Purple Palate Blog

Day 34 – Rambling the coast

Up and a leisurely breakfast. We have decided to just have a wander around the immediate area today. Sick of driving frankly.

So, into the car (yeah I know). Headed further south, but only 2 minutes. Pulled up at what looked like an abandoned military base, dumped the car, and headed off down a cliff side path.  

The Cape Otranto lighthouse is at the base of the cliff – don’t ask me, I didn’t build it – and is worth the kilometre walk down, just to stand on the eastern most point of Italy if nothing else.  We could just make out Albania on the horizon.

Hiked back up the hill, and back into the car for a 5 minute rumble down what I’m pretty sure was a farmers access road (don’t tell Avis), as we’d seen this cool looking structure from the roadway.

A 20 minute  ramble over sandstone and wild flowers bought us to one of the old signal towers dotted along the headlands on this side of the coast. They were used to signal along the coast in case of Algerian and Sarecen pirate raids.  


The top of the headland also opened up an incredible vista along this truly rugged coastline. No sandy white beaches, but all the more amazing for it.


Little round huts (which we’re assuming are shepherd shelters, and as soon as we find someone who speaks English to ask, we will) dot the landscape.  English is becoming increasingly scarce, and our very scratchy Italian is not cutting it.  We may starve before we get home, or learn Italian really fast.


Stopped at another coastal spot covered in bunkers, tunnels and trenches from WW2. OH & S would go nuts if this was in Australia. Here it’s a case of, if you’re drunk enough to fall in, chances are you wont remember who to sue afterwards.


Wandered back to the car to head north again, in search of a grotto we’d heard about (and some sand for a swim). 

After a couple of false starts, one of which had us bushbashing across a paddock, found us the most beautiful little beach, with absolutely no way of getting down to it (short of abseiling, and I left my gear at home).

So we continued north, found a beach (with actual sand), decided we didn’t want to pay  €20 for a spot on the sand, so headed further north to the grotto we had heard about.

Found it!

Unfortunately, about 50 meters away was another one, with a steeper access. Someone had built a bloody great scaffolding down into it, stuck up an ugly 6″ fence then chained it off. Really weird, and really ugly, ruining what should have been an amazing natural site. Can’t understand the thinking.
So after having hiked for miles, and seen some truly amazing sights, headed home for cheese and olives for dinner, and a (relatively) early night.

Really, really beautiful part of the country. By far the most naturally beautiful part so far. What we have seen so far is a really manicured beauty, some of it a facade, some of it manufactured over centuries. This part, the Salantine Penninsular, is just beautiful.

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