Day 2 – Torchiarolo and Otranto

Good morning from Italy. Its Day 3 now but we didn’t get back till after midnight last night so wasn’t logging on at that time. Just checked in on my munchkins…. Owen is happy and fine and now at school, and Ruthy has settled ok to the idea nannan is her guardian for the week. Could hear her in the background, and just wished I could give her a squeeze.

So now to Day 2 (yesterday of our adventures). We had a lovely breakfast by the pool, with obviously a good coffee! The mid morning our friend and host Richard came for us, to take us back to where they live in Torchiarolo just down the road. We were met by some of his and his wife’s Noirin’s friends from Ireland (Joe and Carmel… who leave today). Lovely couple! Then our other friend whom we have only spoke to on Skype previously came out to meet us. Was good to meet her (Dorothy), and her sister Barb, and her son Curtis, who is also our age range. Me, Simon and Curtis are the youngster of the group at the age of early to mid 30’s!!

After a coffee, we went into to the town, just a short walk from the house, and into the square, where there was an amazing market. So busy too. We had a small nosey about it, and realised as with Italian driving, Italian pavement walking is the same thing…. If you wait for a gap you never get anywhere. Do as they do or stand forever in one place!  The market was fantastic and as it was the Festival of lights, the street was lined with the most fantastic light display. We all the met outside the local church and headed off the Nonna Lisa’s for a Sunday lunch so to speak. Well…. 4 courses. Set menu’s….choice of land or sea! Si had Sea and I chose land. We were there over 2 hours!!! Here is a piccy of the gang taken by Dorothy!

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Have to talk you through the meal process!! 1st course…antipasto…….land and sea!!

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Served cold but absolutely delicious! And obviously some Bianco Frizzante Wine! Course or should I say starter 2 was Pasta. Land was pasta in a red pepper sauce, and sea was pasta with all sorts of sea creatures in it!

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Third course was the main. Land was Veal, and Si had yet more lovely sea creatures. With side dishes of chips and salad!

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4th course has pictures but on the other camera which needs downloading. But it was Ice cream!! I really don’t know how but we actually managed it. It took as I say 2 hours, but we did it.

We then headed back to Richard and Noirin’s, then off to a place called Otranto a bit down the coast from where we are. This place was where in Byzantine times the Muslim crusades were trying to take the port so they could capture Italy. It obviously didn’t work. But there was a gruesome part to the story in the local church. 800 souls perished at the hand of the captors. One by one beheaded in an orchard or something, for refusing to convert to Islam. Only one boy survived hiding in an Olive tree. When the Italians recaptured the port, they found him and wondered where everyone else was. They were taken to local fields full of bones. After that all the bones were taken to the main church in the town and preserved etc. Then all 800 men women and children made saints. Interesting history to say the least. You can view the bones in a special shrine in the church. They don’t show the children’s bones though. Here is a few pictures of the church etc.

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Oh and I was a proper rule breaker whist in there. I never looked at the sign on the way in. Anyway I am glad the Priest wasn’t in and saw me. I broke 3 golden rules. No Photography. No shoulders on show (I was wearing a boob tube top!), and no Shorts (guess what I was wearing!). I could have been burned on the spot hehe!

We then went on a look round where the fortifications were, and had a little look round the shops. The little streets were so quaint and beautiful. Then met up as sun was going down, which produced the most amazing sunset. I can’t wait to get pics from the 2 cameras downloaded to show you all. I am currently just using the pics from my phone on here! One thing we found was after 6.30pm onwards the place really became alive and bustling. The Italians seem so very family orientated, and when they go out, they go out! They really make the effort to dress up, all age ranges! Never seen such a beautiful crowd of people. We all must have stuck out like sore thumbs.

We then headed back to Torchiarolo. Bearing in mind it was at least 8.30 when we got back, we chilled andd Richard and Noirin’s for a while then headed back to town centre. What a sight!!! The lights were on and they were amazing, down the road outside the church there was a open air performance of Carmen too. The street was packed, market stalls still there to a point. The atmosphere was electric! So cultural. To say what time it was too (at least not far off 10pm), the kids were all out having fun. Generations of families etc all soaking up the festival vibes. Some of us went to get pizza and wine at Nonna Lisa’s, whilst some went to the bar. So Richard, Noirin, Curtis, Simon and myself all enjoyed proper Pizza. Fantastic stuff. We then met back up with the rest of the gang in the square. Nonna Lisa’s is on a lovely quiet side street! It was then a case of sit outside a bar, and relax, soaking up the atmosphere. There was some kind of Boyband on the stage by now near the church. And even though we couldn’t understand a word they said apart from Ragamuffin and Senegalese… they were ace. I have videos on my facebook!! At 12am everything started closing down and people heading home, including young kids!! So we headed home courtesy of Joe and Carmel as our place is on the way back to theirs. Here are a few pics of the evening festival!

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Oh we found this little critter in the bedroom last night too. Was soo cute!

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Off to enjoy the sunshine now! Will update you on Day 3 tomorrow no doubt if last night was anything to go by!

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