Guest blog by Judy & David Wall

Arrived Sunday evening to the beautiful town of Preveza. A quick G&T on the boat and off to dinner. The food at Ventura was delicious. Fabulous atmosphere with many restaurants and tables lining the pedestrian streets.

On the quay side at Prèveza

Monday, after a quick walk to town and gathering yummy bakery treats, we set off for Nidri … after our job descriptions and safety briefing (of course)! We motored across the sea and Jo timed the opening of the floating bridge perfectly. We were on our way to more wide open water. It was a bit cloudy but we thought the weather would hold… it didn’t! David took the helm while the jib was out (no mainsail today… hmmm) and we made our way across the bay. We finally settled ourselves in at anchor in the quiet bay of Vliko near Nidri. We managed to stay fairly dry through the various storms, thunder and lightning. We let out the anchor but weren’t convinced we were holding so we attempted to lift the anchor to reset it BUT THEN the windlass anchor foot switch failed us. Jo quickly shut off the circuit breaker and we had to do a relay of shouting “on/off” while Judy was down below turning the circuit on and off and Liz was manning the anchor. We finally felt comfortable with the anchor holding… so we waited out the various rain showers (we kept saying “I think it’s going to clear soon… just as the next rain shower rolled in). We enjoyed the amazing cloud colors and formations. We played games, showered up, and had Dimitri himself pick us up via “boat taxi” to go to dinner at Dimitri’s taverna just on the shore of our little bay. The storms kept rolling in as we ate a delicious meal on the water. Back to Nimmie safe and sound. Thanks Dimitri!

Storm clouds gathering as we eat at Dimitri’s

Early morning swim after the storms have gone

Tuesday started with Liz’s delish banana pancakes. We had sunny skies and set off on an adventure to Sivota. We wanted to arrive midday to get a spot on the pontoon so we could enjoy the little village and have a delicious dinner by the water at 12 Gods Taverna. We wandered around the shops and found a nice little beach to have a swim. Later that day the winds kicked up a bit while David and Judy were kayaking.

Sneaky afternoon beer in Sivota

We had a nice easy day, enjoyed free showers at the 12 Gods before suiting up in our new Nimrod crew gear and sipping on a few pink Gin &Tonics while hanging around on 4 hammocks. Absolutely lovely!! Yummy dinner at 12 Gods Taverna and back to Nimmie for a beautiful cool night.

 

Team Nimrod!

Wednesday morning we mooched around the shops a bit and had breakfast at a yummy bakery before untying Nimmie and setting sail at about noon to find some caves to explore. We raised the jib (but still no mainsail…hmmm) when we were out of the harbor and Judy took the helm for a bit until we found the Papanikolis Cave on Meganisi to explore. Judy and David explored the cave via kayak while Jo and Liz stayed on Nimmie.

David & Judy kayaking at the cave

We then sailed past Jackie Onassis’ island, Skorpios, but could not get close to anchor and swim. On we moved to Port Atheni on Meganisi where we anchored and put lines ashore to spend the night. Judy and David earned their keep by jumping off with the lines and swimming ashore to tie onto a tree or rock. By late afternoon we were settled in. We went for a swim and took the dinghy across the bay to a little beach and bar.

Drinks at the Jammin’ beach bar in Port Atheni

After a cocktail we set off to explore the coral reef just inside our bay. Another lovely evening on the boat. We cooked steaks and enjoyed yet another delicious meal by Liz.

Investigating the reef at Port Atheni

Thursday morning we had Greek salad omelettes by Chef Liz. We took it slow and swam around the bay for a bit before releasing the shore lines and heading across toward the mainland and a pretty bay called Varko. We enjoyed stunning turquoise waters and fun beach bar.

Varko Beach

We had a yummy Greek salad lunch (thanks Liz), swam and snorkeled for a few hours before setting off to make the 6pm opening of the floating bridge. Again, Jo timed our arrival perfectly and we were on our way through to Preveza. We had 13 knot winds and storm clouds in the distance, so there was a suggestion to put up the main sail! David & Judy were very excited at the idea of actually laying eyes on the main sail… but still no luck. With the storm clouds around us, Jo and Liz decided it was best to motor as we would have to tack all the way.

