Arriving in Puglia

At the beginning of a trip there is always the travel day – the early start, the wait at the airport, the anxiety of the unknown.  But then there is the arriving in which Puglia did us proud.  We touched down at 12.30pm and by the time we had got through the simple passport check at Bari airport, the luggage was ready to be collected. We will skip the minor accident which caused delays on Bari’s ring road.  An hour later, we left the main road going south and took potluck and had lunch by the sea at San Vito.  We were richly rewarded with bright sunshine, a cool wind, searingly fresh sea food including ricci (sea urchins) and the wild flowers of spring.  No wine for lunch – it was difficult enough keeping awake to drive on in the afternoon.

An hour and a bit later, following a snooze in a layby, we arrived at Cellino San Marco, a convenient centre for a cluster of important wineries which serve the Salento peninsula, with a beautiful hotel, the Kelina.  We really enjoyed our stay here in the beautifully restored, traditional stone building, with very pleasant staff, a good restaurant and wi-fi. Here are some pictures of the intererior.
The town itself is small and was brought to a complete halt by a funeral for which everyone turned out and the band played.  By early evening, it was just the older men who stood around and passed the time of day until suddenly the evening meal called and they vanished on their bicycles.  Something don’t change over the decades!
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On this first evening we ate very well at Bolognini, situated in an old and beautifully restored traditional working cellar.  Here the walls are kitted out with wine racks to a very high ceiling and with barrels in their holders.  The food was excellent – full marks to mushrooms stuffed with a finely chopped funghi porcini to die for – and we drank the owner’s own Negroamaro:  Don Gianni, Negroamaro Rosso Salento IGT, 2006, €16.  A deep ruby colour, an intense nose of red and some black fruit with the liquorice and cloves of old oak, more of the same on the palate but with very good refreshing acidity, salty, fair intensity, good length.  Welcome to Puglia!
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2 Responses to “Arriving in Puglia”

  • winefriend:

    Thank you – we really loved the hotel and enjoyed the stay. I will put some photos of the hotel on the Puglia pages shortly – I might add them to the ‘arriving in Puglia’ page. With best wishes to you all.

  • We want to thank you for choosing our hotel for your stay in Salento (Italy).
    Best regardas
    The Staff of Kelina Hotel nel Salento

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