The garden party was somewhere between a complete disaster and a pretty good day. On the plus side, we had sunny weather, friends, food and a pink tutu. On the annoying side, the picnic tables that I expected to use were all “reserved” when we arrived that morning. And by reserved, I mean other people’s Italian grandparents were parked at each one with a newspaper and morning coffee, just waiting for the rest of their party to arrive. Unfortunately, this wasn’t possible for our group since the Atlantic Ocean separates our grandparents from the party space.
So, to the benches we went. Laying out the carefully prepared food, drinks and cakes. The nearby playground made up for the impromptu picnic setting. And the dirt cups were a hit–even though they were packed with “secret” ingredients like spinach, berries and wheat germ. Yep, Phoebe is that kid. At least so far.
Beaches are nice with sand and sun (except when there’s too much sand and sun…) but there’s nothing like having a pool in your yard, as we did at our villa.
It’s been a trip with ups and downs, as most of them are. We hit the beach last week but the weather wasn’t quite cooperating.
Neither was Estelle.
Phoebe still had fun.
Then things improved. Sand was located.
And Estelle got some sleep.
The second beach on the second day was better. Off to Vieste, a nearby town, we had lunch at a seaside spot. To say it was delicious is to say too much, but while this was tourist food (read: frozen and reheated for our pleasure) and it did the trick. Away we went for a stroll.
Our trip to Puglia, the heel of the boot that is Italy on a map, started at an agriturismo in Mattinata. Agritourism is something I’ve only heard of in Italy but is apparently available in many parts of the world including the Philippines, Australia and even the US. The term means a vacation property that also produces crops of some sort, most often in Italy this is olive oil. As I understand it, the Italian government subsidizes small farms-turned-vacation villas in order to boost both industries. We’ve stayed in several over the past couple of years and they range from stately villas to basically renting a room in a farmhouse. With that in mind, you never know what you’re really getting when you book these things online but this turned out to be pretty great.
The grounds were really impressive, if only for the resourcefulness of the landscape design.
Set on a hill overlooking the Ionian Sea, was a terraced landscape, punctuated by numerous stone walls, olive trees, gorgeous blooms in every color and shape and new to my Italian repertoire, giant flowering cacti. Tons of them.
We’ve eaten every meal outside so far.
We’ve been to the beach, shopping, out for cappuccino, out for lunch and more. More, more, more to come. For now, more photos.
While on vacation in Puglia Estelle learned to roll over!
Plus she’s just cute.