Oh, Ostuni!

I got up at about 7.30 on Sunday to spend the whole morning eating breakfast and reading by the pool while the sun was shining. At around midday, we could see another storm rolling in and decided to get ourselves dressed and hop in the car before it reached us.

We’d originally planned to visit a nearby beach for a quick swim before having lunch, but our beach mission was a bit of a fail (we somehow ended up in a creepy-looking caravan park) and the sky was looking ominous, so we skipped the swim and drove into Ostuni for lunch, driving back past lush olive oil farms, vineyards and gorgeous crumbling houses.

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As I always forget is the case in Europe, Ostuni was a ghost town on Sunday. We were worried that our lunch spot of choice would be closed, but luck was on our side and we pulled into a nearby parking spot – just as the heavens opened – to find that Nautilus was open and just begging for us to take a seat inside.

Descending the stairs into a cave-like space, we found a very welcome retreat from the rain and thunder outside, with just a few other tables occupied. Happily ending up at yet another restaurant with a seafood and fish-only menu, we ordered our food and I sipped my first glass of prosecco of the trip.

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There was only one waiter in the restaurant, who doubled as the host, and the atmosphere felt incredibly cosy and laid back. I wanted to take a photo of the counter (but resisted so I didn’t embarrass them/myself) as it looked so quintessentially Italian with the bible, rosary beads and a model Ferrari car all displayed alongside the credit card machine and reservation diary.

We shared a mixed seafood pasta to start and I had seared tuna for my main, served with a trio of infused olive-oils (orange, chilli and lime). Our waiter suggested that the orange one would go particularly well with my tuna and he was right, it was rather delicious.

We shared the tiramisu for dessert, which was very simple but extremely rich and creamy, balanced out by a dusting of coffee on the top.

Once we’d finished our lazy long lunch, we got back in the car and, with Ross on crutches and the footpaths slippery from the rain, opted for a four-wheeled tour of Ostuni. The city of Ostuni is a series of levels, staircases, narrow roads, alleys and arches, making it a nightmare to drive through (particularly at night) but even in the rain, it was extremely beautiful and I pulled over approximately 265 times to take photos of the whitewashed city.

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Sadly the buildings weren’t as starkly contrasted against a grey sky as they would have been a blue, but it was still a stunning place with loads of charm and character on every corner.

We returned to the supermarket in the late afternoon to pick up some ingredients for dinner.

I whipped us up a spaghetti dish using a huge bag of super fresh mussels (scrubbing off the barnacles and debearding them one-by-one) in a simple but tasty tomato, parsley white wine and chilli sauce. De-licious!

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