Friday, June 29, 2007

Home - Garden Plants

If you remember my post on the 1st of May concerning East Lugtonridge Garden, this is a view of the plants I bought there. All are blooming well.

Please bear with me over the next week or so - my posting is likely to be a bit erratic.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Home - Wild Life 4

Also in Rozelle, we spotted this somewhat larger duck. In fact it looked quite like a small goose when it stretched up, but the colours are very mallard.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Home - Wild Life 3

This plant, growing wild at the pond in the Rozelle Estate, makes me think of foreign climes rather than the unpredictable weather systems in Scotland.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Home - Wild Life 2

Yesterday was a first. The first Red Squirrel to visit the garden - well the first one we've actually seen!

It was busy hoovering up the bird seed on the table and munching on the hanging fat balls. We watched it through the kitchen window (explains the slight distortion on some of the photos) for about 10 mins without worrying it in the least.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Home - Wild Life

For an extended period at the beginning of the year we had a grey squirrel visiting the garden eating the nuts - then it stopped and shortly afterwards I saw one dead at the side of the road and assumed that was it.

Very recently one had started coming back, but yesterday we had two. I know they are an alien species (introduction from the US) and that some carry a virus which the reds have not yet developed any anti-bodies against, but there is something .....

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Italy - Puglia - Porto Selvaggio

The final two Italian pictures come from the west coast of 'the heel' overlooking the Mar Ionio.

The National Park at Porto Selvaggio is quite something and stretches between two watchtowers on that coast.

It is a rocky coastline, but the waters are crystal clear and made for swimming. The rocks don't put off the locals who seem to have a penchant for baking themselves in the mid-day sun. Obviously it's not just the English!

The picture of the watchtower "Torre dell'Alto" (Torre actually means watchtower), one of the most photographed in Puglia, was taken from the beach. I read somewhere - can't track it down now - that it was supposed to have been opened to visitors by now, but that bureaucratic wrangling has caused the date to slip and slip.

However it was here that we heard and saw the Hoopoe (Upupa) which we'd wanted to get all that holiday. Just made our day.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Italy - Puglia - Galatina

Today's photos come from the town of Galatina.

The first set are of the main cathedral of St. Peter and St.Paul.

The first is of the frontage and the second is an interior shot of the roof.

The third shows you not to believe everything is as it seems - the frontage of the cathedral seen from the side.

The following two photographs are from the cloister at Basilica Santa Caterina d'Alessandria, since I wasn't allowed to take photographs inside the basilica itself. The link gives a minute indication of how impressive the church is.

It really is awe inspiring and the frescos look as fresh as the day they were painted.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Italy - Puglia - Poggiardo & Otranto

Firstly photographs from the market in Poggiardo, a little town very close to Spongano. It is large, with a good variety of suppliers providing everying from fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, clothes, shoes, handbags, used clothing .........

This town also has a very odd little bread supplier - I mean the shop is odd, not the bread, it's delicious. We've been here several times and you always get something extra stuffed in the bag, like a couple of rolls or a hard bread that has to be dipped in oil to eat.

The next photographs are from Otranto.

A 'must see' is the Cathedral which was consecrated in 1088 The basilica contains columns said to come from a temple of Minerva and has a superb 1165 mosaic pavement {please use the Cathedral link to get information on it - it's worthwhile doing so}.

It also has a crypt supported by forty-two marble columns.

However, don't neglect the rest of the town.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Italy - Puglia - Spongano (Palazzo Bacile)

Just in case you thought I'd got over mentioning the Palazzo Bacile di Castiglione in Spongano (which you must, must visit), you are wrong. I'll make this the last day I mention it though.

First a picture of one of our starters for dinner outside the Casotto. It was as good as it looks.

Next, fresh lemons anyone? Just one of the fruit trees within the Palazzo grounds.

For a change from fruit, here is one of flowers within the grounds.

The final photograph is of the swimming pool in the grounds.

If the little selection has not made you want to visit the the Palazzo Bacile di Castiglione in Spongano, then I don't know what will. You really, really MUST!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Italy - Puglia - Gallipoli

Gallipoli is located in the province of Lecce on the west coast of Salento.

