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Thursday, 4 June 2009

You'd see them wearing their baggies

The Gargano in Puglia, is a promontory on the Italian Adriatic coast, north of Bari and most of the promontory has been designated a national park.

The area is limestone and the coastal strip has attractive natural features such as caves and sea arches and pretty bays; although most of the bays have large campsites and cafes. There is some surf and our campsite is busy with people in VW campervans and flowery shorts, or baggies, carrying boards for wind and kite surfing.

The houses are white here, in comparison to the colours of Tuscany and the Bay of Naples and often have outside staircases leading to roof terraces. Beyond the towns and campsites there is a strip of olive trees and vines. Farmers in Puglia seem to be doing their best to meet the demand in Chorlton for olive oil and olives. As mono crops go, olives groves seem to co-exist with some wildlife and wildflowers although most undergrowth beneath the trees is burnt off and the soil is ploughed or mulched. Farm selling and small farmers markets are common and it is easy to buy the local produce.

Inland the mountains reach over 1,000 metre and the vegetation changes with a much wetter climate. The forest is dense beech and pine, under which grow ferns and shrubs: We spotted a Wild Boar and three piglets. No one appears to live in this part of the Gargano, making conservation simpler, with just walking and cycling activities to manage.

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