To Gallipoli - Skipping About the Continent - CycleBlaze

April 8, 2022

To Gallipoli

I can’t say too much about today - other than Wow. A ride along the Ionian Sea on a brilliant sunshine day. The colors of the day were blue – skies and seas in shades of blue ranging from aquamarine to azure blue to a deep dark cyan. There were a few challenges - some small hills, a little wind, but oh what a day.

 Other than the sunshine and blue sky, the start of the day was barely noteworthy. A mile into the ride I passed through the center of San Pietro in Bevagna and discovered a town with open cafes, children heading off to school, and even a little traffic. The route took me down to the sea’s edge for a little teaser of what the day would bring, then headed back inland for the next five miles, crossing into Lecce province. Similar to yesterday, traffic was light, the ankle felt great and I was moving along enjoying life.

Early morning traffic jam in San Pietro in Bevagna
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Blue sky, sparkling seas - it promises to be a glorious ride
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Rolling along on a well-paved, traffic-free road
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I think it would be more fun to ride a real horse
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Yes, we're smiling in Torre Lapillo
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We're curious in Torre Lapillo
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As I made my way south to Gallipoli, the coastal towns were larger bustling with activity. Granted, many establishments were still closed, but gone was the sometimes eerie sensation of being out of synch with normal time.

 The largest of these seaside towns was the beautiful Porto Cesareo, with its many coves and little small capes. The place was arresting, literally. I stopped along one small marina harboring small fishing boats and an amusement park. I rounded the small cape, and there was another cove with a lovely promenade where I stopped to savor my first gelato of the tour. Then I rounded another, somewhat larger cape that led to an even larger cove lined with palm trees, sandy beaches and seaside restaurants. A wonderful bike path wound alongside the promenade, following the contours around the capes and coves of this wonderful seaside town seaside town – a true delight.

Porto Cesareo
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Porto Cesareo
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Scott AndersonThis is how I remember this town. A beautiful little place.
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4 months ago
Seems a bit like naming your boat Titantic II
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In Porto Cesareo
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In Porto Cesareo
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First gelato of the tour - festooned with party hats
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Rachael AndersonLooks delicious!
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3 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesThe gelato looks great, but the hats are puzzling. They are lighter weight than the main cone, so maybe are reserved for hat duty? Is one upside down and three right side up an artistic touch?
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3 months ago
In Porto Cesareo
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A look back at Porto Cesareo
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One more look back at Porto Cesareo
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Uh-oh
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After Porto Cesareo, the road again left the coast, passing deeper inland through olive groves and small farms before winding up and over a small headland. The climb up was not bad, and the one steep segment was harder on my legs than my ankle. I am still wearing the brace, primarily for stability when I scramble around off the bike, but the ankle seems to be meeting all challenges thus far encountered.

 The steep drop off the headland brought me to Santa Caterina, another lovely coastal town with a promenade and bike path along the water’s edge. The coast was rockier here, a place where I could have spent the afternoon mesmerized by the sight and sound of waves crashing against the shore.

Along the way to Gallipoli
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Two happy Norwegian cyclists on a week-long tour of Puglia
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Looking back at Santa Catarina
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Another look back at Santa Catarina
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Looking ahead to Gallipoli
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The weather had been spectacular all day – sunshine with temperatures in the low sixties. The wind was WSW at ~14 mph, a bit stiffer than yesterday and picking up slightly as the day wore on. After stopping at one of the many seaside eateries in Santa Maria al Bagno for a panini and espresso. I turned directly into the wind for the home stretch to Gallipoli. It wasn’t too bad and I was soon winding through the small alleyways of the old city toward my B&B. I was a little bit early for the 3 pm check-in and so found a sunny spot against the wall and enjoyed the tourists, townsfolk, and young men on motor scooters who passed through my little 3-way intersection.

The B&B proprietor arrived promptly at 3 pm and opened the door for me and Vivien George, waving us both in. I had communicated at booking about having a bicycle and had been assured there was a safe spot for Vivien George. Therefore, I was a bit taken aback when the door opened onto a long stone stairway up to the second floor, where both Vivien George and I were to be housed for the night. Perhaps people who don’t cycle are do not consider stairs an impediment worth mentioning. She graciously carried my panniers while I took Vivien George up to her spot on the terrace. Another ankle challenge faced and met.

Now here's another challenge
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Suzanne GibsonGood for you that you and your ankle can manage the stairs! Hopeless for us with e-bikes. With all the freedom the bikes give us, there are limitations, too.
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4 months ago
Rich FrasierYes, well done for heaving the bike up that staircase! That's a challenge even on 2 good ankles!
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4 months ago
Vivien George hunkered down for the night
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I explored a little bit of the town before dinner, arriving at the tip of Gallipoli just as the sun was setting. I was the sole patron for dinner, a small seafood restaurant recommended by the B&B. The waiter kept looking out the window for passersby that might stop in. There are a handful tourists here who wander the maze of alleyways or stroll along the seawall. But their small numbers do not provide enough demand to meet the large supply of restaurants and shops that cater to the larger crowds later in the year. While I felt a bit bad for the restaurant owners and others who rely on tourism, I was definitely enjoying the calm before the storm. The meal was good and satisfying – I got my sea urchins, with linguini.

The Gallipoli Castle
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The tip of Gallipoli as sunset approaches
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Isola Sant'Andrea Lighthouse
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And the suns sets on a most wonderful day on the bike
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Today's ride: 36 miles (58 km)
Total: 88 miles (142 km)

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