Saturday, 6 December 2014
Italy: The Beach
I guess there's not masses to say about the beaches. A beach is, I guess, a beach. On Sunday we packed our beach bags and headed off south in search of "the Maldives of Salento". We didn't find it; but we found a couple of other very passable places to stop for a swim. I've just spent a very enjoyable half hour searching for them on Google maps and have managed to pinpoint the exact locations on the map.
The first place we stopped was Leuca, which is where the Ionian and Adriatic seas meet. Nancy Dell'olio promised me in a magazine article that the colour of the sea here was dazzling. It was pretty, certainly, but I think the Adriatic looked maybe a little more spectacular further north.
We found our spot on the beach and made like tourists. For me, this involved slathering myself with a combination of SPF20 tanning oil (which needed using up) and SPF 30 spray on (for the hard-to-reach bits) until it formed a paste and all the sand stuck to me. I found my sarong in a bag the other day and it still smells of this day. I have put it to wash but I don't want to.
I rocked the bikini here too. I had to give myself a good talking to because, yknow, I am pretty fat; I just kept repeating that phrase. "How to get a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body." I like swimming in a bikini: it is totally different to swimming in a suit (duh!). It helped that everybody else on the beach was also wearing a bikini, regardless of age or size.
We basked for a while, reading and taking the odd dip in the sea. It felt like we were there for hours but it was probably not very long; we're neither of us particularly beach types. After a while we decamped to this shady cafe and refreshed ourselves. You can see the spot where we were sunbathing just behind the parasol pole.
After this we went for a short walk and then Tutt drove us onwards. This was a bit fraught because the roads were very windy. Being stuck behind a bus was a very good thing because it meant there was no need for Italian-style speeding, but it was all a bit tense, especially when she tried to overtake the bus after being beeped and it started moving, so she stopped and then everyone stopped - bus, person behind, person thinking about coming from the front - and I shouted at her: "Just go!". Awkward. I was relieved when we were discussing this the other day that she didn't seem to remember, or at least, pretended she didn't. It meant that by the time we stopped here, conversation was short.
But it didn't matter, because look how fab this is! It was all very rocky and we had to squeeze round a barrier to get down the steps, but everyone else was. There was a big boulder down there that seemed to have detached from the rock face, which is probably why, but the Italians evidently don't care about that sort of thing. The lip of the shore was concrete and we lay out our towels in the shade - my kind of beach, no pesky sand - and I did some more swimming, but was not quite brave enough to just pitch off the edge like everybody else, even though the water was pretty deep.
You can see my shadow in this one. Glorious sea! Just, wow. And then we returned to Lecce and had that amazing meal with all the cheeses. Magical.