Santa Maria di Leuca

So the last 6 or so days at the HelpX farm in Gorgofreddo were also really relaxing, usually just a couple hours work after lunch and that was that…. Back to relaxing ^^ Even with all the relaxing we did get some things done of course :P

We cleaned up a BIG pile of stone and rocks and took out all the useable dirt/compost to be used in the garden later. Started clearing some fields from all the vegetation to till it and make a passive irrigation system according to permaculture principles (swales I think it’s called ) where on my last the there we seeded with a CBD (medical strain) of cannabis/hemp which was all legal and certified by all involved government bureaucraciesso that was all really fun, hard work but really fun.

making swales

I cooked a couple of meals for us all as well, which, at least most of them were really enjoyed and next to all the relaxing, cooking and farming there were also a couple of day trips.

One to Alberobello, one of many unesco site in Italy, where you can find a lot of trulli houses/buildings (it’s a little house/building with a conical shaped roof) and also a couple visits to Monopoli, chilling on the beach or just grabbing some beers in a bar. So all in all I had a really good time with Pippi and Jose.

But nothing lasts forever and these good farmtimes came to an end when I left for Taranto on Monday 09-05-2016, don’t get me wrong I was still having a good time on the road :P Although it was a pretty exhausting day getting to Taranto since it was about 70km of hills hills hills, so all day was going up…..going down…. And repeat, which really kicked my butt, especially in the beginning of the trip, but all in all filled with beautiful landscapes.

After about 40km or so I was getting a little tired though of all the little hills and decided to take a bigger road which was a much more direct route and cut off about 15km from the total travel distance and was much flatter. Which turned out to be the right choice since when I arrived in Taranto it appeared the camping was another 20km or so out of the city… bleeegghh and I really didn’t feel like wildcamping.

The first night of sleeping in my tent again was a really hard one, I hardly got any sleep at all, woke up A LOT and also really early :/ The whole morning I was still exhausted and feeling very weak, so I tried to get some extra rest on the beach, unfortunately it was packed with extremely annoying flies constantly tickling me, making me go mad :x so …. I went back to the tent and relaxed in front of it, since inside was way to hot.

After a couple of hours and some short naps I was finally feeling much better and went to Taranto for some exploring. To be honest there wasn’t much interesting going on there…. Just a town but with some very nice coastal views which was good for a couple of hours wandering around.

exploring taranto7

Once I was back at the camping there was another cycle tourist which turned out to be Floran from Paris and we hung out for the rest of the evening, sharing some beers and stories.

The next days (Wednesday) the weather was pretty unpleasant and I was still feeling pretty tired, so I decided to stay another day on the camping and later in the day join Floran to go to Taranto and wander around a bit again, it was more fun than wandering around alone and it turned out he was planning to go the same way as I am going so we decided to cycle together for a couple of days, but first we would have to wait out some of that days bad weather, which of course came crashing down right in the middle of our way back to the camping with no shelter in sight :/

On Thursday we had a bit of luck with the weather, since the forecast was pretty bad with rain showers and thunderstorms, however we luckily kept it dry with only a looming grey sky above us.

The route itself was really beautiful, all along the coast and through many villages that were pretty much completely empty (probably due to I not being the right tourist season), so it was kinda like a ghosttown tour.

When we finally arrived at our destination, a camping near Porto Cesareo, which on the website stated should be open, was just like all the other campsites in the area closed, bummer !!!! So after getting some food and water we started looking for a place to sleep for that night and came across an abandoned building with a big piece of land around it near the camping and was perfect for a night of wildcamping, which is much more fun if there is some company :D

breaking up camp at porto cesareo

Friday the 13th :D which I personally always see as a lucky day and a good day it was, the weather had turned for the better and it was really sunny and warm, we had an early start since we had a long day ahead of us, about 80km+ to Santa Maria di Leuca and Floran likes to take his time on the bike ^^

We stayed along the coast pretty much the whole day and even though it made the route 80km+ instead of around 60km it was definitely worth every extra cm. The coastal route was just so beautiful with many sandy bays switching to a rocky coastline and back, again there were a lot of empty little villages but that just added to the relaxing atmosphere that day and suddenly in one of these almost empty villages a woman was waving at us to grab our attention.

Coast on way to Santa Maria di Leuca2

It turned out she was also touring on her bike and had a flat tire, which she did apparently didn’t know how to replace, so we helped her out with that, which was a bit of fidgeting around since it was a type of bike I have never worked with myself, but all in all we got the inner tube replaced, got some sweet cakes as a reward and added another traveler to our little group since she too was headed to Santa Maria di Leuca.

It was really fun being with cycling in a little group and making our camp after the long day was finished, we shared some wine and general travel plans but soon enough called it a night since we were all pretty tired.

Saturday too came with really nice weather, but very tired and heavy legs :P so my plan was mostly to relax, explore the town and enjoy the beach where the Ionian and Adriatic seas meet, the water was too cold still for swimming but at least I got my feet wet in both the seas :P The rest of the day passed relaxingly uneventful except for a short staring contest with a beautiful momma fox and her 2 kids, I just hope they are very careful so close to the road, I would hate it if they turn into roadkill…….. fingers crossed.