Santa Maria de Leuca to Taranto

4/8/16 – 6/8/16

Following the coast from Santa Maria de Leuca northwards towards Taranto where we will be catching our train to Milano in northern Italy we passed the holiday coast of Puglia in high season…… very few foreign tourists apart from a few Swiss and Belgian ¬†families but packed out with Italian families.

Our campsites in Gallipoli and Porta Pirrone were both extremely busy, but fortunately had plenty of camping spaces under the shade of pine trees….. however the ground was really hard requiring the use of gathered stones to hold our tent vaguely into shape….. luckily there was very little wind! Ants proved a problem though, and we discovered that they had nibbled lots of small holes in our footprint groundsheet and living area groundsheet!

The coastline was low lying with lots of long sandy beaches full of bathers and sun worshippers. The roads were busy with cars going to or from the beach. We saw quite a bit of creative parking as we peddled past.

20160804_162955Our stop at Gallipoli gave us the opportunity to explore this historic town.

We looked round the extensive ¬† “Arroganaise” Castle and some interesting small museums telling about the production of lamp oil from pressed olives in underground workshops which had been carved out from the stone underneath the city to provide the constant temperatures required for the process. The introduction of petroleum oils in the mid 19th century put paid to what was a source of considerable wealth to Gallipoli….20160804_102734

Our last night under canvas was at Porta Pirrone, just 12km from Taranto…. we had planned to camp a bit further from Taranto but the campsite marked on the electronic map appeared not to exist….

We celebrated our last night camping by cooking our supper beside the sea which was just outside the campsite.20160806_200527

 

Otranto to Santa Maria di Leuca

31/7/16

20160731_113322We managed to make a reasonably early start, for us, at 9.30 and headed south. Initially taking an inland route, but soon turning towards the sea and following the coast road. This was beautiful with many gorgeous views. The road undulated through a rocky limestone landscape but we never went higher than about 120 metres. However we dropped down and climbed up again several times which, in the heat, made for sweaty progress.

An olive grove made a good stopping point for lunch in the shade with a wonderful view along the coast.20160731_154010

On getting to Santa Maria di Leuca, we followed the road, down hill, into the town. Finding the tourist information office closed, it is Sunday…. so restocking with cold water, we then headed out of town towards the campsite we have found on the map. This was again up hill and at the end of the day we were both tired, hot and sweaty ….and we also had a head wind.

The campsite is a busy site, with almost all Italian families. Tent pitched we discovered the site has a restaurant and shop. The latter selling cold beer, so once again it was beer o’clock!.

20160801_163049We stayed a couple of nights to explore the area and took advantage of a boat trip round the coast to explore the caves both on the Adriatic and Ionian sides of the peninsula.20160801_182657