Troglodytes - Cave Man, Cave Woman - 9 1/2 Weeks - CycleBlaze

November 6, 2019

Troglodytes - Cave Man, Cave Woman

Gravina In Puglia to Matera

A short day in distance, but a long way back in time!

Since we did have a very short day into Matera (not much more than a morning run into Banff for a coffee!) we used the morning to have a tour of the 'cave church' in Gravina. Three euros each, and at 10 am in November, a private guide to show us around!

As with most places we've seen in the south so far, Gravina is a little 'down at the heels', and you can view this as a good thing or a bad thing. We're choosing to look at the good and the fact that Gravina, like most places we've been to here have not been overrun with tourism - yet. Sure they are a bit gritty and there's a lot of litter, but there is an authentic real life existence going on. This is Gravina.

A few pics taken this morning from the same spots as last night really show this. Soft light highlighting the architecture contrasted against the dark night sky ... beautiful. Same shot in the full light of day ... still beautiful, but you see all the warts and defects. All part of the rich pageant of life.

After our church tour we were back on the bikes for the short 30 km to Matera. No pics on this section ... same as yesterday ... Saskatchewan sandwiched between two paleolithic/Greek/Roman/Medieval towns. 

This description applies to the centers only ... both Gravina and Matera have 20th century 'real life' perimeters that are not that attractive. But once you get to the center, in the case of Matera 'The Sassi' , roughly translated as 'The Rocks"  you know why it's one of the first 7 UNESCO heritage sites.

The pic's will speak to what we saw, both in the big macro sense, and in the small details. We spent the afternoon just exploring ... and at night we made a pilgrimage to an up and coming gastronomic temple ...Dimora Ulmo Ristorante ... the polar opposite in terms of decor, ambience and presentation to the 'Pope of Quistello" that we experienced several weeks ago. But the end result, an exquisite meal, was the same.

Song of the Day, Mama by Wicked Dub Division Meets North East Ska Jazz Orchestra (possibly the longest band name ever!). Very unique song and great vid by a mash-up of two Italian groups. It seems a good fit for this very unique mashed-up, stone upon stone, falling down and building back up again place in Italy. Give it a listen and pretend you're here with us.

One of the tougher ones on this trip!
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The cave dwellings of Gravina ... much smaller scale than Matera, but essentially the same. Tourist crowd is much smaller too ... just us.
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New widows, a railing on the front steps ... ready to move in!
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Same pic as one from last night .... not quite as romantic but still very enchanting
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This is Italy so they still like thier bikes. However, both K and I noticed that since we have left Rome, we have not seen another person on the road on a bike!
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On the way to the 'Cave Church' with our guide ... he was opening the place up for the day!
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A bike or a car is a massive liability in a place like this ... and can you imagine just trying to make this place handicapped accessible!
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a bit closer look at the cave dwellings as we get closer to the cave church
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The 'cave church' is interesting ... just not very photogenic ... most of the stories and myths associated with this place revolve around the folks who lived here getting attacked and massacred .... 'cause you are in the bottom of a gorge in a cave with no where to go and you are fighting an up-hill battle, literally... the Tuscan's were at the top of hills and did OK!
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'Setting off in the morning' shot! Only this time we did a bunch of sight seeing before biking!
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Nope, not Gravina .... multiply by about 100 ... a portion of the Sassi in Matera
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Our hotel, Albergo del Sedile, is right on the edge of the Sassi and the more modern town. This square in the modern section on one side of our hotel has this cool sculpture by Salvador Dali
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We've seen a lot of cats in Italy, but all of them have been Skitty Kitties ... except this guy. He was content to get his picture taken and back scratched
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If you come to Matera, by all means take in the big picture views of the Sassi and the Duoma, but be on the look-out for all sorts of cool stuff tucked away in the most unlikely places
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... back to the big stuff ... another shot of the Sassi and the bell tower at the Duomo
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.... and the paleolithic cave dwellings across he gorge
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...back to the small stuff ... another very 'skitty kitty' .... there was a cave house ... not sure if it was being lived in ... with a score or more of cats running around . None were interested in getting their belly scratched
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twilight starting to descend over the Sassi ... at 4:45 pm! I think this is the most picturesque time of day here
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just gorgeous!
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Our hotel is the building on the right, and our room is the top floor with the window at the back and the balcony to it;s left ... great view over the square that is one of the main entry points to the Sassi
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K entering the gastronomic temple of Dimora Ullmo ... from the bumpf on this place, it looks like the chefs here apprenticed with Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana in Modena (ranked worlds best restaraunt in 2018 by whoever ranks this stuff) ... they still let us in and fed us.
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salut! ... still have to love travelling in November ... sure the sun sets early and it can be chilly .. but you can also get a table almost anywhere with an hours notice at most!
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perfect cod with fennel in a tomato broth ... yum
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may not look like much but this was sooooo umami ... potato soup with poached egg, pancetta, crispy porcini and bread ... paired with a really malty beer .. it was superb!
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Rigatoni with a lamb ragu ... just like Nona's .. but presented like your pretentious culinary school graduate friend would do! Still tastes great!
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... and a different riff on cheescake!
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our handicapped octopus table decor ... only six legs on this chap
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Karin Kaarsoo😊😊😊☺
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1 week ago
That's the wrap for today ... with the tasty beer pairing that accompanied the soup
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Karin KaarsooIt's not very often that these type of places pair things with beer!
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1 week ago

Today's ride: 29 km (18 miles)
Total: 2,940 km (1,826 miles)

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