It is known as the queen of the 'Basso Ionio', mainly because of the fabulous setting of the old city nestling as it does on a small island which is connected to the mainland by a bridge.

The city is dominated by two structures;

the 15th century castle

and the Baroque cathedral full of Salentine and Neapolitan work.

There are many more churches of many hues, each having tin-glazed earthenware painted with flowers and fruits, both inside and out.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Italy - Puglia - Spongano (Palazzo Bacile)

We now arrive at where we stayed for the final week of our holiday, and, though I'm not being paid for it, I intend to give this place the most enormous plug.

Palazzo Bacile di Castiglione in Spongano is, without reservation, one of the nicest places I have ever stayed in. The owners, Baron Alessandro and his wife Sarah, and their caretaker Giuseppe are among the nicest and kindest people you could meet and the accommodation is to highest standard.

I think there is a soporific drug in the air - this is probably the most restful place I know.

Spongano itself makes no pretence to be a tourist resort; it is a working village, but almost all of the people we met were very friendly and helpful. It is however, an excellent centre for exploring the heel of Italy.

Let me be quite clear, Palazzo Bacile di Castiglione is a place that you MUST stay at.

The first photograph is of the courtyard in front of Casotto Barone which we stayed in on our visit in 2005. The Casotto is just beyond the umbrella.

This is the Casotto Martino where we stayed this year - and yes that's a pre-prandial drink.

That day I also took 2 evening photographs. The first of a superbly shaped tree (the daylight version is also on Flickr).

I think this photograph turned out rather well. It obviously was taken before we finished the wine!

Apart from the usual birds around (including an incredible number of magpies) we were entertained by bats (don't know which type) and by Scops Owls which have a gentle call, but are otherwise silent - no wing sound at all.

Just in case you haven't got my meaning -

YOU MUST STAY AT Palazzo Bacile di Castiglione.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Italy - Puglia - San Cataldo and Otranto

Today's first port of call is San Cataldo. It was the port for Lecce, but now is really just a pleasure beach. This is early in the season and during the week, so it's very quiet.

Further south on that coast is the town of Otranto The first photo is of the outer harbour and the second of the cathedral. More shots from here on another day.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Italy - Puglia - Lecce

And so further south to the beautiful city of Lecce.

The first two photographs are of the bell-tower of the Cathedral; one during the day, one at night.

I took the photo since it amused me. Look at the enlarged version and check the cherub under the feet of the statue. I'll bet the mason enjoyed himself.

A mention for a restaurant you shouldn't miss if you are in Lecce - Mamma Lupa - limited menu, but good cooking, good service and great ambiance.

Continuing in the eating and drinking mode, we stopped at this bar for morning coffee (honestly), but what made it very interesting to me was ......

......... this painting hung behind the bar.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Italy - Puglia - Ostuni

The selection today,a bit inland and a bit higher, comes from the white city of Ostuni.

The first photograph is of the statue of Saint Oronzo dominating the main square.

The next two photographs are of the ceiling of the cathedral - the colours are still incredible.

Lastly a photograph of us trying out more modern artifacts!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Italy - Puglia - Egnazia

South of Monopoli going towards Brindisi, you come across the archeological excavation of the abandoned Roman town of Egnazia (several different spelling exist). It is believed that the site has been built on since 16th Century before Christ. The site does have signboards in Italian and English, so you can begin to understand the layout of the various basilicas (basilici?) and public buidlings. It is quite impressive, but so are a lot of the sites in Italy!

The first two photos show the general layout of the site.

The third photo is of the the older road around which the town was built; the Via Traiana, an alternate route of the Via Appia from Benevento to Brindisi. This is in white limestone and you can see the ruts of the carts which travelled along it. It is said that Horace traveled on it in 38 BC on his famous trip from Brindisi to Rome.

The town was supposedly abandoned in the 10th century due to repeated invasions by the Goths.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Italy - Puglia - Polignano a Mare & Monopoli

Down by the sea today to visit Polignano a Mare in the first two photographs .........

...... and the second two from Monopoli.

This photograph is of the door of the church and if you click it up to large size, you'll see how 'interesting' it is!

I've started posting the photos on Flickr.