Tuesday, 8 October 2013

And then the CAGE comes down!

Landing in Igoumenista, Greece, we drove inland to Ioaninna. (Disclaimer: I may get some of the Greek names a bit wrong. And don't ask me how to pronounce them.)

The little streets of the Kastro. There was a small neighbourhood housed inside a citadel, with walls all around. It took us some time to find our way into the initial walls, and then the part with the Tomb had separate walls with only one entrance. We nearly gave up, but that's mostly because we heard it was closed on the day we arrived. 

In front of a religious building is the tomb of Ali Pasha. Not sure why he wanted a cage put on top of it. And in front of that is a very nice bin. 

A cafe with the ruins of older buildings next to it. Interesting that they need four chimneys. 

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Caves and Hagrid Houses

Matera, Italy

After the Amalfi coast we ventured east to Matera - a town with caves dug all through the hillside. It was a maze of paths and buildings above and below ground.

The cathedral was also fairly impressive. But what we really wanted to see were the churches that had been built inside the caves. 

Initially we tried to find our way without a map, but soon realised that we would become hopelessly lost. The first cave church we went to was allegedly the best. It was also closed. We thought it might have been closed for lunch, as were many places, but the lady in the information centre just said that it was closed in a definite way. 

You can stare at the view for a long time and always see new things. 
This is the view from a hillside that contained two cave churches. We could only find one of them. A kid had lost his family around here and looked very scared, but someone helped him. 

This kitchen has a rarity - an early spork. Spoon in one end, fork on the other. (It's hanging above and to the left of the little shelf-alcove hewn into the wall.) It was in a house that was carved into the hillside. The man who lived here also had an adjoining stable for his horse.

This was a temporary church used for a short time when another was out of service.
Upon leaving, a child saw Yannick and grabbed him around his legs, possibly mistaking him for their mum. I laughed. 

Alberobello, Italy
After Matera was a small town called Alberobello. This place had buildings with distinctive roofs, called trulli (singular trullo). I thought they looked quite like Hagrid's hut from Harry Potter. Not sure what the painted symbols mean. Most of the trulli had been turned into souvenir shops, and one of them said something like "Come Inside to Find Out What the Symbols Mean" but it was a bit creepy and we figured you'd have to pay so we skipped that. 

Even the church was trulli.

We stayed in a campground just on the outskirts of town. The receptionist informed us that there was a beer festival that night, and we ended up employing our earplugs. Judging from the noise, they had barely stopped to sleep before resuming the festivities in the early morning when us sober folk were stirring. Hard partiers, those Alberobellians. 

Very close by was Locorotondo which we saw in the evening. 
I quite liked this blue door.

The historic quarter was nice to look at. Here are some other tourists looking down an alley. 

This is that alley. 

Here we found some trulli delicious gelato - I forced Yannick to go back for seconds of the dark chocolate. It tasted like brownies and pudding. Though I did feel a bit ill after.