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Puglia May 17 - 25

Written on: Monday June 23rd, 2008

A journal entry from: Italy - 2008

We checked out of Tropea on Saturday and into Portoselvaggio on Sunday, spending a night in Policoro, which just happened to be the birthplace of our friend Gianfranco (see the maps for locations). Our first stop on Sunday was at the house of Gianfranco and his mom in San Giorgio Ionico on the outskirts of Tarant. After another of his mom's delicious lunches (we had been graciously hosted by them on a previous visit), we took a walk around town and then headed for our hotel, a trip that would take one hour, tops (if one but knew where to turn off the main road). As in Tropea, we relied on an approximate position stored in the GPS and the hotel's written directions; as in Tropea, we drove right past our destination and spent another hour trying to figure out where we went wrong. But we finally arrived and found the resort to be very new and the staff pleasant, if nonplussed as we muttered about the lack of signs. We were but the latest in a line of travelers to have trouble finding the place.

Our week in Apulia was filled with day trips with Gianfranco (who generously drove us to Lecce, Oria and Matera), an excursion to Gallipoli with Carole (whom we met at the neighboring timeshare), a bit of quality swimming pool time and exploration of the immediate area.

Each of the towns Gianfranco took us to was an exciting discovery, from the Roman ruins and cartapesta in Lecce, to the fortress in Oria and finally to the amazing hill town of Matera. Invariably, our excursions with Gianfranco involved a visit with his mom and, on one occasion, with his brother-in-law and niece and nephew. On our own with Carole, we had a pleasant day walking the old streets of Gallipoli and everywhere, we enjoyed fine regional food.

We saw a great deal more of Apulia than we did of Calabria and we thank Gianfranco for that.