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Trip Report Tedgale Trip Report: 5 nights in Galatone, Puglia: October 18-23, 2010

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This is the Puglia segment of our current trip, which started Oct. 15 and ends November 1.

First, some tombstone data:

Depart Montreal Friday October 15 KL 0672 18h55
Arrive Amsterdam Saturday October 16 7h35
Depart Amsterdam Saturday October 16 KL1623 9h35
Arrive Milan Malpensa 11h15

Accommodation, Saturday October 16 and Sunday October 17:
Hotel in central Milan -- Residence de la Gare, via Macchi near the Central station

Depart Milan Malpensa Monday October 18 Alitalia AP 110 15h05
Arrive Brindisi Papole Casale 16h45

Car rental for 5 nights: Europcar, booked via AutoEurope. They had an upgrade offer that was cheaper than their economy car. In retrospect, our large-ish Citroen Picasso was bigger than we needed or wanted, when piloting through Puglia's tiny streets.

Car is gassed up when you get it, you return it full. Other car hire companies at Brindisi airport seem to be using the "return it empty" approach (a scam, IMO) according to the man we spoke to at Autoeurope in the US.

Accommodation: Apartment in Galatone, Puglia:
http://www.holiday-rentals.co.uk/p444365

Depart Brindisi Papole Casale Saturday October 23 15h15 Flight AZ 1622
Arrive Rome Fiumicino 16H25. Car rental from airport.

Accommodation Saturday October 23 - Saturday October 30: Appartamenti "Al Poggiolo", Montepulciano, Tuscany
http://www.giardino.alpoggiolo.it/en/apartments-and-garden/description-apt-4.html

Accommodation Saturday October 30 and Sunday October 31: Adair's apartment in central Rome

Depart Rome Fiumicino Monday November 1 KL 1598 10H10
Arrive Amsterdam 12h 55
Depart Amsterdam Monday November 1 KL 061 14h50
Arrive Montreal 17h25

There are some great deals to be had in Italy these days. Among our great deals:

Our KLM flights Montreal-Amsterdam-Milan, Rome-Amsterdam-Montreal cost $835. The KLM seat sale continues until March 2011.

Alitalia flights -- great prices on both one-way or return flights, both within Italy and on direct flights to other countries:

Milan-Brindisi (550 miles) one way for $30
Brindisi- Rome one way for $54

Shop around among the different Alitalia sites: our Brindisi-Rome flight showed as $400 on the Canadian Alitalia site. When I went to the Italian site (change Country of Residence to change sites) I got a ticket for about 1/8 that price.

Trenitalia intercity trains -- in the autumn, some days you can find a ticket Milan-Brindisi (550 miles) for $25. But the flights were so cheap that we decided to fly.

Our one bedroom apartment in a 16th C palazzo in Galatone, Puglia (the heel of the boot) has 15 ft vaulted stone ceilings, private courtyard, brand new kitchen and bath (though the bathroom also has a huge stone fireplace).

While researching, I came upon the following 2 bed 2 bath Galatina house -- a dream of elegance -- that was already booked during our period. It truly IS a keeper:

http://www.holiday-rentals.co.uk/p407601

Then I found a B&B in Lecce that looks amazing: The Palazzo Persone'. The room shown here costs 90E/ nt in off season, 110 E in season. We passed it Friday -- gorgeous and right next to Santa Croce church:

http://www.palazzopersone.com/camere.asp?pagina=templar

Tuscany is more expensive. We have again rented a 2-storey apartment in the Appartamenti Al Poggiolo, in Montepulciano. We have gated parking, exposed beams, a fireplace (wood supplied), 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms -- for $135/ night. They DO have other smaller and much more economical apartments one block away -- we were tempted but said "Why not have the apartment we loved last time?"

http://www.giardino.alpoggiolo.it/en/apartments-and-garden/description-apt-4.html

For Rome: A friend has offered us the key for her lavish, totally renovated 3 bed 3 bath 2 terrace apartment in Rome. The bathrooms and "restaurant kitchen" in this apartment are beyond anything we could aspire to at home...

The best detail of all is something I can't put a price on: Celebrating my birthday (Oct. 16) with my buddy Roberto in Milan. He threw me a surprise dinner-party in a restaurant -- he and his wife, the 2 of us and 9 of his friends.

But now on to Puglia...

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