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Puglia never ceases to amaze you

During our drive from Matera to Gallipoli in Puglia, you will notice that the landscape is slowly changing. The hills disappear, the landscape becomes flat, you see many (unfortunately dead) olive trees and the sea is almost always in sight. The heel of the boot, we already wanted to go there in 2017, but we couldn't reserve a campsite in high season. Six years later we are there in the preseason.


After a short drive we end up at a friendly campsite near Gallipoli, namely agricamping Torre Sabea. Only the road separates the campsite from the sea and the rotten beach. We immediately feel at home at this campsite. Spontaneous and friendly welcome, lovely hot showers for which you don't have to pay extra, a large place and Misty is also welcome. Less than 200 metres away is a large supermarket, where we can buy delicious fresh rolls every day. Which you can also order at the campsite a day in advance. From the beach you have views of the town of Gallipoli with its light limestone houses.

The town of Gallipoli is 5 minutes by bike from here and the old town is on a peninsula connected by a bridge. Fishing is still very active here and we experience that ourselves. When we cycle through the old town on a Sunday it was very busy, so we went by car again on Monday. If we park the car at 17:00 it is very busy in the harbour. The fishing boats have just arrived and people can buy the fresh fish directly from the boat. What a cosiness, tough fishermen who are just ashore, everyone is calling something mixed up - which we don't understand. We recognise the shrimps and squid, but the other fish don't. Before we know it, we are half an hour further, before continuing to the town itself.

The town itself was very quiet on Mondays. The castle was closed, many shops were closed, but the churches were not. In the cathedral of the town - every city of any prestige has this one - we wandered around again. Even ‘behind the scenes’, either in the parish and behind the altar. Because it is quiet we can wander through the alleys with beautiful vistas to the sea. You can see the sunset beautifully from the very tip of the peninsula.

Olive trees

Olive trees are characteristic of Puglia. It is one of the largest suppliers in Europe, along with Spain. However, a drama has taken place here for the entrepreneurs. The trees are dying. Growers must powerlessly watch their beautiful olive groves languish. This has been going on for several years and it was the first discovered near Gallipoli.

This is due to the bacterium Xylella, a one labelled by the European Commission as one of the most dangerous plant bacteria in the world. Once a tree has this bacterium, the tree dies of thirst from the inside. The bacterium is spread by an indigenous foam fly that sucks a little liquid out of the tree and in this way takes it to other trees. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this bacterium yet.

The landscape therefore looks "pourous" because of the many dead trees. The interior is arid, dry, half trees and dead branches. Yet you can also see a new planting here. Growers who don't stop there and plant young olive trees again in the hope that they can mature and produce delicious olives again. I hope so for them, because this is terrible for them.

Santa Maria di Leuca

The southernmost tip of the boot heel. The road to it is very good. In any case, the roads here are better than around Naples, Calabria and Sicily. And the Italians also drive quieter and neater. We can turn on another flashing light on the car, it's useful again 😉.

At this southernmost point is a very large lighthouse, which unfortunately we cannot climb. Of course there is also a church. How could it be otherwise. From the church you can look down beautifully at the harbour, which is now quiet and deserted. In good weather you even seem to be able to see Albania from this point on.

We drive down to the harbour so we can also photograph the church from bottom to top. While walking we see a ‘nautic’ shop – but more of an ‘all or nothing shop’ as we call it. And yes, they have carabiner hooks. The Italian male helps Rudolf figure out, and also with the rope. We need both, because Misty doesn't know her own strength and so pulled off the current hooks of the current rope. The male is right that it is Misty for ‘cavallo’ (horse). By the way, dog is ‘cane’ in Italian, but we are used to them jokingly asking if it is a cavallo.

While I enjoy the view outside, it takes a while for Rudolf to come out again. What turns out? The man attached the rope to the carbines with solid fishing knots. They really don't come loose anymore. Great this all or not store, also featured in the next vlog.

If we drive a lot further we really get to the southernmost point. You can walk on the rocks here, at the risk of your own life. I can't get all the way to the end, because I also see a cave where you can enter. Normally I never do this, Rudolf says, but now I'm starting it anyway. I don't quite succeed, but the climb was fun enough. To see later that you could enter much easier from the other side. I do that again, although I notice that my thigh muscles are contradicting something. I can eventually take a very nice picture of the sea flowing into the cave and of Rudolf and Misty from the bottom up. Apart from that, I enjoyed doing it.


This is just the first part of Puglia. We also went to Otranto and Lecce and bought new pet food from someone who only speaks Italian. So enough for a blog for next week. First give the thigh muscles some rest, before I do crazy things again.

Ciao Tutti, From still Gallipoli


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