Gallipoli - rain, castles and mystical stones
Gallipoli Travel Blog› entry 5 of 8 › view all entries
We left friends and special places in Leuca, but Sunday morning we headed off once more, riding up the Ionian coast. The sky had changed an spotless summery blue to a gray, humid one full of menacing clouds that threatened to burst at any moment. As we pedaled away from Leuca, feathered bolts of lightning flashed across the sky. The wind began to blow wildly, and every second the sky seemed ready to pour rain. Whizzing past San Gregorio we got a few drops, but moved out of the storm’s range again. Right before Torre San Giovanni I was almost sure we were going to get it. But fortune and the biking gods were on our side, and we kept just ahead of the storm until it blew back down to Leuca where it broke and drenched the city. We made it to Gallipoli unscathed.
Gallipoli, rain or shine, is a welcoming town of old fishermen, castles built into the sea, and a fancy new boulevard leading up to it all. I like to take people in the back way, so instead of riding up the crowded boulevard full of cars, motorcycles, strollers, pedestrians, supermarkets and luxury shops, we rode along the water which, after passing 3 kilometers of hopping beaches, gives way to Gallipoli’s still-active port, where fishermen pull up their boats, unload the day’s catch onto three-wheeled Ape’s and take them to the open market right across the street at the bridge entrance to the old city.
The travelers kept exclaiming that every place I'd arranged for us to stay was even more impressive than the last. Sunday evening we slept in another special and unusual place. Ever since leaving Lecce the week before, we had been noticing these strange, beehive-shaped stone huts dotting the landscape. Nobody knew how long they’d been there- they are still rebuilt today, but rumor has it the first ones were erected along with the prehistoric menihr and dolmen by the Messapian tribes who were contemporaries with the ancient Greeks and the Etruscans! These mortarless stone houses are found all over the countryside; many are used by farmers to store agricultural implements; and others are impeccably refurbished- with doors, windows, plumbing and electricity- for modern living. Amidst the olive orchards just outside Gallipoli, not far from a great restaurant, is a collection of three of these small huts with a lattice shade between them.
These unusual structures are called pajare around Leuca, furneddrihe around Gallipoli, lamie near Ostuni and trulli near Alberobello.
Other than exploring our new surrounding, we had a great barbeque and drank wine with the owner’s son, the winemaker himself, and chatted late into the night.