So the question remains…. do they actually have a mainsail?

Throughout the week, David tried fishing at every opportunity but had as much luck/success as his sister! Maybe fishing isn’t in their genes.

We had an evening of cleaning up Nimrod and then walking into the town for a lively last dinner. Nimmie will rest at the marina for a couple of weeks while Liz and Jo return to England with Judy and David for a Wall family holiday in the south of England next week to celebrate Ruth and John’s Diamond wedding anniversary!

Thank you to Liz and Jo for a fabulous week of great hospitality, fun laughs, delicious food & wine and of course the gorgeous turquoise waters. We will be back!

A note to the next guest blogger: WANTED: picture evidence of Nimrod’s mainsail.

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Lefkas and Meganisi

We’ve spent the last five days in the Lefkas area. The last time we were there was 2003 when we both learnt to sail with Nielsen. It was lovely revisiting old haunts.

We left Vonitsa at lunchtime on Monday having bought fresh provisions in the morning. We were blessed with yet more dolphins en route to Preveza. We were going to use the Lefkas Canal for the first time and we could understand why the pilot books urge caution when entering it when the wind and sea have built up. We, of course, arrived at the entrance as the wind had got up to 20 knots and we had 20 mins before the floating bridge opened on the hour. There was a waiting quay you can use and we only managed to tie up with the help of the motor yacht in front of us. However, the favour was returned when they set off to go through the bridge and found one of their lines was caught. Liz quickly jumped off Nimmie and untied it for them.

The canal itself is very pretty as it is essentially a lagoon that separates Lefkas from the mainland. It takes about 45 minutes to navigate the length of it but by then you are well and truly in the southern Ionian.

Our overnight stop was Port Atheni on Meganisi. The name doesn’t do the bay on the NE corner of the island justice – turquoise water, tavernas and beach. It is a lot busier than Croatia or the northern Ionian islands but we still managed to anchor and take lines ashore. We had also been told that rats try to climb up your ropes here so we installed ‘rat protectors’ otherwise known as cut off water bottles on our lines. By which time it was after 8pm so no time for a G&T in the hammock. A very peaceful night and a leisurely breakfast before setting off. The afternoon sea breeze here gives you several hours of sailing, as long as you don’t want to go south or southwest!

After investigating several coves we had remembered from our previous visit, we sailed down to the SE tip of Lefkas at Vasiliki. It is a watersport centre as well as a large anchorage. You can see why as the afternoon sea breeze comes straight in! However, once the sun had set, things calmed down a bit although the wind was greater than forecast due to the katabatic effect of the hills around.

We left early the next day as there were strong winds forecast for the next two days and we wanted to find a safe spot near Nidri, halfway up the eastern side of Lefkas. There is an anchorage in Vlikho Bay that is described as a ‘hurricane hole’. It’s really well sheltered from pretty much every direction – perfect. Quite a few other boats had similar ideas but we found a spot we were happy with. We put out plenty of chain as it was forecast to gust F5/6. We went into Nidri in the afternoon and reminisced about the Nielsen base there at the Athos Hotel with its Tree Bar. Those were the days. The Wednesday night was pretty uneventful as the holding is excellent in gluppy mud.

Vlikho Bay, Nidri is quite pretty and very sheltered

On Thursday morning the weather forecast had increased the predicted wind strength so we decided to stay put and work on our list of boat jobs. By 11am the wind was consistently a F4 (16 knots) and getting stronger. By 3pm it was gusting 30 knots and boats were flooding in as we suspect it was closer to 40 knots outside. We were very glad we made the decision to stay put as we knew the anchor was dug in. However, we did have our own incident when the dinghy flipped with the outboard attached. Normally, we take the outboard off when there are strong winds but we thought Baby Nimmie was safely tethered and so this wouldn’t happen. We were wrong! Luckily, we spotted it pretty quickly so got the outboard on board and flushed the water out, took various bits apart and put it all back together again. Fingers crossed we started it up and it worked! We suspect that we have done some irreparable damage as engines and salt water don’t mix. We shall see.

