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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 81 - 90 of 2443 Page: 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Sep 22, 2020 12:00 AM Baroque Lecce

Baroque Lecce Lecce - the capital of Salento Province has the university and 40 churches... On arrival to the basic bed and breakfast the lady- owner checked my temperature and asked me to wear the mask. So far I have standard temperature! I left my backpack and went to visit the old town. Lecce is famous for its baroque churches. The cathedral is a good sample (they want 9 euro for visiting interior) but the real jevel of the architecture is basilica Santa Croce (on the picture). The front of this church is exceptionally ornate... Here they ask again for 9 euro to see the interior... Thank you - I will see it on internet. I passed Roman amphitheatre going to the castle of Carlos V. But this castle disappointed me - it is nothing special.... On the strees of Lecce you will see many Africans. They sell different goods, wandering place to place or just staying and talking... After hot morning we experienced storm and heavy rain in the afternoon. There will be sunshine again tomorrow - I believe! :)

Sep 21, 2020 12:00 AM Coastal walk....

Coastal walk.... The coast of Salento is famous not only for its nice beaches, but also for the cliffs and interesting rock formations. No buses to my trailhead, but my host gave me a lift by his junk car to Torre San Andrea, where I started my walk. It is worth to wander around San Andrea because the view of the scattered islands, walls and towers are different from diferrent directions. you can also step on to the natural bridge for a great photo... There is the modern radio lighthouse. On the other side of the lighthouse little beach. The coastal path is sneaking south, passing the bush in many places and opening the views to the bays, cliffs, grottos and miniature coves with the sand - known only to the locals. I was walking in the strong sun about two hours to reach the public beach in Specchiulia with music and drinks in the bar. Further south cliffs disappeared, the beach became narrow and stoney and I decided to turn to Lago Alimini. In the afternoon I had still enough power to take the walk to the little Lake Bauxite - some 2 kms from the Centro Storico. This miniature, navy-blue lake is located in the deep hole. But the walls around are very colorful and nicely eroded, so it isworth the effort! This was an another day full of the beautiful landscapes... I walked about 15 kms. Next target will be Lecce.

Sep 20, 2020 12:00 AM The end of Italy :)

The end of Italy  :) On the south end of the Italian "boot" there is a cape, where Adriatic meets Jonian Sea. Santa Maria di Leuca is significant place for travellers, but not easy to get there. If the buses do not operate you have to take the train. In Santa there is no station. The key is to know the secret that 7 kms from Santa is the station Galliano Leuca. I used this route today, using minibus to get the destination. Lucky me!
You can use this link, to see the place on the map:
Santa Maria di Leuca is a small resort township, now almost empty, with many operators offering boat tours to the sea grottos (many of them is around). But the main landmark here is a 75m high hill with the white lighthouse and the basilica-sancturary of SM. It cost me a lot of sweat to climb there ornate, wide stone stairs, but it was worth!
The view is great from the terrace...

Sep 19, 2020 12:00 AM Lovely Otranto

Lovely Otranto Otranto is a city with long history... Imagine that Turks took the city and occupied it for the long period. Now Otranto is like little, cozy resort on the Adriatic coast. It was cloudy, humid morning when I was wondering the coastal promenade and the narrow streets of the old city, which is very compact.
There are big towers . Portaterra is more impressive, long and high city walls and huge Aragoneese castle surrounded by moats. The cathedral church is very interestyng with fantastic mosaics on the floor and the chapel of the martyrs. It is also worth to find the miniature, bizantine basilica of St. Peter... Entry to the churches is free but the guy from the donation giving you the map of the city... I like picturesque Otranto with very few tourists on the streets. On the way from the old city to the station (it is about 1 km but slightly uphill) you will find two reasonably priced supermarkets open till 9 pm.
I am moving to the other accommodation without wi-fi. So do not be surprised if the next message will be delayed. :)

Sep 18, 2020 12:00 AM The buses are cancelled but the timetable on internet exists

The buses are cancelled but the timetable on internet exists Giovanni, the owner of "Colinetta" gave me the lift to the railway station. I appreciate that - otherwise it is 5 kms walk! I am going south. First I went by regular train to nearby Martina Franca. The old city is here also on the mountain, but surrounded by high, contemporary blocks, so it doesn't have the charm of Ostuni...
You know that I am the fan of the old trains so it was a plaasure to travel from Martina to Lecce by the old, one-carriage train. Imagine - only 6 passengers on the train! :) Olive trees, prickly pears and wineyards around... After 2,5 h we raached Lecce. A lot of black, noninvited people from Africa on the streets... I know, I must walk more than 2 kms to the city bus terminal...
THE TERMINAL in Lecce is just a big parking. Nobody knows about the bus to Santa Maria Leuca found on internet. I am waiting. No bus... Finally the bus driver of other company says that all buses to Santa Maria are cancelled until... who knows... Yes, internet is fantastic, but there is a lot of garbage in it...
Bad luck! What should I do? The almost empty bus of Salento Link waiting outside the terminal goes to Otranto, half way to Santa Maria. But the driver does want to take me without a ticket. -Go to the bar and buy it! I go, I already know about the Italian bars selling the tickets. But this specific bar does not! The driver is firm and angry, but with the help of the passengers finally he took me up.
Otranto. Late afternoon. No way to find the way to Santa Maria. Friendly and fluent in English Paolo from Bologna helps me to find accommodation for one night. Thank you Paolo! I stay in the little hotel Pietra Verde. Shall I reach Santa Maria di Leuca tomorrow?

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.

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