ITALIA Day 9: Hills, Hills, Hills (and Dancing)

GOOD EVENING! (Here, at least). I have to say, I’m feeling pretty impressed with my mom and I, as we finished our 38 miles rather swiftly today. The great part about that is that I am actually posting about today, today! ๐Ÿ™‚

So, I knew I had reason to be nervous when we had our route rap 30 minutes earlier than usual this morning. Turns out these were the reasons:

Hill Number 1...just the beginning
Hill Number 1…just the beginning

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Hill 1, continued.
Hill 1, continued.
Oooh, pretty!
Oooh, pretty!
Hill 2. Probably said the F-word 10 times at this point.
Hill 2. Probably said the F-word 10 times at this point.
AHHHHH I'm dying!!!!
AHHHHH I’m dying!!!! (Oh hey, pretty flowers…)
Hill Number 3 of 238912390. Cue the F-word again, but it wasn't as bad as it looks.
Hill Number 3 of 238912390. Cue the F-word again, but it wasn’t as bad as it looks.

Nonetheless, I was able to tackle these beasts again, albeit at a glacial pace.

Our first stop of the morning occurred at a lovely little cafe in the town of Cisternino (panoramic picture to come!).

After enjoying a motivating snack of coffee and gelato, we next headed for the town of Ostuni, where we actually got to see more:

View on the way to Ostuni
View on the way to Ostuni
Ostuni from afar
Ostuni from afar
Ostuni!
…aaaaaand Ostuni!

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LOLLLLL
LOLLLLL

Called La Cittร  Bianca (“The White Town”), Ostuni has been inhabited since ancient times. Many of its buildings are repainted white each year to maintain the name. While there are old buildings everywhere in Europe, the whitewashing of these ones gives this town an even older feel, slightly reminiscent of ancient Roman and Greek influences. Definitely an amazing spot for those interested in Puglia!

Side adventure: we got to see the “Italian Stonehenge”, Dolmen di Montalbano! While small, it was awesome to see a sight that’s been there since 200 BC. Check it!

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We got back to the hotel at around 3:30; I took the liberty of taking more pictures. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this yet, but due to a MORE than welcome oversight, we are here for 2 extra days (leaving EARLY Sunday morning). I know, life sucks. I hate being stuck here:

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(In actuality, my reaction after finding out about our extended stay was as follows:)

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Tonight’s dinner began with an aperitivo at 7:00 in the hotel bar and a luscious dinner in the hotel at 8:00. THE ROOM WAS AMAZING!!!!

Aperitivo time!
Aperitivo time!
Dinner room
Dinner room
One of our guides, the ever-stunning Jane!
One of our guides, the ever-stunning Jane!

I feel like I talk so much about the food here and am never very specific. That’s boring! While it slipped my mind to take pix of everything, I do have a picture of one important Pugliese dish you should familiarize yourself with: taralli!!!

Taralle on the right.
Addictive substance found on the right.

Taralli are everywhere here and, like the gelati, are basically crack-in-a-snack. I make it a point to eat at least 10 at every meal we have (scratch that, that happens accidentally because I’m powerless to taralli) and my mom and I bought 3 bags…for the plane ride home. While made simply out of flour, water, and oil, they are often also made with chocolate, peppers, or, especially in Puglia, primitivo wine!

Our night ended with a special surprise: traditional Pugliese folk music and dancing! Better pictures to come:

The band who rocked out for us
The band who rocked out for us…amazing!

We danced the pizzica pizzica, a kind of tarantella,ย and were joined by a hilarious German couple who basically showed us how it’s done. Seriously, I need to get my hands of some of these other pictures, because this was a truly awesome way to end the night.

Tomorrow’s gonna be a sappy day for IC. REALLY, REALLY sappy. Get ready for it. Until then, buona notte!

Thought of the day: Put yourself out there. Why have regrets about what you could have done today?

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