The wind didn’t abate until around 10pm but at least we were able to sleep knowing the anchor had held and no one else seemed to have dragged. On Friday morning (July 20), we quickly did some shopping in Nidri town (and tried out the outboard again) and set off to explore some anchorages on the mainland. We found a wonderful one at Ormos Varko with amazing sand, turquoise water and a nice beach bar. This time it was a lunchtime stop but we will be back!

Ormos Varko – wonderful turquoise water

Back up the Lefkas Canal for the 5pm bridge and into Preveza where we are to be joined on Sunday by Liz’s brother, David and sister in law, Judy.

Sunset in the Preveza anchorage

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Parga to Preveza

Parga has a large anchorage so we felt sure there would be room after we had left Anti Paxos on the Thursday evening. What we hadn’t contended with was the fact that there would be an Italian rally anchored there! Luckily, we found a spot. It was quite pretty although the beach was packed full of sunbeds so no doubt the view from the beach was the better option!

As this was purely a safe stopover, we moved on relatively early for us down the coast. Whilst we were in Paxos, Liz had found a fishing shop and bought a recommended lure for small tuna. On our way down the coast, she actually caught one! Amazing, only the second (or is it third?) time she has been successful fishing in the Med. We decided to let it go as we had food on board we needed to eat but excited for the next time.

Liz’s first tuna

Our destination was Two Rock Bay, only ten miles south of Parga but a world away from it all. A small cove with amazing turquoise water, a small beach, a cave and even a bar. Not sure why it’s called Two Rock as we could see four! However, it was lovely and probably our favourite place so far this summer.

Two Rock Bay

We stayed there 24 hours, swimming, kayaking and paddle boarding and then made our way to Preveza. Preveza town itself is only a few miles from the airport and feels quite authentic even though the town quay has been spruced up with bars and restaurants. There is a marina and a large anchorage so you can guess which one we opted for. As we dropped the anchor we heard someone shout Nimrod and we saw our neighbours from Bari, a lovely French couple who had overwintered there and left at the end of May.

It was easy to dinghy ashore for the shops and also to catch a taxi to the ancient city of Nicopolis, which means city of victory. It was built by Octavia, Julius Caesar’s nephew after he defeated Mark Anthony at the Battle of Aktio in 31BC. It was well worth the 8€ was entrance fee as that covered three sites and the museum.

On the Sunday (July 15th), we went into the Gulf of Amvrakikos that Preveza sits on the edge of. It’s some 180 square miles and incredibly quiet as charterers don’t tend to go there. There are a lot of fish farms and, consequently, quite a few dolphins to be seen. We went to the main town of Vonitsa and anchored off. We really liked it as it was not pretentious, had great shops (supermarkets and hardware stores!) and some nice restaurants. We treated ourselves to a meal out at To Maistrale which had tables on the beach so we could watch Nimmie from ours!

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Paxoi and more mooring antics (parts two and three!)

We had heard that Paxos island, ten miles west of the mainland and just south of Corfu, gets very crowded in summer so you need to get there early to grab a spot. Our first port of call was Lakka in the north. A lovely natural harbour, well sheltered with a town quay, bars and restaurants. We were going to anchor and heeded advice that it’s best to anchor and take lines ashore in the north end. By 11am we were tied up and swimming off the back of the boat.

Lines ashore in Lakka

By 1pm another 20 boats had come in but only a few had left. This continued right up into the evening. By dusk, 50 boats were in the anchorage and that would have been fine if there weren’t weird currents and wind patterns. Boats were all swinging at different angles and getting very close to each other. Some ended up re-anchoring. The town itself is quite sweet with lots of shops for Liz to browse in. We decided to stay two nights.

