Cycling in Puglia Oct 2022

Cycling in Puglia, Italy. Oct 2022

28th Sept Wed

Headed down to London on the motorbike to attend 60th wedding anniversary drinks in Fulham. Met up with all sorts of friends from London past, and skiing friends. Stayed with the Shannon’s.

29th Sept Thurs

Off down to Sandbanks to stay with Fanny and Robert. Again ” long time  no see”. Wonderful catch up….

30th Sept Fri

Over to Eastleigh to meet up with Mr Tuktuk. I need spares in the clutch department for my tuktuk. Amazingly we found 2 gaskets that we need. Hope that they survive my trip. One a bit wide for keeping flat in my ipad!!! On to Sam for the night.

1st Oct Sat

Helped Sam in his garden and cooked for them all as Emma away for the weekend. Then it was over to Gatwick. Weather has been so so. Rain threatened every day but have got away with half an hour of wet arriving at Sam just before some wild wet and windy weather. Today I am still in luck and only get a few drops.  My case on the back is not waterproof in any way and has to be wrapped in plastic dustbin bags if there is a real threat !!! My clothing is waterproof but old boots are not. Have bought food bags to put my feet in so that they remain dry while boots leak.!

My cheap Premier Inn…chosen for its free over night parking,..and closeness to Gatwick, has a pub next door where I eat. It serves food till 10pm. It is hugely busy at 7.45pm. I wait for a table watching the multicultural staff rushing around serving multicultural tables. Wonderful! They are well organized and efficient,  serving 3 rooms of tables with English/Indian food.  Puts anything in North Norfolk to shame.

2nd Oct Sun

Awake by 5.10am. Think it’s not raining but it is when I get outside. Load bag on bike and pray rain does not get worse. Manage to not get roads right to Gatwick airport which as crow flies was about a mile away! Motorcycle in circles in the dark till I get there. Slightly late but park bike and rush in . The rain did stop so case not too wet. My jeans are but they will dry.  Check in and then discover plane delayed 3/4 hour!! Have a slow cup of tea! Staff problems with plane. But we head off and all goes well. Arrive in Bari and met by Exodus.  Bus off to Matera. Amazing hotel in rocks/caves. Matera on a hillside with amazing views across a valley. Meet everyone and eat out in town. We are 16.

Oct 3rd Mon

My mother’s  birthday…We get acquainted with our bicycles. I have gone for an ebike. 5 of us on ebikes. We are a good mixed bunch. 11 ladies, some with their partners . The day is a challenge with a headwind and a rough road that undulates all the time. Very glad to have the ebike. No shame at all. We do 70 kms ( 43 miles) . Long day and it gets cold. We do not arrive till 5.30pm or so. We are now nearer the coast at Alberobello, a town with Trulli houses. Very picturesque. We stay in one. I fact we are all quartered in various houses up the street. I am sharing with Maureen … a Jamaican lady who lives in Harrow.  We all eat in an alimentari which our guide has organised into a restaurant  for the night.  We share food at a long thin table. Works very well. 70kms

Oct 4th Tues

Not such an arduous day. Cold wind. Wore 2 layers plus rain jacket. But nice day and end up at a Masseria which  means fortified farmhouse.  Very much done up and is an agritourisimo. Huge room  where we eat . Unclear as to its original purpose. Found an old olive oil press down some steps wrong side of a locked gate! Apparently for making lamp oil….not eating/cooking oil.

We are all getting to know each other better. 60kms

Saw this scooter at an olive press factory. I  had a very similar one as my very first scooter. Mine was model F , 1954 ( I got given it when I was 16 which was not 1954!!). I think this is an earlier model ..maybe B or C, very early 1950’s.

Oct 5th Wed

Retrace steps back to Ostuni. It meant a flat bit and then uphill to town and out the other side. Easy with my ebike. We are all settling in to the group. One couple are actually a mother and son. Another are a sister and brother. That leaves 2 genuine couples.  Todd and Dnita from Canada and Angela and Martin from Jersey. One odd man….Bryan makes up the 5 men. 11 ladies.

