Beach Picnic in Puglia

It was our second last day in our beautiful Puglian paradise, and we were hungry to see some more of its famous coastline and beaches.

We’d heard good things about Baia dei Turchi, so packed up a picnic lunch and made the 90-minute journey to the south eastern coast of Puglia.

The sun was shining as we followed the signs to the beach, and we eventually pulled into a dirt track and stopped at a little makeshift hut to pay for our parking in a big field – which looked to be nowhere near the sea.

Lacking any appropriate Italian, I gestured to the man to look at Ross’ foot (which was dressed in full moon boot), and after hesitating he pointed to a sign directing us to Torre Santo Stefano, which we gathered was less of a walk.

After a short drive, we parked up and made our way down a bumpy dirt track framed by trees.

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We came out the other side to a small, rocky cove with only a handful of people sitting on the beach. It wasn’t the idyllic white sandy beach we’d hoped for (as Australians our beach standards are always set extremely high), but the water was clear and the sun was out, so we made ourselves a little home on the sand.

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The water was as warm as it had been the day before, and I had a good old splash about before returning to my towel to set up the picnic. The food was a bit of a mish mash of what we had left in the fridge, but when it doubt, just pile everything onto some bread and call it a sandwich.

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(Which is exactly what I did.)

I’d also packed a bottle of prosecco, but had unhelpfully forgotten to pack a corkscrew (if only it had been a champagne-style bottle where the cork flies open itself), so we settled with water, got comfy on our towels and got stuck into our respective books.

I read a few books on the trip, but my favourite was this one – The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. It’s the most amazingly-written story of a childhood filled with unbelievable neglect and abuse but also, paradoxically, a lot of love. It was only half-way through that I realised it was an autobiography and I couldn’t believe that what I’d been reading was true. Please read it.

After a few hours, the sun disappeared behind a seemingly never-ending cloud and the wind picked up, so we saw it as a good opportunity to drive to our next destination, Torre del’Orso.

On the way, we pulled in at a little roadside shop which was heaving with beautiful fruit and vegetables, run by a lovely Italian Nonna.

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We decided to take home one of the many homemade preserves or jams available, and after she personally recommended it, we chose the fig confettura. It’s incredibly delicious – I actually just ate some on a piece of toast with lashings of butter.

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Torre del’Orso was a resort town and so was comparably more built up than other beaches we’d seen. But, with a gorgeous coastline, white sand and crystal clear water, we could see why it had become a tourist destination. A lot of people had already left for the day, so we set out our towels and went straight into the water, which we pretty much had to ourselves.

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After playing a few silly games in the water, we walked back up the hill to journey back home – past fields of prickly pears where I pulled over for a photo – and spend our last night in our Puglian trullo.

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