Another amazing turquoise harbour at Lakka

We left Lakka early on the Tuesday morning as we wanted to get to Gaios just down the coast. It is very popular as well and we were keen to snaffle a spot on one of the quays as we were staying for a couple of days. It’s set in a narrow channel so you have to drop your anchor and then motor back to the quay. We decided to go for the north quay slightly out of town as we saw a spot free. We were pretty sure that the town quay would be full of charter boats and we weren’t sure whether we would end up with crossed anchors. This was the first time we had to pay for mooring since leaving Italy but at €24 a night we weren’t too upset as we could also fill up with water and recharge our batteries.

Chaos at Gaios

Whilst we were having dinner on the first night, an old, classic yacht came in looking for a berth. They had to anchor opposite us and then tie ashore on rocks on the island. I presume that the boat doesn’t go well backwards as they hit the same boat next to them twice before getting it right. Much hollering and screaming amongst the three gentlemen aboard.

Later, we strolled into town to catch the second half of the France Belgium game. On the Wednesday, we hired a scooter to tour the island and were just going to pick it up when we saw that someone was about to come in next to us. They perfected it really well except they had forgotten to drop their anchor so had to do it all again!

The island itself is lovely and only 15km long. It has two main roads and lots of tracks. Luckily, our scooter was 200hp so could cope with both the terrain and the hills! We spent the day exploring the island including the white cliffs at Erimitis, Trypitos’ arch, coves and beach bars (much to Liz’s delight) before settling down for a meal to watch the England Croatia semi final.

White cliffs at Erimitis

Harbour at Logos

Trypitos’ Arch

We had decided that we would have a leisurely morning so Liz could do some more shopping but this was cut short when our neighbours decided to leave and went out at such an angle that they managed to catch our anchor chain around their keel. Yes, the same ones who forgot to put their anchor down first time! We managed to sort them out but felt we probably ought to leave relatively promptly in case something else happened.

We continued south to a harbour called Mongonisi that apparently got good reviews but when we arrived it was full of charter boats so we moved onto Anti Paxos.

Voutoumi Bay, Anti Paxos

We found the most amazing turquoise beach on the north of this little island. You can see why super yachts come here. Voutoumi Bay was extraordinary with its white sand, turquoise water and trendy beach bar. We stayed for a few hours to soak in the atmosphere but we knew that it wasn’t going to be an overnight stop for us. At around 5pm we set sail (and for once we really did sail!) for the main land to ensure we had a safe anchorage for the night.

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Mourtos and mooring antics part one

We left Petriti on Friday morning and made our way to Mourtos, on the mainland. There are a couple of islands there that provide good anchorages and shelter from the prevailing NW wind. For the first time since we left Italy we actually managed to sail although we did have the engine running to top all the batteries and also make some water. Having not been in a marina or on a town quay for a week, we found that we have managed to use up nearly one of our water tanks (around 250 litres).

We arrived in Mourtos around midday to find that the bay (called Middle Bay) we wanted to be in virtually empty so we anchored and then added lines ashore to keep us out of the channel between the islands. As the afternoon progressed, more and more boats arrived and anchored pretty much anywhere, including the channel so clearly no one else worried about it! The currents and back eddies running between the islands caused all sorts of commotion as no one boat sat the same as the next one so it made for an interesting spectacle.

Our first evening with lines ashore at Mourtos

We decided the next morning to anchor over the other side of the channel as a strong NW wind was due in the afternoon and we didn’t want to be pushed back onto the rocks. Most of the boats from the previous evening had left so we picked a spot in shallow water that would afford us great shelter later on. Very pleased with ourselves, we dinghied over to the town and bought provisions and had a look around. Mourtos has a lovely frontage/town quay with bars and restaurants along it. We also wanted to explore the other bays so we made our way back to the boat.

