There is no doubt about it – the realisation that my Wanderings were soon to come to an end, put a damper on my spirits. So much so that I could not raise the enthusiasm to write my last blogs while still in Italy. So here I am, almost a week later, sitting in my study in Titirangi, Auckland, New Zealand determined to tidy things up, and write my final blog.
Italian is such a poetic language and it’s words seem to have a rhythm quite unlike the rest of Europe. Consider the place-names we’ve encountered over the past day or so: “Masera Rutolo” the name of the farmlet we stayed at; “Alberobello” – the town with the “Trulli” (more of them later), then on to “Bari” . Maybe it’s because so many Italian words seem to end with a vowel, seeming to invite the rolling-on of more lilting words in a cascade of sound that defies separation into individual words. But for the Italians, the expressive language is not enough! No, the words need emphasis and expression through the flamboyant use of hands, arms and indeed the whole body! Watching Italians in conversation is indeed quite a show.
But I digress. Our last restful day at the farmlet was rudely disturbed in the late afternoon by the arrival of a rain storm, accompanied by most unseasonal gale-force wind. We saw it coming, but even so, the wind caught us by surprise and Rob and his team had quite a wrestle to prevent the awning from being wrenched out of the side of the van.
Once that was under control they took the opportunity to give the vans a wash. As you can surmise, the temperature stayed warm, although the effect of being soaked and in a strong wind did cool the team down to an uncomfortable level. In the evening the storm had cleared, and R and R went to the restaurant for a meal. So overpowered by the quantity of food that Rob had to come and get me to help them finish it off. Needless to say, I was happy to help out.
The next day dawned bright and clear once more, and guided by the trusty GPS we meandered through some bumpy lanes,
past lush vineyards
and on to the main road towards Bari. But thanks to the efforts of our researcher, we went via Alberobello, where we were to find the mysterious Trulli. We arrived in the town just in time to encounter the congregation streaming from the town’s cathedral – we were like a pair of cumbersome salmon valiantly struggling to swim upstream against the prevailing traffic.
But our drivers are getting hardened to this sort of situation and so took it more-or-less in their stride, until we reached a parking spot in the lee of of someone’s garden wall. A trullo had first appeared in isolation in a field, as we drove by. We were fascinated and stopped to take pictures.
But our researcher had assured us that there was a whole neighbourhood of Trulli, in the town we were approaching. And she was right. A single dwelling is a Trullo. More than one are Trulli. And we came across a hillside full of them!
All in current use, although reportedly several hundreds of years old. I quote:
“The older dwellings date back in the 13th century although the majority of them are only 200 or 300 years old.”
“According to another theory, the construction style of Trulli is based on the standards of Syrian and Middle East residences; while the first Trulli were built in Apulia as houses or tombs of monks who settled there from the East. Later, the locals adopted the construction method, and adapted these structures to their daily needs. Another similar view claims that Trulli firstly built by soldiers returning to Apulia from the Holy Land Crusades.”
We spent an hour or two wandering around this intriguing township
before driving on to Bari. We had no set spot for the night, so we ended up in a very large and well-lit car-park next to a super-store for Home Products. Very safe.
We did a quick trial run to the railway station before settling down for the night.
The next day was to be my last day with the family. As far as we could tell, this town had no special ‘must-see- features and so we elected to have a quiet day. Bari is quite a major port – but past experience had taught us that it would be futile trying to find a park for two motor-homes anywhere near the water front, so we drove to the super market instead and did some food shopping. We stayed in the car park for lunch – parked in the shade of the arches of a railway bridge. While the ‘littlies’ had a rest, Rob and I ventured off in the smaller van to look for a Hardware store and a bike shop we had seen on our way in. You could say we are slow learners: it was not until we had fruitlessly driven around for a while that it dawned on us: this was Italy! Siesta time! Nothing would be open until 4.30pm! The sight of a shuttered shopping area in midday is somehow quite depressing. All shops have steel pull-down shutters over their shop fronts – and the shutters are all liberally defaced with graffiti. Rubbish blows loosely along the gutters and not a sole is to be seen.The impression is one of a deserted ghost-town. Oddly enough as we drove past this area later in the evening, all the shops were open, lights were blazing, people were everywhere and the place was quite transformed. But in the harsh light of the noonday sun it had looked very different.
For our last dinner together we went into a Pizzeria next to the supermarket and had a good feast on Pizzas. Two middle-aged couples were intrigued by the sight of so many kids (shades of China) and plucked up courage to ask (by dint of many unintelligible words and much hand-waving) the usual questions: are they all yours? where are you from? etc. They were most friendly.Tags: Digs, Family, Food, Observations, Travel, Weather, Tag Index