Puglia, Italy Day 4: Electric Bikes and Haunted Farms in Alberobello

This is the continuation of the posts about about our trip to Puglia, Italy, earlier this summer for a friend’s wedding. I’m planning my own wedding, which is happening this December — which is why I’m just getting to this now. Here’s Saturday, Sunday, and Monday’s posts.

Tuesday 9/16
Alberobello, Noci, Putignano

I wake Olivier up at 9am. Olivier does not want to be up. We argue again over whether to take a shower. I say it dries out your skin and hair. Olivier says I smell.

I say I’m tired at 11am. Olivier smirks of victory.

We eat breakfast from Francesco on patio: espresso, pain au lait, madeleines, jam, milk. I decide European milk tastes way better than American milk. But why? I wonder: Do they feed milk cows hormones in the US?

alberobello 15

Rent electric bikes. Genius. 5 electric speeds help us to go faster (up to 25km per hour) when we get lazy. I get map of our route from the bike people, then we take them back to get our cell phones at the apartment.

alberobello  16

Olivier forgets map at house. Olivier says I forgot the map.

Biking through the countryside; it smells amazing — like pine trees and hay.

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We visit the Red house of Alberobello, which was first a rural institute and then a death camp for Jewish prisoners of war from 1940 to 1943. The place is like a set for a horror film. There are cats everywhere. A fancy hotel is on the same property. We wonder: who would want to build a hotel next to former concentration camp?? Or stay there?

alberobello  red house 2

alberobello red house 1

Stop for lunch at Noci and order our first cheese and meat platter of the trip (!!!). I argue people spend 1/3 of their energy on brain activity. I spend 3.2 calories thinking hard about it.

Visiting the creepy death camp has stayed with us, and we have a big discussion on what would’ve done during WW2. As a young blond catholic? I ask. Yes, not as a 12-year-old black girl, answers Olivier (this is a recurring dream I have, I wonder if it was me in a past life).

Big answers too: We want to think would hide someone, but that would be freaking scary.

Continue riding to Potignano and Castellana. Not much to see in either city.

We ride back through more farms. Very pretty one-lane roads, cows, and olive, fig and pomegranate trees.

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When we realize the route we were planning to take is on a busy highway, we opt for a side road that’s three times as long.

Then, 45 minutes into side road, Olivier’s battery dies (he’s been using it a lot)…just before we hit a chain of huge hills. We bothpedal up hills manually (or for the most part — I’m trying to ride motorless in solidarity, but these bikes are HEAVY!). I don’t offer my bike. I also complain about how far it is, and am a general pain, while Olivier is sweating his balls off and expertly finding directions (his words).

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alberobello  20

Still, we wind up on a winding two-lane highway anyway, pedaling up on huge hill in the middle of a forest. I see road kill cat and think: That’s soon us.

7 hours after we first left, we finally make it home and return our bikes. Comment to Olivier that we did not die. And that we’ll never use electric bikes again. I take my first shower in two days.

We go out to grab a glass of negroamaro and greasy cheese and meat appetizers in square. Then off to dinner again at the same pizza place Francesco recommended. It’s not as good this time around as before, but the dough is so yummy.

Order dessert (we deserve it!) and I dump my fig ice cream on floor. The waitress offers to cut off the part that hit floor so we can eat it anyway. OK, I agree. And it’s worth it.

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