Day 100 - 101 - UNESCO & Lecce

21 - 22 March 2022

21 March 2022

Day 100. A milestone. Triple digits. It didn’t even get its own post. Worse, day 101 is wrapped up in it as well. 101 is an important number. Dalmatians. Sorry, Niam. What would Jim Hawkins think of my laziness?

“NOT long ago, there lived in London a young married couple of Dalmatian dogs named Pongo and Missis Pongo.” - Dodie Smith

Breakfast here is great. It is just us. The staff now bring us our coffees and eggs before we order them. I eat enough for ten people. Driving can be heavy work. Even if you don’t need to change tyres.

We are heading to Alberobello. Trulli central. UNESCO listed. Dry stone construction methods date back to 1000 AD. They look beautiful, are unique to the southern regions of Puglia.

We walk the town. They are beautiful structures. Winding narrow streets. Even the church is a trulli. Shell takes some pictures and we have soon seen enough of the trulli.

Next stop, Sassi di Matera. An ancient people dating back as far as 7000 BC. It is a troglodyte settlement and is thought to be one of the first human settlements in Italy. They built their dwelling by digging directly into the mountains. Consider that Matera is the only place in the world that inhabitants can claim they are living in the same dwellings as their ancestors were 9000 years ago.

“As we look around the world, especially in Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, the west coast of Italy, Peru, and Bolivia, there are stone structures and the remains of others which don't easily fit into the standard picture of history.” - Brian Foester

Site seeing is taxing work. We head home and look for somewhere open for lunch. A difficult task on a Monday after 2.00 pm. We find a place on a hillside overlooking ancient olive trees and a sandstone quarry.

I am starting to take roadside restaurants here for granted. The beef is cooked over a charcoal grill. No big deal. It is aged in house for four weeks. We grab some steak and an aubergine parmigiana, sides of potatoes, and grilled vegetables. Delicious.

We decided not to drink today. When we are paying the bill we are delivered shot glasses. House made fennel liqueur. It is bright green. Ignore the colour. It is tasty and does not burn too much. I smile and tell them ‘bouna’, one of the few Italian words I know. They give us a small bottle to take home.

We didn’t drink the liquer. Read. Bed.

Tomorrow we head to Lecce.

22 March 2022

We leave our trulli and head for Lecce. A short drive.

There is not much to say. Our accommodation is in the old town. Cars are not permitted. We drive in. Hindsight tells us the big red crosses were no entry signs. There is no power in our building. Has not been for a day or so. Probably should have let us know when we booked. Power due back on around 3.30 pm. We drop our bags and head out of town to drop the hire car off. Walk back in.

We head to lunch. We are greeted at the door. As usual our Australian International COVID passes don’t scan. We point out our vaccine dates. The waiter looks sick. He sounds sick. Suppressing coughs. Sweating. He refuses us entry. The first time it has happened. I look around the place, deserted. I comment to Shell that they are obviously very busy and don’t need our business and we leave.

I feel like an arse. Why say that? Petty. Childish.

“Chronic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most undesirable sentiment. If you have behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving better next time. On no account brood over your wrong-doing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean.” ― Aldous Huxley

We find another place. Order mountains of seafood and a bottle of Pinot Grigio. The mussels are cooked in wine, tomatoes, and herbs. They leave the most beautiful broth to soak up with the bread. Pasta comes. We finish the white and order a half bottle of red. Moderation is key.

“When you are frightened of seafood, you should really stay indoors with the curtains closed.” ― Anthony T. Hincks

Head back. Power on. We decide on some more wine. I make a quick run. Read our books and drink the wine. I finish The Beach. Not bad. A nice lazy afternoon.

No driving tomorrow. We catch the train back to Rome.


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