Acquaviva delle Fonti to Conversano (80 kms)
Great breakfast in the hotel at Acquaviva delle Fonti, and
left in good time for us (9:30am) - well we are on holiday!
Had no problem with directions today. We headed for
Sammichele di Bari and on to Putignano on lovely quiet roads. After a
short break at Putignano where we watched some workmen fitting new doors
to a house (strange how we seem to get into the swing of doing nothing
rather too easily). Once the doors were fitted, we pressed on for
Alberobello. We found the 'Zona delle Trulli' easily enough.
It was very hot by now so we parked up the tandem and went for a tour
around these strange structures. They're certainly different, and
look quite impressive. Must be murder to wallpaper inside!
Even at this time of year, we were surprised to see how many visitors
there were. It must be bedlam in the height of summer.
When we were well and truly 'trullied out', we sat outside
a cafe and had panninis and lemon soda. While there we were
accosted by an American lady (slightly inebriated I think!) who was
convinced I was a policeman! While I was very flattered to be
mistaken for an Italian (shows how drunk she was ;-) I'm still baffled as
to how she equated lycra cycling shorts and a Eurobike jersey to the
uniform of the Italian police. Funny what drink can do. While
sitting at the cafe, we were amazed to see the couple we'd chatted
to at Monte Sant'Angelo a few days before. After a quick chat, we
braced ourselves to move out from the shade of the umbrella and into the
full sun. It was extremely hot now, and the tandem saddle was so hot
as to be uncomfortable at first! Plenty of interest in the tandem
again, from some German tourists (one of whom had a tandem back home) who
wished us well.
We left Alberobello and headed off for Noci and back to
Putignano, and saw lots of trulli scattered around the countryside.
We stopped at a bar in Putignano, where we met a wonderful old chap called
Joe Fabriano (I think that was his surname). His eyes lit up when he
heard us speaking English. He was the only one who spoke any
English, and was in his element translating to the others in the bar.
We really had a great time in there, covering all sorts of topics from
cycling to football, George Bush to the Mafia! They were really a
great bunch in there. Apparently, Joe had lived in Canada and from
what we could gather now lived in rooms in a church nearby (or something
to do with a church). I have to say that I was sorry to leave.
I love it when this sort of thing happens on these trips. If anyone
reading this knows Joe, then please give him our regards.
We weren't really sure where to head for today, and it was
the bar owner who suggested Conversano, and what a good choice it was.
It was on the fast run in to Conversano that disaster almost struck.
We were fairly shifting on a gradual descent, when we hit a pothole (well
it was a bridge expansion joint on the road actually). One of the
rear panniers jumped off and we ended up dragging it along for quite some
way before the elastic strap holding it finally snapped. Luckily,
there was no damage to the tandem (thoughts of it going into the rear
wheel made me feel quite sick!). After some quick running repairs,
we secured it and were on our way again. A lucky escape.
The old part of Conversano is very nice and we booked in
to the Corte Atta Villa. A very impressive looking old building.
We asked for a standard room, but when we got to the room, realised they'd
given us a suite! Anyhow, no harm done as they let us have it for 95
euros. We had a great meal out (there was a fiesta of some kind on
in the town that night). It was extravagantly expensive (for us) so
I'm not putting the cost here in case my wife reads this, but the food and
wine was absolutely superb.