Friday, May 13, 2011

To Monopoli And Our Visit With New Friends

When we got to Alberobello on Monday May 9, we splurged on a fancy hotel to be in walking distance of the centro storico (historical center). Here is the view from our balcony.

There are little pockets of trulli like this throughout the town but the centro storico is almost all trulli including the only trulli cathedral in the world. When we got settled into our room, we did some chores and then set out to find a market to replenish our lunch supplies. We wandered into a salumeria wondering what the heck a salumeria was. It turned out to be just the ticket! We bought salami, cheese (strong cheese for traveling), and a bottle of wine. They also had these beautiful cured hams.

We then strolled around the old town. Soon we noticed that the sky was looking pretty threatening.

We made it to a nice restaurant just as the downpour began. We went back to the hotel to discover that all the laundry that Belinda had hung out to dry on the balcony was soaking wet. Fortunately it mostly dried hung on the heating radiator over night. The next day, Tuesday May 10, we headed towards the Grotto Castellana, a famous cave in the area. It was discovered in 1938 and is over a mile long. Here is the chamber into which we descended into the cave.

There are different fungi in the cave that color the formations. Our guide described one vividly red and brown formation as pancetta (bacon).

After the cave, we headed down the road to Monopoli to meet up with our friend Marco. There were many large villas on the road to Monopoli. Some were decaying and others were in great condition, but they all had a large gate and fence.

We arrived in Monopoli and stopped at a local bike shop for assistance. A very nice man called Marco and he and his father, Antonio, came and guided us to their home. Now it was time to see Monopoli!

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