The early morning sun is already hot, dazzling the soft ripples of the Adriatic. We sit admiring the carved strata of the cliffs that rise from the sea up to the ancient town of Vieste above us. Two traditional stilt fishing platforms (trabucchi) act like sun-bleached sentinels, guarding each side of our private lagoon on the Gargano coast.
I’m writing from a sun-bed by the hotel swimming pool, set near the foot of the rock-face, overlooking a scene of turquoise tranquillity. The pool can be reached by the many steep steps that twist and climb up to Hotel Seggio, our spur of the moment stop-over….however we chose to reach it by the conveniently placed lift in the lobby, it’s a holiday after all. We’re on a mini tour of the south that has taken us away from Calabria through Basilicata, Napoli, Abruzzo and now Puglia.
We’d only intended to stay one night in Vieste but the romance of the lantern-lit alleyways and the slew of late-night restaurants and tavernas seduced us into extending our visit another day. It also seemed a little rude not to enjoy a poolside ‘bibite’ when the hotel had been so thoughtful in supplying the facility in the first place.
This is the joy that an unorganised, even disorganised, road trip brings….No plans to break, no bookings to cancel. Early September is still pleasantly hot but the majority of holiday makers have gone, the botigas and museums are still open but without the chaos of Ferragosto. There is probably no better time to enjoy the ‘spur’ of the Italian boot, the peninsula of Gargano with its historic towns, national park and sublime sandy beaches. The long and winding coast road lies ahead, the secrets of Puglia await….but they’ll keep until tomorrow.