Mourtos town quay

We spent the afternoon in a bay around the corner that has a sand bar running through the centre of it. Nielsen have a yachting and watersport centre on one side but you can anchor on the other and there was also a public beach. The wind was starting to get up so we thought we had better get back. More boats had come into anchor, including one we had met in Gouvia when we were getting our Greek permits. All seemed well though so we settled down to watch the England football match. Around half time, we noticed that the local rental boats were being brought over from the town quay, presumably to keep themsafe during the strong winds. They anchored them together fore and aft about 30m away from us so we weren’t too perturbed. About 30 mins into the second half, we realised that they had added more boats and by now they were getting very close and we were in danger of drifting onto them. The guys who had put them there cane back and we told them in no uncertain terms that what they had done was ridiculous. Their boats weren’t going anywhere yet the rest of us were all at anchor so we were bound to swing. They were adamant that all would be fine as long as we pulled in 3m of chain. Rubbish or some such word came to mind! Because of the odd eddies and currents, we kept drifting back onto their boats so we gave up and pulled our anchor up. There was no room where we were to re-anchor so we popped round to the bay we had seen earlier (called 4th bay) but it was full. We came back to our original bay to find that someone had left so we were able to anchor. By this time it was 8.30pm and dusk was coming soon. We got settled and Liz made a wonderful dinner of stuffed squid with tomatoes, pepper and feta. In the meantime, various boats were trying to moor near us but in the high winds their anchors were either dragging or they were to close to the shore.

After a traumatic evening, a lovely relaxing meal

Welcome to the Ionian in summer!

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Corfu Town

On Tuesday morning (July 3rd) we dinghied over to Corfu Town from the anchorage and looked for a place to park Baby Nimmie. The nearby marina/yacht club had had reports of no longer being managed so we were reluctant to leave it there untended for several hours. The sea moat around the old Fort hadn’t completely silted up so we went down it to see whether we could leave her there. There were various huts along the side of the moat with small local boats moored up so we tied up about half way along and climbed the stairs to come out by the entrance to the fort.

Sea boat around the old fort with Nimrod in the bay

Corfu has been heavily fortified over the years by its various ‘occupants’, especially the Venetians who built two forts. The ‘Old Fort’ is right at the end of the channel looking across to Albania and you can imagine the guns protecting both the town and the waters below. We walked up to the lighthouse at the top of the hill to find magnificent views across the channel. It was blistering hot though so we were glad that we had got there in the morning before it got even warmer!

View across the bay from the old fort

The fort houses various exhibitions including Byzantine mosaics and paintings as well as water colours by a local artist.

On our way out, we looked across to check on Baby Nimmie only to see that the gate half way up the stairs was locked! Oops. We went for a closer inspection and it had been locked but luckily it was easy enough to open. Phew!

The town itself has large gardens, wide Italianate boulevards and even a cricket pitch. The narrow streets of the old town could have been anywhere in southern Italy with the marble cobblestones.

The Liston boulevard

We wandered round for a hour or two but then decided to get back to both the dinghy and Nimmie and have lunch on board. We went back into town in the evening to find a bar to watch the England v Columbia World Cup game as our tv can’t pick up Greek digital tv apparently. (It was fine in Italy but clearly our 8 year old tv is getting past it!) After the game, we had celebratory drinks at the rooftop bar at Hotel Cavalieri, even though it was past midnight. Lovely cool breeze and still very warm.

Hotel Cavalieri roof garden

On Weds morning we left our anchorage to go searching for beach bars. Liz had read about a lovely one a few miles north of Gouvia so we went back on ourselves to have a look. Unfortunately, it didn’t even look open despite the beach looking very nice so on we went. Next stop Mouse Island opposite the Durrell’s Pink House and right under the flightpath to Corfu Airport! After taking some pictures (you can’t actually see the Durrell’s house from the sea), we then went on to find the Achilleion Palace. Sadly, again we couldn’t see it as it was behind trees.

Not that we were close to the runway or anything!

Our evening stop was the delightful village of Petriti on the south of Corfu. We anchored in 4m of sand and turquoise water and within ten minutes of getting there, we had both jumped in the water to cool off and check the anchor. The water was so clear that you could see that it was well dug in.

