Stev smilin' in Alberobello!
Wednesday we spent skirting rain showers while riding between the beautiful hilltowns of the Valle dâ€™Itria. From Cisternino
to Alberobello and back home to Cisternino again. We returned to the same restaurant for dinner again that night.
Thursday, our day of departure, dawned wet, but sunny. Annie realized that morning that her train left 2 hours earlier than expected, so, after a mad dash to recharge my phone, beg that taxista (who was an hourâ€™s drive away and therefore unavailable) for help, he sent his wife to our trulli apartment to pick her up and take her- on time! â€“ to the station. Whew!
The rest of us hopped on our bikes and continued.
Making caciocavallo- look at this guy's cheesemaking muscles!
First stop was the cheesemaker in Martina Franca. Il Poggio, right outside the city walls makes some incredible cheeses, and they let us taste almost every one of them. We watched the boys braiding fresh mozzarella, molding caciocavallo, and boiling ricotta. We also got to taste the fermented ricotta forte, caciaricotta and learned the different flavors that cheese acquires with ageing.
Then continued on to Ceglie Messapiche, where while the sky was still drizzling rain, we got a private tour of one of the many limestone caves in the area. We were greeted by stalactites, stalagmites, and other very interesting limestone formations (named for the objects they resemble from â€ścandlesâ€ť to â€śbaconâ€ť).
Our final stretch of riding took us to Angelaâ€™s masseria in Ceglie. Angela and her cycling club CicloAmici, had supplied us with the excellent bikes weâ€™d ridden throughout Puglia, so it was quite fitting to finish our trip right at her very home.
The limestone caves in Ceglie.
8 months pregnant, she was nonetheless preparing a special farewell dinner for us. Sheâ€™d called it a â€ślittleâ€ť dinner, but it turned out to be her very own homemade mozzarella and tomatoes, local breads & salamis, prosciutto wrapped figs, a wonderful pasta of fresh zucchini, bĂ©chamel, potato and carrot stuffed-bigne. Her â€ślittleâ€ť dinner was an incredible send off! Her husband kindly drove us to the train station- and our great band of travelers feeling so grateful, sad to leave the wonderful friends and places weâ€™d found, but excited for the next adventure, climbed aboard the night train that took us north, out of Puglia, off to our various destinations and off to new adventures.