2017 – Puglia Region – Travel Day to Manduria

Today was a travel day – I’m writing the blog this evening from our beautiful patio in Manduria. Antimo rented a fabulous vacation villa for us in the heart of town. Check out the pictures!

Large bedroom with stella ceilings. The perfect balance of contemporary modern mixed with house original tile floors, doors, and ceilings. Kitchen all prepped and ready for us. A welcome gift of cookies, pasta, and wine. Who needs anything else? The wine is the oldest bottled wine from this region. Our perfect patio!

Ricardo and I were saying that if we had a vacation place in Italy this would fit us to a “T”. Before I tell you about our evening, here are a few Musings from Bologna/Modena and the trip to Manduria:

Maggi Pizzaria– Okay, so this is Italy and we have to forgive some things that are not like the US. But seriously, this restaurant ran out of red wine the day we arrived and didn’t get any in stock until the day we left. Honestly, Ricardo did not consume all their red wine – although he might have tried given the chance. I understand that the wine of this region is a white frizzante and that Italians, like Americans, enjoy beer with their pizza, but really no red wine? Luckily, we brought wine from a winery we had visited a few days before or else it could have been catastrophic!

WIFI/GPS – I paid for an International plan so that I could use WIFI while we were here. The car we rented this time did not have a GPS but I wasn’t too worried, as I had Google Maps on WIFI, or so I thought. One day we were meeting Antimo and another group of people from Portland and about halfway to our destination I finally got the WIFI to work. ME: panic, and sweat, RICARDO: driving calmly and trying to follow my louder than normal voice telling him to turn at the 2nd exit off the roundabout.

But the real harry, scary day was today, trying to get to the Bologna Airport. The damn…. f…..ing WIFI/GPS didn’t work at all! I used more bad language in a half an hour than I’ve used in years, well, maybe months, well, maybe a few days, but it was a lot! ME: shit, damn, f…. RICARDO: driving calmly and trying to follow the street signs. Of course, not all the street signs pointed us to the airport, so there were a couple of u-turns needed, but I have to say Ricardo did a fabulous job. Me? I was a nervous wreck. Luckily Antimo was Johnny on the spot at the meeting point and guided us to the car rental return.

Now to navigate the Bologna airport.

AirItalia – This was an interesting experience and so happy Antimo was with us to figure out the check-in process. Now you would think…remember where we are…. that when you check in at one of the kiosks that you could check in, pay for luggage, get your boarding pass, etc. Aahhh, no! Antimo figured out how to check us all in at the kiosk, then we got in line to drop off the luggage, but we have to pay for the luggage. Can we pay where we drop it off? Aahhh, no! We had to go to the biglietti (ticket) office for AirItalia (walk, walk, walk, get your steps in for the day), and pay for our luggage. Then we went back to the luggage drop off (walk, walk, walk) and they weighed it. Thank goodness no one’s luggage was overweight or we’d have to go back to the ticket office and pay more. And…. really thankful that they didn’t weigh us!

This evening’s plans were to pick up another couple here in Manduria and go to a local family’s home to make pizza and puccia. We met the nicest couple from Gresham and visited a delightful Mandurian family who welcomed us into their home. They had a pizza oven in their basement which is a beautiful space. Anna and I even learned a new way to make pizza. The husband just kept adding wood and pizzas to the oven. I don’t recall how many were made. A special pizza that I’d never made before had a ricotta stuffed edge to it. Quite unique and tasty too!

Our gracious host started making pizzas. He was constantly at the oven adding wood or adding pizzas. He cooked them all perfectly. Our hosts in their downstairs kitchen. Me and the kids. They are just lovely and so courteous. We had a great time trying to communicate. However, the boys spoke a little more English so we actually could carry on a bit of a conversation. Anna and Greg on the left, family in the middle and Ricardo and I on the right – and Antimo front and center! Pizza with a crust stuffed with ricotta. Antimo, Greg and our hostess stuffing the puccia.  

And after all this, we went out for Gelato! It was fabulous! 

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