Posts Tagged ‘beach’

Untouched Puglia – a little slice of Italian heaven

September 25, 2011

Growing up, the Italians living in my hometown always said that Perth weather was very similar to the Italian Mediterranean climate. I never really believed them and after travelling to Milan and Tuscany I still couldn’t see the similarities.

Then I went to Puglia. Located in the heel of the Italian boot, the region borders the Adriatic Sea and therefore is south enough to have agreeable temperatures all year round.

Similar to the Aussie bush but with ancient stone instead of billabongs

Puglia has a diverse history, being ruled by Ancient Greece, the Romans, the Byzantines and the Normans in various points in time. Visiting the town of Ostuni, this history can be seen in the architecture. The white washed walls remind me of Greece yet strong Roman influences can also be seen in the pillars and arches that surround the town square.

White-washed walls are reminiscent of Greek architecture

Of course, none of this reminded me of Australia, but the environment sure did. The nearby beach was very clean for European standards
and virtually deserted which made a change from the usual ritual of fighting for a space to lay your towel.

Deserted beach on the Puglia coast

The food is inspired by the region and the seafood was the freshest I’ve tasted since moving from Australia to London nearly three years ago.

Straight out of the sea

We stayed in a villa called Impisi. Built by a British couple, they embraced their natural surroundings, constructing the guest rooms out of ancient limestone rock found on the property. Both artists, the pair have decorated the grounds with sculptures and mosaics; whilst making sure the design remained true to the area’s interesting history.

A sculpture within the villa's garden

Sitting on the roof terrace of our villa, you could see Ostuni in the south and the ocean in the north. The garden is dotted with olive trees and cacti, plants that grow in abundance in the Swan Valley region of Western Australia – the similarities were apparent.

Plants that need little water are suited to the hot climes

The villa’s pool seems as though it has been carved out of the natural limestone in the ground, giving the effect of a rock pool that you might find at the beach rather than a manmade swimming hole in the middle of an olive grove.

The view of the pool from our room

A very relaxing trip in inspiring surroundings, I’m surprised I managed to do what I came to do – write! Stay posted for my Italian short story.

As for Puglia – I can’t wait to go back!

'Impisi' Villa

To check out how the villa was built, watch this episode of Grand Designs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6VPZKlDTaM

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Planning a trip to Spain – it’s only a couple of hours away after all

March 17, 2010

San Sebastian - one of the places we hope to visit!

My boyfriend and I have been planning a trip around Spain recently, as we hope to go in the summer.

That’s one of the best things about living in the UK – so many other countries are right on your doorstep. If you want to go to Paris for the weekend, it’s only a two hour train ride away.

Where I’m from in Perth, Western Australia, if you drove for two hours you’d still be in the same state, let alone the same country! Perth is the most isolated capital city in the world and I think that if I was to move back there I would certainly feel its isolation more than I did before.

So I think it’ll take us about two hours to fly to Spain, and then we were planning what we’d do when we got there. We’re going to hire a campervan and travel around the country.

First I was think ‘gosh, we’re going to be driving for ages’ but once I calculated all the places I wanted to see, it works out to only be 21 hours driving over a nine day trip. This is because Spain is actually quite small! In fact, Spain is only just under 500,000sqm, whereas Western Australia is more than double that.

To drive from Barcelona to Madrid will only take us six hours, which is great! We’re hoping to travel up the coast from Barcelona, across the Pyrenees and then through the Basque country, before heading down to Madrid and back to Barcelona again.

Hopefully we’ll catch a lot of sunshine along the way – I’m really looking forward to getting my vitamin D fix once again!