provided a dj.  People of all ages were taking to the dance floor and shaking their hips. It was fantastic to see men in their early twenties being able to expertly lead women to the sexy sounds of salsa. I was in my element watching them. 

After a while we headed off and Kev decided to try and impress me with his “snake hips” as he called them…..he looked more like a funky chicken 🐔😂.

The following morning we awoke to blue skies, the smell of fresh bread being baked in the Panetteria round the corner and the melodic Italian voices of our neighbours greeting each other. Perfect. 

We decided to visit Monopoli, which was a 45 minute train ride away and cost us €10 return. Our apartment was in an ideal position to visit a few surrounding areas so we booked in for a other 3 nights. Monopoli reminded me of Dubrovnik in some areas.

The beach was very small and filled with families enjoying the sunshine.  As far as we could see we were the only non Italian’s there. It was a great spot to people watch and try to decifer what they were talking about. Their arms are always moving around whilst chatting animatedly.

Again the narrow streets were a maze of beautiful builings that the cars still managed to get around.

Lunch was a freshly baked bread roll filled with roast ham and locally produced Pecorino cheese. We expected to pay a fortune as it was crammed with meat and cheese but only cost €5 for both!  We sat on the sea wall devouring it. 

We got the train to Taranto the following day. It was described as a “gritty town” but said they were in the process of smartening it up…..hmm not sure where they started tidying it up. It reminded me very much of Havana in Cuba. Very grimy and the buildings were in desperate need of repair. There is a huge difference between the north and south of Italy, money wise. The south is a lot poorer, but the restaurants and bars are much cheaper 😊

There was a nicer side to Taranto. The water was different shades of blues but we struggled to get down to it. There was a tiny beach but not worth recommending.

The local lads had been lucky fishing and were busy de -shelling the mussels they’d caught. They were lightening fast at opening and getting the meat from inside. One was opening them whilst another washed them and passed it on to someone else who was putting them in tubs ready to go to the shops.  Fresh seafood 🐚🦀🐙

We headed back to the train station to go back to Brindisi. Kev was sat next to me on a bench counting his euros on the platform of the station. “Don’t count your money here” I said. We knew that train stations are the worse place for pick pockets. “Don’t talk to me like I’m stupid!” he said. “Well stop doing things to make yourself look stupid!” I replied. “Well I’ll stop sitting next to you then!” He retorted. Haha. I dye my hair blonde to make him look good! 😎

Another day another destination. We can’t do to be tied in one place for too long. There’s no point going to a country for 3 weeks and staying in one spot. The following day we went to Polignano a Mare (pronounced poly nyarno a marr i) Kev calls it Polig narno a mare! 

Nice little place to visit or stay.  We’d been in Italy 5 days and not heard one British accent until we arrived here though.  A lot of tourists but not enough to spoil it. Gorgeous white buildings with winding streets. A restaurant in the rocks, rock and pebble beaches and loads of kids jumping off the cliffs into the icy waters.

We travel quite a lot, in Europe and long haul and a 3 week break is a short one for us. For this reason we try to save money as and when we can. We don’t go to posh restaurants or eat lunch out every day. We go to the supermarket and local bakery and stock up on provisions. Lunch today was a fresh baguette filled with ham, salami, cheese and salad, made in our apartment. We’d bought and cooler bag to transport food and water in as it was so hot. We sat looking out at this eating our lunch.  You wouldn’t know we were sat on a bench in a car park!  We’re so classy! 😂😂

Back on the train and to our apartment for steak and salad before we went onto the promenade for a walk before bed. The waterfront was filled with event staff putting up fences and the walkway was filled with motorhomes, jet skis and racing boats. We found out that Brindisi was hosting the jet ski Adriatic Cup event. 

It was quite well organised apart from the fact there was nowhere for the crowds to a sit and watch it!! The main event was held the following day so we sat further along so we could sit in the sun and watch them race. 

Kev is like a kid. He watches Spiderman movies and he wants to be “Spidie” so after watching them race on jet skis he’s going to learn how to ride them….yeah whatever. 😂

Our final day in Brindisi and we went to a place called Oustini. In winter it houses up to 32,000 inhabitants but in summer this number can reach 100, 000 with holiday makers and tourists. It’s a commune rather than a town/city. The streets are extremely narrow within the old city/commune so they hire out tiny cars to get around or scooters.

It was a lovely place but as soon as you go into the centre it was a tourist trap. All tourist shops, restaurants and cafes with over priced goods. Still a lovely place though. At one point it looked like it was going to pour down and spoil the sunshine and heat.  Luckily it didn’t.  It was cooler today though at 27 degrees. 

On all our train journeys from Brindisi we have travelled past hundreds of olive trees. The tree trunks are warped into wonderful shapes and every one is different. In one of the holes in the middle of the trunk they had got 9 people and a dog, it was that big! 

We leave Brindisi in the morning to head in to Lecce, Bari then over to Naples before we get the ferry to Procida, where we’ve rented a caravan near a beach and then finish off in Naples. 

2 thoughts on “Puglia, Italy 

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