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Wojciech's Travel log

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You can lose everything, but nobody will take away what you saw and what you experienced...

Log entries 1 - 10 of 2358 Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Sep 17, 2020 12:00 AM Hilly town of Ostuni and old port Monopoli

Hilly town of Ostuni and old port Monopoli I had Italian breakfast included in the room rate. They gave me the list of 12 products to make a choice of 3. The rest will be payable extra... So you can have 1 croissant, coffee, glas of juice. Then you can start the day, planning 15 kms walk... :) That's Italy... My host was so nice to give me lift by his car to the bus stop in the town 5 kms, 5 minutes. Thank you! The FES company bus (1,80euro) took me to Monopoli, where I boarded the train to Ostuni (2,50 euro). Ostuni is one of the best preserved old towns built on the mountain. Aha, the station in down there and the town is 3 kms away and 200 m up. No bus... I decided to walk, enjoying the view of the mountain and olive trees around. Yes, old Ostuni is lovely with the labyrinth of cobbled, narrow streets. geranium flowers in the windows and lazy cats posing for the pictures. The tourists are present but not many and only on the main trail from Piazza Liberta to the cathedral. Nice view down from the walls... Ostuni is worth the trip! On tha way back I stopper in the charming coastal town of Monopoli (not Monopoly! :). There is nice, little port and the castle overlooking the port entrance. Narrow streets around the port are picturesque. On the other side of the castle at the bottom of the walls you will see miniature beach. People are sunbathing...
Do you know the term "Italian bordello?" Imagine: the rail company here has also bus network. But the buses do not operate from thei railway stations! In Monopoli they operare from the bar located at Roma St 51! Check it twice otherwise you will miss the bus like me!
I made one more stopover in Locorotondo, where is well restored but little old town. No trulli here, like in Alberobello, but you can find them in the countryside around. Long but hazy day with many attractions!

Sep 16, 2020 12:00 AM Trulli Express

Trulli Express In the guidebook they wrote that Mezzogiorno in Italy is like Bronx in New York. So take care of yourself! I do! :)
In the time of pandemia only one train per day at 9.15 am operate from Bari to Alberobello. I call it Trulli Express, because it is taking people to Trulli County... Before boarding you should find the secret and poorly marked of FES Railway - another private company. It is not easy! First take the long underground passage to get on the other side of Bari Centrale. once you are on the street turn left, walk 100m and enter rail area again. FES buses depart from here too.
I met there very friendly and helpful Alexia (see the picture). She speaks excellent English, smiles and is always ready to explain how to use ticket vending machine (you do not know that sometimes after pushing the button you have to wait 2-3 minutes. She knows that...)
Trulli are curious circular, stone-built houses. They built them around Alberobello since ages. UNESCO put them on the list of World Heritage because they are so unique. In the town there are 2 groups of the trulli.
Now they are housing mostly little shops, cafes and expensive pensions. But on the outskirts you will see also those inhabited by the people. Interesting, but very tourist place. In the afternoon I took a train to nearby Locorotondo to find my cheapest accommodation. No bus to this pension - I was walking with my pack 5 kms, trying to hitch, but local drivers are rather unfriendly - nobody stopped. As a reward I had opportunity to see and to photograph some countryside trulli.

Sep 15, 2020 12:00 AM San Nicola from Bari and Matera from UNESCO list...

San Nicola from Bari and Matera from UNESCO list... Morning was stil hazy when I was walking to Bari's old town. The most important church in Bari is basilica of Saint Nicolas. Locals believe that the remains of the saint were stolen in Turkey by Italian fisherman and brought here... They are in the crypt, where the people pray... For me was important to find behind the main altar the ornate tomb of Bona Sworza - Polish Queen of Italian origin. I enjoyed also solid Norman castle and a labirynth of the narrow streets of the old town around San Sabino cathedral.
In the afternoon I took a bus to Matara (2 hours, 5 euro). Matera lies on the edge of the picturesque canyon - on the picture. Some 70 years ago half of the population lived here in the caves. They had cave churches with nice frescoes - They can be visited also now (expect to pay 3,50 euro for each). Many of the cave shelter were converted to the hostels, pensions, cafes and shops. But the landscape is still interesting. I was walking there up and down more than 3 hours. You will find the pictures in my galery. Very interesting day!
Planing the trip to Matera take rather the slow train then the bus sneaking on the bumpy roads! :)

Sep 14, 2020 12:00 AM Two flights in the mask..