Petriti anchorage

We had heard good reports about the Panorama taverna about half a mile from the anchorage so we took the dinghy for a drink. The place was an oasis of calm and tranquility with lush gardens, hammocks, terrace and dockside tables. We decided to try their own wine (very good) and some calamari and tzatziki before retiring back to the boat for our main meal.

Entrance to the Panorama Taverna gardens

This morning (Thursday), we took the dinghy over to the town to do some food shopping. We had only meant to pick up some bread but the local supermarket was excellent and cheap so we ended up getting two 3 litre flagons of local wine, some swordfish, fruit and bottled water (that they were selling for €1.50 for 5 litres). This afternoon has been spent chilling on the boat having done a few chores but mainly watching the antics of people anchoring. The French (as usual) don’t bother to slow down when dropping the anchor and then look baffled when it drags. One British boat came in and politely asked if he was too close. We said no but he re-anchored anyway. Having said that, he re-anchored closer to us but at least he asked!

This evening we tried a couple more tavernas in Notos (about half a mile away) for a sundowner or two before going back on board to have the swordfish with salad and a nice bottle of cold, white wine.

Electra’s Botanic Garden Restaurant

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Northern Corfu

We left Erikoussa on Sunday morning feeling slightly refreshed although it was a bit of a rolly night. No idea where the swell came from as we should have been safely tucked away from it. I can only imagine it was the wash from various large ships passing on their way up into the Adriatic. We were so tired that it didn’t matter too much.

We made our way to the east side of Corfu to Kalami Bay where Lawrence Durrell had a house. The wind was very light so we motored the whole 4 hours. The bay was pretty full and we would have had to anchor in quite deep water so we decided to go around the corner to O. Agni. It was a delightful bay. We anchored and then took lines ashore using our new webbing. Our neighbours were Aussies who were very entertaining and quite good guard dogs when we took the dinghy round to the Durrell’s White House in Kalami for a drink. It has been beautifully renovated and has lots of quirky touches to reflect its heritage.

Lawrence Durrell’s White House

O. Agni

An Austrian boat had tried to anchor near us earlier but their anchor was over ours (we did have 60m out!) so they had given up but came back later and were seen off by our friendly neighbours who also had 60m of chain out.

The new webbing in action!

We ate out at a lovely taverna called Agni’s which was a short dinghy ride away. Being an hour ahead of Italy meant that it was still light at 9.30pm.

A fabulous meal at Agni’s

Today we checked in officially at Gouvia. It is a massive marina holding over 1500 yachts and has a local Port Authority office there. We anchored across the bay (saving money as always!) and took the dinghy across. It took quite a long time because there was a bit of a queue and all the paperwork is written out by hand. Still we had the necessary document to allow us to cruise in Greece for the year. As Gouvia is a major charter centre, it also has a fuel berth so we took advantage to refill our tanks from the crossing. It has been really hot today with our weather station registering 43 degrees in the sun!

We want to explore Corfu Town tomorrow so we decided to move round to O. Garitsas bay this evening which is just to the south of Corfu Town. In fact, we are currently anchored under the Venetian Fortress with a positive dirth of superyachts for company!

Venetian fortress in Corfu Town

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Greece at last!

Having settled our debts and finished off the last of our chores, we were ready to set off for Corfu. We left at 1pm, slightly later than planned but we should still make landfall before dark the next day. As previously mentioned, our course would take us along the Italian coast until Brindisi and then onto the islands just north of Corfu.

The wind and swell were coming from behind and at only 11 knots, it would take days to get to Corfu so we motor-sailed for the afternoon and took advantage of 1.5 knots of current. We were rocking and managed to get up to 8.9knots at one point. The combination of a newly coppercoated hull with the current meant that we were making very good speed at only 1700 revs. For the first 100 miles we were doing well over 7 knots and even after then we were doing around 6 knots so we were very pleased.

