Monday, 26 September 2011

Back in love with Salento

It’s been an odd few months. We’ve had a fantastic summer, despite a few ups and downs (in-laws related mainly), but the overall feeling at the beginning of September was that maybe this isn’t where we should be. More than a feeling, in fact; it was enough to drive us to the UK property websites to research whether we still have the means to return to the UK.

And then, just like that, we fell in love with Salento again.

This weekend sealed the deal, for me at least. It was gorgeously warm. Saturday we swam to a small island, which was deserted. We cast ourselves away for a few hours of swimming, sunbathing and beachcombing. Discovered broken pieces of terracotta, red and green sea urchin shells and a dried-up starfish clinging to a shard of pottery.

That evening we had dinner out at a cheap, family-run place in a palm-lined square. Two plates of meatballs, a large mixed grill, chips, wine, water, bread and two plates of vegetables all came to €30 for the three of us. It was all delicious, but the highlight was greens (chicory?) with chilli.

Sunday we swam to the island again. This time we weren’t alone there, but the water was even clearer than it had been on Saturday. We forfeited watching the Singapore Grand Prix for a few more hours in the sun and sea (who wouldn’t); then swam to shore and returned home, exhausted.

There are days when the lack of cash and jobs makes life here almost intolerable. But time with family, time outdoors and good food counteract these. We’re still not convinced we’re here for the duration – but at least, while we are here, we’re enjoying life to the full.

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