Saturday, October 06, 2007

Puglia: Gargano National Park

The Gargano peninsula in Puglia is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen (I say one of because I have also visited La Costa Amalfitana!). How beautiful is it? You'll soon see.

Two of the main towns are Vieste and Peschici. Vieste is home to lots of campgrounds, resorts and tourist hotels, and its main beach stretches for miles and miles.

Peschici is more given to small coves with little stretches of beach. We usually opt for the town with more life, but went with Peschici because we wanted to relax.

I am going to show you all the places we relaxed in Peschici, and in the Gargano National Park.

Relaxation spot No. 1.

The little terrace in our room at the Locanda della Castellana in Peschici. Here's a shot of the view from the terrace.

The Locanda was a perfect spot to unwind, after a whirlwind tour of San Marco dei Cavoti, Il Salento and Trani. With a small pool and a patio that looked out at the sea in the distance, guests could spend hours relaxing with no particular place to go, and no important museum to visit. I spent my time reading. I was reading the best-selling book "Eat, Pray, Love," at the suggestion of my sister Denise. (Good suggestion, 003! Now if only I could find a way to travel for a whole year.....)

But I digress. The family that ran the small resort frequently sat around a table playing cards -- if you needed something, they would get it, but hey, we are ALL here to relax, they seemed to be saying.

Relaxing, reading, swimming, taking notes for the blog (!). That pretty much describes my days in Peschici. Here's Relaxation spot No. 2. A tiny postage-stamp size stretch of beach in Peschici that you can only reach by walking through a rock-strewn path forged through a cliff. And of course, you arrive, and there's a bar! Because really, why go somewhere if you can't order un caffe? (O, va bene, we ordered una birra, but why quibble?!)

I publish this photo not because I think I look good (is that really what my face looks like?! Please don't click on the photo to enlarge!) but to show you the piece of paradise I discovered. Hey, maybe some day they will have an opening at that bar, and I can work there.

Here's a few more shots of the beach (with the town of Peschici perched on a cliff in the background), and the little path we took to reach what I will call Bar Paradiso.

The shot above shows the path through the rocks. If you click on the photo, you may be able to read the sign scrawled in green marker on the rocks: USCITA (which means exit). On the right, you can see others walking toward the little beach.

In the four days we spent in Peschici, we visited little beaches, jumped the waves, heard a jazz concert (our trip coincided with the annual Jazz Peschici festival), drank Negroamaro and Primitivo, and I, Ciambellina, concluded that just perhaps I had squeezed a little too much into this trip. San Marco. A quick stop in the birthplace of Padre Pio. Matera. Ruffano, Lecce and the rest of Salento. Trani. Il Gargano.

Whoa that's a lot. But hey, vacation only comes once a year, if at all.

What's next? Oh lots more to come, cari lettori. Take a sneak peek!

Grazie per averci seguito! Please come back!


Janet Sims said...

Cara Ciambellina, I came across your blog earlier this year (2009) while planning a trip to Puglia. It became my goal to visit "Bar Paradiso" in Peschici and I thought you'd be interested in our adventure. After reaching Peschici by bus from Vieste on a very hot day in May, we hiked down to the beach and began walking toward the far end. When we got closer, we could see some fencing and tape across the area where we had hoped to go. There were three men standing there and they made it clear no one was to go any farther. There was a coast guard boat offshore. We were very disappointed, but we walked back to the other end of the beach and settled down in a bar to have lunch. Pretty soon we heard "KA-BOOM," the sound of a huge explosion. Everyone jumped up and looked toward "Bar Paradiso," where we could see smoke rising. We're guessing perhaps there had been some rockfall and they were blasting to clear it. Later in the day there were a couple more smaller explosions. A little adventure; not the one we were hoping for, however! We enjoy your blog. Thank you. Janet Sims, Montrose, Colorado.

Ciambellina said...

I just discovered this message now (ec 2009), Janet! Thank you so much for commenting.

I'm sorry you weren't able to visit the bar because it truly was amazing -- but so was everything around it! You picked a great place to vacation, as you know.

Please keep visiting my blog -- I hope one day to return to Puglia. Thanks again for sharing your story.