• Day226

    Capo d'Otranto and Santa Cesarea Terme

    February 7, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    Today we reached the sea on the start of a trip round the coast of Italy's south eastern peninsula. Although there was sand in places, hard rocks projected out a defence against the waves of the crashing in from the Strait of Otranto. The many seaside resorts were closed and empty but ready to spring into life once summer arrived. Luckily for us they provided lots of seafront parking that was free this time of year.

    At Rocca Vecchia we discovered ruins in and on the rocks from as far back as the 7th century. While Will fished from the natural pier, Vicky took Poppy for a wander then went exploring. Spaces for compact dwellings had been hewn into the hard stone, carved steps led down to the blue coves and the remains of an old brick castle stood on the headland. Relics of fireplaces whose warmth had left them long ago, were now left exposed to the elements.

    Moving on, we passed wire fenced military camps and reached the Capo d'Otranto. The cape is the most easterly point in Italy and is marked by a lighthouse that we were able to walk down to and around. Although the strong wind cooled the air, the sun was out and we saw two little butterflies fluttering by. Below the lighthouse lay sharp rocks that would shred a boat to ribbons, the wind had fuelled the waves and the sight of the white surf pummelling the cape was enhanced by the sound it made as it hit.

    Our base that night was the free sea view car park at Santa Cesarea Terme. From the low wall in front of the van, the cliff fell away down to the sea about 50m below, from where the thunder claps from thousands of tonnes of water hitting the land could be heard. Small red fruit (prickly pears) sat on top of the cacti and some pale narcissi bloomed, reminding us of the daffodils over 1000 miles away in Netherton.

    At quarter to 7 the next morning the sun rose over the sea for a few minutes before disappearing behind a strip of low cloud. We are really appreciating the 10.5 hours of daylight this part of the world receives. It makes a positive difference to Vicky's mental health and while the van remains the same size, being able to look out for longer gives us the illusion of more space!
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