Departures and Diversions

Our travels with Val had come to an end. It was wonderful to have had her with us for companionship, her knowledge of the language and the fact that she had been to many of the places before and was an excellent guide. Not to mention the fact that she can turn a handful of vegetables into a cordon bleu meal…very handy for tired travellers.

We said our goodbyes at the railway station at Polignano a Mare. This saved us a couple of hours of driving and had the train run on time would have cost Val a couple of Euro and thirty minutes. Unfortunately, the train was late, and the connection could not be made. So poor Val was travelling for hours longer than she had planned but the consolation was that she had friends at the other end with whom she could commiserate.

We then ventured into the town to have a look at what all the fuss was about. Wow! It was beautiful. One of the vantage points was accompanied by a couple on cello and drum whose expertise and selection of music heightened our experience of this amazing place. We wandered through the old town and came across some artwork that we both liked. The artist had dropped in and we got to chatting and got a picture together. We also found some ceramics that we both liked. The key is that we both must agree. Not something that we do often!!!

John had booked a masseria for two nights. This term is commonly used in Puglia to describe a country house. Years ago these were usually walled or fortified to protect against attacks by Turks, pirates or even neighbours. Many have been converted into luxury hotels or bed and breakfasts and are commonly used for weddings and the like. Masseria Santa Teresa was just a few kilometres outside Monopoli and we had an hour or two before we could check in. We decided to have lunch in the old city and pick up some cash. Now that was a challenge. ATM machines are not quite as frequent as they are in Croatia but after walking through the old city and into the new, we eventually found a machine which would give us our money. We headed for the masseria.

It was very beautiful. Our room had a terrace which overlooked the olive grove and stretched to Monopoli and the sea. It was about seven or eight kilometres from Monopoli but the road was not easily traversed. We decided we would eat at the restaurant. While it looked very upmarket the prices were very reasonable. I had steak and John had pork and we both enjoyed our food. As we were about to leave, we struck up a conversation with Günter and Anja from Austria. Sometimes when you meet people there is a comfort zone that you simply fall in to. The discussions lurched from knowledge of each other’s homelands and travel experiences to social commentary and politics. We headed into the garden as the restaurant closed and continued our conversations. It was a wonderful evening.

The following day mother natured determined we were to stay where we were. She gathered storm clouds and skuds of rain, threw bolts of lightning and thunder at us. She dared us to move. We cowered in comfort in our cloistered cocoon. We slept. We read.  We hadn’t realised how tired we were. It was easy to spend the day reading and watching Italian TV. You must be seriously desperate to watch television when you have no idea what it is about. Then again there must be at least a hundred channels selling stuff and there is no dialogue in Rambo – the original. Sly looked so …..sly then!!!!

Sometimes it is best to just stop. Do nothing! Rest! Next the Gargano.

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