Route is okay. Pretty in parts but others main road where we have to be single file.

We end up in another Masseria. We have an olive oil tasting. I cough over the bitterness!! We then proceed to eat supper at the same table. Many courses ..too much for me.

Again about 65kms

An old olive press down the bottom of the steps.

Oct 6th Thurs

Another pretty easy day in terms of hills. Ebike great but not using much battery lately. Today we head to Gallipoli down the coast. Countryside is varied, sometimes quite dull but then more interesting. There are second homes. Its very dry looking and lots of olive trees. We do stop at a beach and get the chance to swim. Several of us do …all girls.. Sea is cool but okay and warmer than the two swimming pools we have had at 2 hotels. About the same as home perhaps in June. I swim!!

We have just swum…well some of us.!

On we go to Gallipoli. The old town is on an island. We stay in an hotel on the mainland and walk to the old town. Touristy old streets with baroque churches . All sorts of people have invaded this part of Italy, right down on the heel of Italy. We eat pizza. Hopelessly disorganized service but we all have a good time.



Oct 7th Fri

Breakfast on the roof terrace where a fresh wind blows. As consequence I dress for cold. It actually is a good day with plenty of blue sky and warmer wind. We cross over the heel to the other side and finish in Otranto.  On the way we swim in a lovely cove via steps down and launching ones self off spiky rocks. Beautiful clear water ..turquoise  colour. I have no towel …along with others…so changing is interesting!! Most females swim, most males do not!!

Didnt quite swim here but it was a similar cove. Too busy swimming to get a photo!

On to Otranto. Headwind and hills. Four of us press on with our ebikes making good use of them. I suppose the ordinary cycles took another 3/4 to an hour more. They did not like the wind.

We have to go out to eat. We head out to the old town and have a reasonable meal. I walk back with Angela and Martin. The old town is very fortified and we walk across a bridge over the huge old moat.

We have seen a great many dead olive trees to day. They have all been infected by a sap sucking insect  carryng a deadly bacteria which then stops the tree taking up water.

” The pathogen is spread by sap-sucking insects like the spittlebug. Because there’s no cure, Saponari says farmers must focus on prevention, which includes keeping spittlebugs away from trees. One method involves weeding and tilling olive groves to kill insect larvae. Scientists have also suggested trying insect-repelling sprays.”

Spittlebugs are also known as frog hoppers or “cuckoo spit”. It’s a bit like mosquitoes  carrying malaria. The countryside looks awful. It began about 10 years ago and only now are they starting to clear the land in places. We did another 70kms.

Oct 8th Sat

Our last cycling day. I go for a quick walk in the old town before leaving.  Wanted to take photos of the interior of the cathedral which I do. Only 50kms today and mostly flat. We get on well. There is another chance to swim but this time I do not. We arrive in Lecce in time…ie by 3.30pm…to walk around before we meet to eat in the evening.  Today we had great weather, southerly wind so warmer. Not so cold in the evening. Paolo had booked a fish restaurant. We were all very jolly. More red Primitivo wine!! Quick visit to the Irish bar too. Tourism has only really been going here for 20 years or so…Lecce old town has been completely done up and where there were no restaurants there are now many. It is thriving once again.  I think the same can be said of all the old city centres we have seen.

The group are….Angela and Martin, Todd and Dnita ( Canadian) Brian, Rebecca, Mark, Nick , Patricia, Nina, April, Jose, Penny, Gail, Anna,and my room share Maureen a Jamaican.

Oct 9th Sun

Bus comes after breakfast and we drive to Bari Airport through a terrible landscape of the dead olive trees. The worst area is between Lecce and Brindisi. All goes according to plan. Plane on time and I motorbike home from Gatwick. Weather is good!!  Does make life easier with no rain!

The ebike was good. Glad I used one.


Our route.