Two flights in the mask.. Why two flights.? First reason - we do not have direct flights from Gdansk to the south of Italy. Second - in the pandemic time, when only few people travel you can find better price deciding to make connection. I fly Gdansk to Vienna for 20 euro and then Vienna to Bari for just 10 euro (assuming that I am the member of Wizz Club)
Sunny day. My son Chris gave me a lift to Gdansk Airport. Lines are short. Everything goes on time. The surprise was that they packed me to Lauda plane instead of Ryanair. Nobody checked the size of my a bit oversized backpack. Cool! And nobody checked my temperature! Inside the airbus only about 40% of the seats were occupied. Everybody was forced to wear the mask all the time. At 3 pm we landed in Vienna. They disembarked us directly to the wing F of the airport - no control. You can go to the gate of your next flight to wait... The second flight was only 30 percent full - on wizz planes they have very limited space for legs but they allowed me to change my seat to the emergency row - it is worth to speak English!
After 1,5 h we landed in the dark in Bari Karol Wojtyla Airport (pleasant news for the Poles). No control, just check of the temperature. Nobody wants the covid form we filled on the plane!
In front of the terminal cheapest city bus 16 was waiting, but the driver due to the covid do not sell tickets (1,5 euro)... I was lucky to buy one for 1 euro from co-passenger. 40 min drive. Illuminated railway station. Warm evening. 20 min walk to my Cristal Hotel. Let's have the rest!

Sep 13, 2020 12:00 AM Departing already tomorrow!

Departing already tomorrow! It is difficult for someone like me to stay at home for more than 5 months - even if there is a place like my "Wojtkówka". The pandemic made distant travels still out of the question, so I decided to go at least to Europe. It was supposed to be two separate trips: the first to Latvia and Estonia, and the other to the Italian Aeolian Islands. Unfortunately, at the end of August, the Baltic states closed their borders to Poles. So I decided to extend my tour of Italy adding the Mezzogiorno, unknown to me. I am leaving tomorrow, intending to reach the end of the Italian "shoe" first, and then follow the eastern coast of Italy northwards - to the Apennines. Then a cheap flight will allow me to quickly move to Sicily and its volcanic islands - the details of the route can be seen on the map below.

Sep 10, 2020 12:00 AM Bye, bye Baltic States!

Bye, bye Baltic States! For the fall I was planning two voyages: to the Baltic States and to Lipari Islands. But the Baltic States due to COVID-19 do not accept now the tourists from my country (and most of other countries of EU). So I was forced to modify the plan. I will stay longer in Italy adding Mezzogiorno to Lipari Islands. All together it will be more than a month...
Beautiful flowers are still in blossom in my Wojtkówka, where I still work. New plan is ready!

Jul 25, 2020 12:00 AM The birthday cake

The birthday cake The birthday cace prepared for the 35th anniversary of my Wojtkowka was quite big - see photo - so it was only today when I ate the last piece! :)

Jul 22, 2020 12:00 AM 35th Anniversary of Wojtkowka

35th Anniversary of Wojtkowka Those, who know my cottage built on the outskirts of Gdansk sometimes call it "The traveller's nest". Not only because I host here every summer travellers from all over the world, but also because staying and working in Wojtkówka every summer I invented here and outlined many plans of my voyages.
Wojtkowka was opened for guests in 1985. On July 22nd we celebrated the anniversary. There were champagne, birthday cake, open-air cinema and enen little dancing floor.
The evening was warm and we had a good time!

Jul 17, 2020 12:00 AM Travellers in Wojtkowka

Travellers in Wojtkowka Staying during the summer in my cottage I am hosting again travellers from Poland and from abroad. Recently I had a pleasure to invite an interesting French-Russian couple. They are travelling already 7 years stopping for work different places on the globe. We had a chance to exchange the impressions and the ideas. They especially liked my video recordings from Antarctic on the big screen of the open-air cinema :)

Jun 27, 2020 12:00 AM Pandemic time, but strawberry time...

Pandemic time, but strawberry time... It is strawberry time in my Wojtkówka, where I am perfectly isolated. I spend the long days there working in the garden, picking and eating fresh vegetables and... dreaming about new travels.
How can I live without travelling?
So first emergency plans are ready: in mid-September I would like to drive by small car around Latvija and Estonia. I need a nice pilot to share the work and the cost. Are you ready?
Then I think about Italian Lipari Islands aat the beginning of October, if the low-cost carriers will fly to Sicily... Then... Let's be optimistic!

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