Saturday, September 8, 2012

Otranto, Italy

Visiting Lecce provided a perfect chance for me to take a day trip to the eastern coast of Italy to visit Otranto. The journey began with some confusion around the logistics of arriving in Otranto. So many different routes had been explained to me by different people trying to be helpful, I simply decided to get on the train that I knew was going in the right direction and take it from there. Conveniently for me, there was an older couple traveling on the same train, heading to Otranto as well. The woman spoke English as well as Italian and was frantically asking questions to everyone around her about how to arrive in Otranto. I decided to relax, and allow her assertiveness to get me there successfully. Keeping an eye out for their departure from the train, I followed them to the station where we changed to bus transportation and eventually arrived in Otranto. Collecting a bit of information from her as she explained how to make the return trip, I thanked her kindly and took off towards the port.

Otranto provides beautiful blue water and beaches at the port, from which on some clear days you can see as far as the snowy hills of Albania. The main attraction for Otranto, besides the sea view, is the Castello Aragonese, 'castle of Otranto.' After arriving I walked along the waterfront enjoying the view before I ventured into the historic area and began to seek out the Castle. Otranto is a small town, not as easy to wander aimlessly through as Lecce, simply because you run out of ground to wander through more quickly. After spending time roaming the small alleys and through the busy streets I found the castle. I enjoyed some lunch as I waited patiently for the gates to open again in the late afternoon to let tourists enjoy the exhibits inside. Currently the main attraction happens to be a display of Andy Warhol’s work inside the castle, which I enjoyed thoroughly as I wandered through. Climbing up to the top where you can see more of the city and take in the view, Otranto was quite a sight. The rest of my afternoon I spent near the sea, enjoying the perfectly clear water once again and soaking up the sun. After deciding to make the journey back to Lecce for the night, I was happy to see the familiar faces of the bilingual couple waiting for the same train again, and I knew I would make it back without any trouble.

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