Carol Forster column

Porto Cesareo
Porto Cesareo
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On Sunday, we went on a merry jaunt along the Ionian coast with lovely Maria Rosa Cavalera and her husband, Claudio.

First, we visited popular seaside resort Porto Cesareo, which is picture postcard perfect, with its colourful boats, fishermen mending nets and clear turquoise sea.

Meanwhile, several boats arrived at the shore with their fishing crews.

It was a very hot, sunny day so swimmers and sunbathers completed the scene.

There’s also a tiny island offshore, a nature reserve with no human habitation, called ‘The island of rabbits’ – because it is home to so many of the furry ones.

Those rabbits ‘have it good’ I can tell you.

They are probably the luckiest Watership Downies on the planet in fact.

After this, we drove along the coast to pretty Santa Caterina and strolled down to a beachside café, where gentle Brazilian sounds were playing, and sat on wooden steps leading down to pristine rock pools and crystal clear sea.

We stayed there awhile, observing the sea life, like children, with awe and wonder.

Little fish darted hither and thither; a large-clawed crab climbed over a seaweed rock and tiny crustaceans did their thing.

A toddler enjoyed the scene, with his mother, amazed by the strange ways of the sea creatures.

After our time in Santa Caterina, we continued along the coast to Gallipoli.

Here we spotted a lot of fish swimming in the water; some tiny, others bigger but all in the shallows where nearby fishermen sat by the harbour wall, and James skillfully balanced on the rocks leading down to the sea, thanks to his climbing skills.

We stopped to have a cappuccino and, in Maria Rosa’s case, an interesting Ginseng coffee.

James enjoyed seeing the cream-toned architecture for the first time, and the glittery seas.

The heat became oppressive, so we meandered through the cooler streets of the old town, which are narrow, shadowed and picturesque, but currently thronged with tourists.

Then, late afternoon, and satiated with the loveliness of it all, we headed back to Lecce for a siesta.