When I am planning a trip it tends to start off as a small idea. I look at my list of places (which is very long) and pick one to focus on. This small seed tends to grow and grow until I find myself planning a 12 hour drive from Venice to #Puglia! What was I thinking?
In any case off we set from our charming northern Italian Village of Conegliano for what we knew would be a long road to Puglia.
If you’ve ever studied the map you will notice Italy is the shape of a women’s high heel. A beautifully crafted Jimmy Choo or Gucci pump and nestled in the tip off the heel is a region called PUGLIA.
Known for its authentic Italian villages and sweeping views over the Adriatic the steep and rugged cliff faces and mass of open landscapes are what attracted me to tick this destination off the list this summer.
Lucky for me my partner is #European so I voted him primary driver. Any objection by him was quickly ignored. Our first obstacle was the toll roads. Understanding the Italian road system was harder than we thought. No idea and little pre - planning did not help our cause. 10 Mins after entering the first toll gate we found ourselves lost and re-entering a different gate to only receive a fine of 69EUR. The trip hadn’t started well.
After a brief argument over whose fault it was and a few unpleasant words directed at the Italian road authorities we continued to our first stop - #Ravenna. I had heard about this town and it seemed to be a good place to have our first break. Our paranoid fears about the parking rules lead us to a free parking space “close to city center” which in fact was quite a walk to in the hot summer sun and probably not the best choice. We finally found our way and found the #beautiful square in the historic center were we would find a money exchange and something to eat.
Time for a rest .................................
It seems the local bank was easy to find what wasn’t easy was getting to the front of the line. What you will notice about Italians is they like to enjoy a conversation. They seem to type at the speed of a turtle and nobody seems to be in a rush. EVER! A lack of urgency can be felt all over Italy and customer service is based on “when I feel like it” rather than let’s get this line moving. Over 45 mins later we finally reached the teller and he was lovely. Had been to Australia before so we had a chat and before I knew it we were the ones holding up the line just like the ones before us.
A quick look around, a kebab and chips (very #Italian) and a few cans of beer for the road and we were off again. Once on the motorway it was the easiest cross country drive I’ve ever encountered. Over 6 hours of straight and boring motorway with no views we couldn’t wait to exit and venture back into the charming narrow streets of the country side. We finally reached the exit point of #Bari, the first major town or Puglia. But our trip wasn’t over and we headed for our first destination Matera.
The roads less travelled.......................
This part was my favorite, overlooking the vast landscapes of fields and small dotted villages we seemed to be the only ones on these deserted roads. The way seemed to get lonelier and we looked at each other in disbelief. Are we lost? Will we be the latest victims of a tourist crime story? (I watch a lot of crime documentaries )
Anyway we continued though a little wary, tired and hungry until finally as we drove up the last steep and windy hill we saw something appear before us that I will never forget in my lifetime. MATERA! The joy on our faces was clear. We had conquered Italy and driven its stretches. We had battled the toll roads, the boredom and the tiredness. Now the next leg of our #journey begins.
See Puglia blog part 2.
LIVING OUR BEST LIFE IN PUGLIA.
By Coast Girl Traveller
Hotel: Il Belvedere Matera
book via www.inspiremeworldtravel.com