Purple Palate Blog

Day 36 -trip to Leuca

So having done the eastern most tip if Italia, today we decided to try for the southern most tip of the heel. Leuca.

We set off to drive the coastal road, with its fantastic views over the Adriactic. We stopped firstly at Porto Badisco as we had heard their was a grotto you could walk down to. After rambling about for half an hour, wee found the locked gate to the grotto, that some industrious local had put up, so you had to pay to get in. So no go. We did however find yet another example of the lengths the people of this region went to to defend themselves.

Look closely…

Back in the car for a quick stop at (because there is only so long you can hold your breath for). Known for its 4 thermal sulphur springs. This place had a real bygone era feel about it. But not Roman ancient bygone, like 1960’s bygone. 

We jumped a police barrier to get a closer look when we saw this awesome pool cut into the rocks on the shoreline. 

When we got down to the shore line, we found this area with the remnants of was used to be a resort spa, right on the water.  The whole thing in gone. We goggled it when we got home and found images from the heyday. It just boggles the mind to think this can all just be let go to wreck and ruin.

We jumped back in the car and headed for Grotto Zinzulusa. 

Walked down a couple of hundred stairs to a not very inspiring cave self tour. Gritted our teeth to stop from giving the ignorant Germans parenting advice when they were letting their kids crawl all over the stalagmites. Then got our reward when we were leaving. Quite a view.

Decided to take a boat tour out to two adjacent grottos… Unfortunately the Germans had the same idea, and not really feeling like been thrown up on, we decided to pull up a rock and wait for the next boat. We have played Cribbage in some truely weird places on this trip.

Loving it when a plan comes together, we got the next boat to ourselves… Best 5€ we spent today.

Through a huge language barrier, and much sign language, we found out that the grottos are between 7 – 10 meters deep, and that’s what give the beautiful azure blue. The weather was a bit dull, so not as amazing as it can be, but still fantastic.

Back in the car, and headed for our final destination of Leuca. Arrived into town at a roundabout, and we’re greeted with the back of road signs cemented into the middle of the main drag.  A hint on ZTLs Zona Traffico Liminta (the big red circle). Drive past one, they take your photo, and take your house.. We had apparently been driving through one for the past half an hour. So if anyone has a spare couch, that would be great.

Leucas claim to fame is that it is perched right on the southern tip of Italy’s heel. That’s about it really, but it did give us the opportunity, after a five minute walk from the east coast to the west coast, to watch a sunset over the Ionian Sea. Which we did.

Back into the car (now in the dark), and the rain that had been threatening all day decided it was time to fall. Not stressful at all, driving in the dark, in the rain, on the wrong side of the road, through roads you don’t know, in a country full of mad drivers. Only one close call, when we had to drive on the footpath because a bus and a truck decided to have a standoff in the middle of an intersection, and we just happened to be stuck in the only way out…. I’m pretty sure I missed that pedestrian.

Keeping life easy, and been so impressed with Matisse Restaurant the night before, we headed back for seconds. Delicious fillet steak with another couple of the Negroamaro that I wanted to try.

The next Negroamaro was great as well, but was large oak barrels rather than barriques,so expressed the fruit cleanerand the fruit was still outstanding, with bright red berries, lots of rounded tannin, and beautiful acidity.

Will be one for the store.


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