When I was writing about Polignano a Mare, I realized that maybe there was another perfect Apulian town that I overlooked. I suspect that there are many perfect towns in Apulia (Puglia in Italian). Here is one that I really liked and where I’ll be going back, Otranto.
I was so distracted by the perfect restaurant in Otranto (Peccato di Vino), that I forgot about the beach and the rest of the town. It has those things as well.
We took a quick moto taxi/tuk tuk ride to get a good overview and my driver was playing disco and dancing the whole time.
A world away from the disco taxi was the elegant cool wine restaurant which I might put on my list of places to try in Italy…
Our visit was short, so I’ll be back, especially to try the restaurant again. I might have been biased last time because the owner greeted us warmly with cool refreshing prosecco. She also called us beautiful which we appreciated considering how sweaty and bedraggled we looked.
Sapphire blue water, cute old white stone streets, a public beach, and easy access to other places (if you ever want to leave), Polignano a Mare has it all. The city is walled and the old part is pedestrianized. The only wheeled vehicles inside are pedicabs transporting customers and their luggage to the many hotels and B&Bs.
The old city has many shops but doesn’t feel excessively touristy (even though it is), and once in a while you can glimpse real people living their lives here.
Since visiting, I have been raving about this town. It just seems too perfect. Even in 95/34 degree heat.
We went just for a the day but I could see staying here for an entire vacation.
Outside the old city, there are also lots of streets and neighborhoods to explore, or stay in, but we only explored the old town. We parked in the piazza just outside the old walls, helped by old gentlemen sitting in the square (they helped explain the parking sign — lunch is free parking), and when we returned at the end of the day, the same gentlemen were doing their “passaggiata” (daily walk to be seen, see, and catch up with neighbors) in the square.
We ate breakfast at a cafe, Caffe Dei Serafini, with a jawdropping view. Utterly amazing. The restaurant is in a cave wall of the city on the cliff and has only one table for two/three out on their tiny balcony… but if you are lucky, you can get that table, or, at least, use it for photo ops.
While I thought Lecce was more intellectual, and Otranto had a smaller vibe, I think that Polignano a Mare has a good combination for an overall Apulian vacation. And it has those blue waters.
I’m told that Sicily and Sardegna have blue waters as well, but for now, these have been the most jewel like yet.
My photos were taken with my iPhone and I did not use a filter. The water really is that color. Better than on postcards.
Carla Leon and her brand, Kaleydo, is in her second year as a shoe designer. For now she’s got a shop in San Borja, here in Lima, Peru. She makes fashionable handmade shoes made-to-measure for $112.
Oddly, I got added to a fashionista group… and when Kaleydo was recommended to me, I immediately nixed the idea saying that I’d given up on bespoke shoes because after having them made in Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Colombia, I no longer believed that anyone could make me a shoe that I could use. Apparently, Carla takes this as a challenge and will not stop until the customer is satisfied. So, I gave her a try.
Carla’s showroom/shop is on a third floor walkup beside a pharmacy at Avenida San Luis 2033, apartment 204, San Borja. There is no indication that it’s a shop so you have to know where you are going. Carla doesn’t really speak English so it’s best to have some Spanish skills or take a friend with some Spanish skills when you go. Buy by appointment only.
While Carla’s designer shoes are all made with heels, she does also do really plain flat boring shoes! That’s what I’m getting. She can do any combination of her heels, toes, width, height, color, etc. completely completely completely custom made. And lots of sneakers. She has many brides who get pink heels made and matching sneakers for after the ceremony. Carla also makes boots and those cost 550 soles or $163. The shoes take about two weeks to be made but it depends on how customized they are. One can also buy the shoes off the shelf if they fit. Yes, she takes credit cards.
Carla likes to meet her clients the first time they come for custom made shoes. When I told Carla that when she was famous and had shops all over the world, she wouldn’t be able to measure every foot… she insisted, sweetly, that she would never want to give up tailoring the shoes to the person. She is an artist who loves her craft. With her logo of a peacock shaped like a shoe and her Tiffany colored bags, I predict that she will soon be a “I knew her when…”