We arrived in Erikoussa around midday (Greek time) so it only took us 22 hours rather than the predicted 30. We dropped anchor with one other boat in the bay and were soon joined by a few other boats who were making it their lunchtime stop. One of them was a British flagged Oyster 55 who decided they wanted to get close and personal so dropped their anchor very close to us and of course the wind shifted a bit and their anchor was literally at the back of us. Luckily, there was just enough room for them to get their anchor up without hitting us. Numpties.

Erikoussa, Corfu

So far we have had a relaxing afternoon just chilling and even went for a swim to check on the anchor. Cold but turquoise and quite refreshing. Liz has decided to try out the new paddle board, even though the wind is now blowing sufficiently to top up the batteries. Let’s hope she doesn’t get swept out to sea!

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Batteries arrived and installed

The new batteries were delivered this morning (June 28) and installed this afternoon. They weighed a tonne. Each of the 4 domestic batteries weighed 35kg each and the engine battery around 25kg. However, all now in place and working so we are very happy.

New batteries finally arrived

We have completed most of our chores, including a last minute shop for fresh produce so that we can leave for Corfu late tomorrow morning after we have settled our bill. Our plan is to go directly to Erikoussa just north of Corfu island, which should take us around 30 hours. However, we go along the coast of Italy for quite a time so if there are any unforeseen problems, we can can divert into Brindisi or Otranto. The storms have finally abated so we should have the wind behind us with a moderate swell. Fingers crossed!

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We had visited many areas around Puglia last year when we were storm bound in Otranto and Brindisi as well as when we brought Nimmie back to Bari for the winter. However, there were a few places we hadn’t managed to see so with a few days to kill, off we travelled.

After picking up the hire car from the airport and paying nearly as much again for insurance and additional driver, we headed to Castel del Monte. It was built in the 13th century by Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Sicily. No one really knows why it was built but most people assume that it was as a hunting lodge. It is an extraordinary, white octagonal castle sitting on a hilltop.

An amazing circular courtyard at the castle

Fish stalls at Trani – very fresh!

Next stop, Trani. A pretty little port on the coast just north of Bari. This fortified town sits on a promontory and was an island at one time. It rivalled Bari in its heyday. Whilst we were there the fishing boats came in after their evening catch so supper was sorted!

 

 

It also had an amazing cathedral that is three churches on top of each other with even a Roman hypogeum underground. Sadly, photos weren’t allowed inside but it was very impressive with medieval paintings on the wall. There was a wedding about to take place in the main duomo and instead of a photographer capturing the entrance of the bride, they had a drone!

Sink hole at Grotte di Castellana

Next day, after a leisurely breakfast, we headed inland to the Grotte di Castellana. This is an amazing labyrinth of caves following an expedition in 1938 through the sinkhole that had been there for centuries. Indeed, the locals though that it was haunted as bats would come flying out of the mist to feed. The caves go some 70m down for several kilometres. It was fascinating to see. Of course, as we had a car we also took the opportunity to go shopping and pick up all the heavy or bulky essentials like wine, olive oil and loo roll!

On Sunday, we decided to go down to Gallipoli on the instep of the ‘boot’. This is not the same Gallipoli as the WWI battle in the Dardanelles but a very old city in the very south of Puglia. It was a charming place with lots of alleyways, restaurants and bars.

Cute alleyways in Gallipoli

We found a beach bar in Gallipoli!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gallipoli area is also renowned for its beaches. The town beach was okay but surely there were better ones nearby. Do not worry, dear reader, Liz was  able to sniff out a decent beach at fifty paces so off we went in search. True enough, we found not one but three!

Gorgeous beaches and wife!

Monday was a boat job day and on Tuesday we found a local golf course to try out. The weather in the morning had been atrocious with continuing gales and storms but the afternoon was very pleasant – overcast but warm. Today we needed to return the car so early start for Jo to take it back whilst Liz waited on the delivery of the batteries. They didn’t turn up but hopefully tomorrow…..

 

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