I am an adventuress

I was asked at lunch yesterday if I was travelling with anyone. I said no. The response was instant and made me feel proud “ah, so you are an adventuress. How fantastic”

And do you know what?  It is fantastic. It’s not always easy and can be a bit lonely at times but you find adventures that would never happen if you were travelling with others. The freedom can be exhilarating and the rewards endless.

Heres’s to the adventuresses I know and admire. We have been saluted and I share the praise with you all.

Making the most of the good weather …

…meant a return trip to Porto Cesareo for sun, sea and sand.

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After a lovely few hours on a pretty quiet beach, I packed up my bag, dropped it in the car and went for a walk along the beach and towards the port. It’s a very pretty place.

And I found my future summer home.  Maybe a bit too grand. What do you think?

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It was a simple build, but what a view it has…

Back in Lecce, having showered off any remaining sand, I want for my evening stroll and came across two exhibitions. The first wasnt my thing at all, the second was fascinating.

It was at the Palazzo Vernazza and the building was equally magnificent to wander around as was the art to look at. Umberto Albanese. Look him up. Some stunning collages.

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And here’s more of the Palazzo

On my way home I discovered a new eatery that cooks fresh pasta as take out. Perfect for people like me who still hate eating evening meals in restaurants on their own. Not sure I’ll ever conquer that one.

Pasta but not just any pasta…

Today was a great day. I met my lovely friend Gio. He is currently touring around a delightful American couple, Don and Susan, who make artisan pasta in California. Along with Anthony (originally from Hastings) who was the official driver, we all went to lunch in Lecce at Le Zie.

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What an amazing lunch. Salento cuisine at its best. Honest, simple, tasty.  The photos on the wall are of various famous guests including Francis Ford Coppola.  An interesting point as Don has met him to discuss pasta. What a connection!

After lunch we travelled in convoy, yes I drove and apparently went through a red light or two but I’m not proud of that just proud that I was told by the driver in the car following that I drive like an Italian.  I felt that was a compliment!  And I didn’t go through a red light. It was red for turning left and I was going straight.

We drove to Maglie to the factory of Benedetto Cavalieri. They are artisan pasta makers since 1918. The factory was started by the current Benedetto’s grandfather and it’s now run by him and his son Andrea. Two of the most charming people I have met.

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Don was in his element having admired the Cavalieris from afar. And they were so generous with their time. Showing us the antique typewriters, calculators and of course the pasta making machines. They still hand pack the pasta and the ladies didn’t mind me taking photos.

Here is Benedetto

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And here he is with his son Andrea and Don

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And a few more..

They then took us for coffee and sent us on our way with samples. I feel very honoured to have had this experience. To see their passion was inspiring.

There is still so much to discover….

There is an arrogance in thinking that having spent 4 weeks here I know Lecce. The old city is mostly walled and therefore limited. But yet I still discovered new places today just from walking about with my eyes wide open.

 

What I love about this place is that every turn produces a new intake of breath.  So today I walked towards the third gate. I’d not seen it before and I don’t really know why. On the way I passed all of the following in the space of about 3 minutes…

img_2042 a beautiful church inside and out and then…

 

Before reaching the gate. It’s the smallest of the three

 

But impressive in its own way.   Sadly at each gate there is also the obligatory person, down on their luck and living off what little change they are given.

And tonight I broke out from beyond the walls and met my lovely Italian teacher Carmen at a local bar where everyone knows everyone and were very welcoming. The real Leccese I think I’ve finally found you…

 

 

Guess what I did today….

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Not too hard a guess.  When I was last here on my recommended list of things to do was to spend time at the beach at Porto Cesareo. Sadly I didn’t get to do that so I decided while the weather is in my favour I would put that right. And I wasn’t disappointed

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The sea was stunning today and the sand a nice change to Brighton’s pebbles.

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I thought you might also like to see the inside of the apartment, having already shown you the outside.

The main bedroom is a mezzanine with a small single bedroom down the hall towards the terrace. It’s beautifully done

 

Nice eh???

Starting to arrange to meet up with friends made from the previous visit. Shopping done so I now have a handy bottle of Rosato for the aperitivo hour!

It’s good to be back

As I drove from Bari to Lecce in pouring rain I felt like the stress of the world was being washed away.  I arrived in Lecce in sunshine and was met by the lovely Anna whose apartment I’m renting. The Secret Garden. And it really is fantastic. Very different to my last stay. More compact but a beautiful terrace and more central. It has everything I need and feels like home already. The view from the outside.

 

img_2018and this is the terrace

 

I’m pretty tired. Long day but I went to the Piazza and had a caffe in ghiaccio con latte di Mandorla

 

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and listened to a group busking playing brilliantly and the stress drops away further. This place feeds my soul.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 weeks today…

…and I will be back in this beautiful part of the world. Doing things like this..

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And walking through these streets….

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And having this….

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And hopefully discovering new places and things.  And most importantly meeting up with people who were an integral part of my 5 week adventure and made it the special time that it was. I’m beyond excited to be going back.   Non vedo l’ora.

 

This struck a chord with me

 

I saw this posted and I hope they don’t mind but I’ve borrowed it

 

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I think this sums up my whole approach to my year and embracing my fifties.   Being cautious has its place but I was reminded a while ago about the time I jumped 30 feet into water from the side of a rock. I can remember how I felt like it was yesterday.   I hope to be that brave again….let the adventure continue.

Sorry for the silence….

….it’s been a busy summer at the language school. But the good news is I’m now on countdown to my first return trip to Puglia.  Can’t wait to catch up with old friends, make new ones and see the beautiful Lecce again. Only a 10 day visit this time but I’m hoping for good things.  The planning is just beginning.

It’s good to be back. Baci to all xx