Saturday, November 14, 2009

Alberobello, Puglia, Italy - Short Break Report

Looking up to our cosy little studio supplied by Trullimania

Church San Giorgio in Locorotondo

View from the Belvedere, Locorotondo

One of the many pretty little streets of Alberobello

The church on the top of the hill of Alberobello built with money from American migrants

A view of one of the most concentrated areas of Trulli in Alberobello

Thanks to Ryan Air supplying a flight now from Malta to Bari, we were able to go for a lovely short break to visit the beautiful region of Puglia. This area lies just at the top of the heel of Italy - a region less known on the tourist map to more famous Tuscany and Abruzzo regions of Italy.
I was not surprised at the beauty of the area (having read up in great detail about it previously), but actually seeing it with one's own eye is, of course, a very different experience.
We arrived quite late in the evening and had to navigate our way down from Bari to Alberobello at night. We had some good directions given to us by our Trulli landlord, Flavio, but navigating badly lit and not very well signposted Italian roads at night made us take a few wrong turns making our 1 hour journey come close to 2 hours!
We were greeted very warmly by Flavio, Trulli renovator and owner of Trullimania. Greeting us with a lovely bottle of local red wine and loaded with information booklets and a Trullo souvenier - we could not have asked for more. The studio was lovely and warm (it was surprisingly very cold on our arrival) with its modern underfloor heating. It is compact but not at all cramped with a lovely large bathroom fitted with top quality fittings and lovely large shower. There was also a very useful little kitchenette area with fridge and 2 cooking rings. Very large comfy double bed and TV with all the local Italian stations on it. Flavio has more studios and larger 2/3 bedroomed Trulli aswell for families or friends travelling together.
Our accommodation was right at the heart of Alberobello with parking close by. The perfect setting and location to explore the town itself and the neighbouring towns and villages.
The nearby towns basically all have the old historic centre up on a hill with the modern parts of the town on the surrounds. The order of the day was parking where you can and just walking and exploring the fascinating windy narrow streets and admiring the architecture and views.
For the ramblers/walkers there are endless country lanes to explore with miles and miles of fields around.
Ofcourse there is then the food. Probably one of the most important items on OUR agenda! The food is just heaven with delicious local sheep cheese, hams, salamis and local speciality which is the collar of pork. The anti pasti are also delicious and for me the best part of the meal.
The only thing I would advise is to be careful about some of the local wine served in restaurants (the one that comes out of a large plastic bottle!) - it is a bit rough on the old stomach!!
Basically, a great place to visit though I don't think I would want to be there in the height of the tourist season - far too many people.
Places to visit in the immediate vicinity:
Polignano a Mare
Martina Franca (though not as clean and nice as other places)
and more........


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Stormy Malta the past few days..............but lovely weather now


The weather put on a show last night, with thunder and heavy rain in many parts of Malta. This picture was taken by Frederick Muscat in Mgarr Malta at around 8.50 p.m.

Bluefin Tuna in the Med Endangered


The Maltese government should cease backing further futile imposition of unenforceable restrictions on the tuna industry and fully support Monaco and the USA in their proposal to list the Bluefin tuna as an endangered species, Din l-Art Helwa said.
The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) meets this week is meeting in Recife, Brazil, to decide the future of the bluefin tuna.
ICCAT scientists have stated that industrial fishing has drastically reduced breeding stocks in the Mediterranean and east Atlantic and have warned that the population is nearing the point at which it might never fully recover.
The tragedy can only be averted is by imposing a total ban on tuna fishing for a few years in order to allow breeding stocks to build up again to sustainable quantities.
The environmental non-governmental organisation said Monaco proposed protecting bluefin by using another mechanism - listing the species under the CITES convention, and the EU this year came close to supporting that move.
However, the Mediterranean fishing nations Spain, Italy, France, Cyprus, Greece and Malta said in September they would not allow the 27-member EU to give its combined backing to Monaco.
The USA, on the other hand, announced its support for a CITES listing if ICCAT failed to pass strong conservation measures during the Brazil meeting.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Forward Loop in 4 Steps

This is the best bit of instructional video I have ever seen.
Thanks Continent 7 - Chris Pressler - and also Puffy as that's where I saw it originally.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Beautiful Puglia!

One of the many narrow streets of Alberobello. It is probably the cleanest town I have ever visited. It almost feels like something out of a film set.

Alberobello is a World Heritage site containing thousands of these cone topped Trulli which are lived in by the locals. Some have been turned into chic bed and breakfasts.

The ''must have'' for the average local. The real Italian 3 wheeler - usually a Piaggio.

The classic Fiat Cinque Cento (though the colour is definitely not one of the original colours). When I was young we had a red one and the whole family (5 in all) were carted around in it all over the island.

The new version of the Fiat Cinque Cento. This was our hired car..........and diesel too! VERY economical - we only used Euro15 of diesel in 4 days (though we weren't driving all day long and local towns were quite close by)!!

....................more photos to come.

Rolex Middle Sea Race 2009

This an excellent bit of MSR footage on board Seawolf of Southampton of Atlantic Charters.


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