Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Today we woke up with a bittersweet feeling. This was the last full day of our trip. But we still had a fun day at the ocean ahead of us. We hoofed it down to Annamaria’s bar for our prima colazione and to check email for a response from Matera about my jacket. Nothing yet.
Annamaria suggested we stop by at lunchtime. They’d be making some good food. We thanked her but said we’d be at the beach by then. She suggested a couple of beaches to try. Back at the Hobbit House, we gathered a few things for the day and struck out.
Getting to the sea was a short, uncomplicated drive, and without any problem we found the beach we had picked from the map: Torre Pozzelle. This part of the Adriatic coastline is wild and unspoiled, a meandering line of small coves and inlets. Although stretches of the shores have patches of soft sand, they are mostly dotted with rough rocks and scraggly scrub brush.
There weren’t very many people on the beach, but it was still fairly early. Staking out a spot on some smooth rocks a bit away from the sandy beach, we spread out our towels and lazed in the sun. I had brought along a book I found on the shelf in our room: Chocolat. I loved the movie, and now the book was proving just as good.
Gino ventured into the water, but when he got out, suggested we move to the sand since the rocks made it rather difficult to climb back up.
We had been told that there was a small bar at this beach where one could buy provisions. There was, but it was closed. Gino saw another one down a dirt lane and went to check it out while I stayed with our things. He returned with drinks and reported that we could get panini and all kinds of food there, which later we did.
After a couple of hours of swimming and reading, we decided to hike over to a crumbling stone tower down the coastline a bit. Although through reading I knew that this was Torre Pozzelle, there was no identifying sign other than Ingresso Vietato — pericolo di crollo, advising us to keep out since the tower was in danger of falling.
It is this tower that also lends its name to the beach. Now in a sorry state of neglect, this 500-year-old structure must have been imposing when it was first erected to defend the coastline against the repeated invasions that Puglia has suffered over the centuries.
We walked up close and circled it, imagining how it must have appeared in its glory days. I was heartened to learn that there is a movement afoot to save this historical monument and keep it from further deterioration. It hope it succeeds.
Wandering farther out onto one of the rocky reefs, we stooped over to watch a blow hole. Every time a wave came in, an explosion of water would gush up then recede, like a flushing toilet. We stood awhile gazing out to sea, marveling at the intense blue-green of the water glittering in the afternoon sun before returning to the car for the short jaunt back to Ostuni.