Locorotondo and Martina Franca

Locorotondo and Martina Franca

Our farm stay is about 8 km out of the tiny hilltop town of Locorotondo. Armed with directions to the free parking, we have headed up there for a part of every day. There really is nothing like wandering, “lost” in the tiny car-free (except for the occasional local tiny car) lanes and thinking about people having wandered these same lanes for centuries.

Some lead to dead ends and stairways to homes and others lead you around in circles until you end up where you started out. It is so charming and reminds us a lot of our stay in Seville, Spain. Except there aren’t armies of joints of smoked Jamon hanging from every ceiling. Here is a good shot of Locorotondo that I got (according to Don, by putting him in a life-threatening situation with the car) from the road:

Locorotondo, Puglia, Italy

Martina Franca was our destination the following day and the highlight of our day was actually lunch. The hilltop town is very cute, don’t get me wrong, but our conversation with the Italian mother and daughter at the next table really made our day. But first – here’s the church:

We got chatting because Don and I thought it was hilarious that there were faux fur throws on all the chairs already! It was hot! So I made Don pose for this pic to show you:

The ladies were laughing along with us, but then the Mama indicated her scarf/shawl and said in Italian, “it’s always cold in Martina Franca”, which her daughter translated for us. I wanted to say in Italian that it was hot, but I always get “caldo” and “fredo” mixed up, so it takes to long to think it through to actually say it. So the daughter translated for me that for us, it seemed very warm.

Of course the wanted to know where we were from – “ahhhh . . . Canada”. Canadians are quite popular here, I think. So our waitress came by at the same time and told them I understood some Italian (maybe because I knew the difference between “lasagna classics o lasagna vegeteriana”, so I recited my few Italian words: perfavore (please), Grazie (thank you), prego (you’re welcome), mi dispiace (sorry!) and dove il bagno (where is the bathroom?). To which they all clapped and said that was everything I needed to know.

There are the ladies behind us, before we met them

Here is a photo from the cover of the menu – I couldn’t resist . . .but now that I look at it a little closer, I am thinking it might be questionable – probably a reference to some movie but . . . that’s the papa, right?

I had the orecchiette – a local pasta that looks like little ears

And while we were sitting having our lovely lunch and a bottle of wine, this tour passed in front of us. Many longing glances were sent our way (mostly by the men). What a wonderful reaffirmation of travelling on our own . . . for as long as we can.

But there is a reason everyone is here – even in this shoulder season – and that is because these hill top towns are just so gorgeous.

Don had seen a little winery/picnic thing that he wanted to check out in Locorotondo, so later on in the afternoon we headed there. The wine was the first bottle we have tasted that was not good, but the experience was pretty sweet.

I remember hearing that Ostuni was a popular town to visit in the area (maybe from Rick Steves), so we headed there today. It’s bigger and more popular and Don almost killed us by going the wrong way down a one way lane, so it’s not really one of my favourites. But here are a few pics:

We have one more full day here until we move to the coastal town of Otranto, and we have booked a hands-on (hopefully) tour of a local fresh mozzarella making dairy farm. This should be one for the books, so stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog – it should be interesting!

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