Sunday, November 14, 2010

Torre Gauceto

View of La Torre from Inside the Bunker

Torre Guaceto is natural reserve on the coast of the Adriatic, 15 km northwest of Brindisi, which includes both water (map of the marine reserve) and land. We spend a day wandering around as one our five days in Puglia. The visitor center for Torre Guaceto is 3km inland at Serranova. (It is closed today, on this Saturday in November.)

The word Guaceto “derives from Arabic Gaw-sit that means sweet water” [ref]. The full name of the park comes from the tower build in 1547 by the Aragonesi to control and protect against pirates.

At Torre Guaceto (Italian Wikipedia page) we enter the area at the north end of the reserve called Punta Penna Grossa, and park. Our goal is to walk to the eponymous tower 4km in the distance. When we park we met a well-dressed older lady who followed us in. Otherwise it is deserted. She cleans the back windshield of her car. We say hello and ask her a few questions about the area. She reminds us to lock our car, but tells us that otherwise, it's safe. She is there to just get a look at the tower. She offers us use of her fetching binoculars but we decline.

We start our walk towards the Torre, first barefoot and then in shoes. We see two carabiniere in a car check us out - we wave. The beach and area is nice but for the trash. Yes, trash. There are endless plastic items washed up on shore. The way the currents work we think it is from the countries across the way. This coast is just on the wrong side of the currents?

We think of a storyline for a book or movie: a man is stranded, away from any civilization, and with washed-up trash like we see. How would he survive? Each item we see is not trash now, but survival. There are many bottles filled with liquid so if there were no water source in this hypothetical location our strandee might make it. Past the basics for survival he could outfit his grass hut with what we see: a colander, a juice pulper, plastic crates, a freezer, netting, flip-flops, sheets of plastic, luggage, buckets and more! When we reach the tower it's cleaner, but the tower, while pretty form the distance, is just a block up close that isn’t, naturally, open. Nearby is a small, round WWII bunker - mostly underground - on which we sit eating snacks and staring at the sea. In front of the bunker, there is a sign that reads Tempi Tristi. Tempi di Guerra - sad times, times of war. Well, today it's happy times, the day has turned out to be beautiful and we are on vacation.

On the walk back to Punta Penna Grossa back we meet an old man who drives an Ape. At first it's hard to understand his questions though within a few moments we realize he is asking typical questions and that we are just not use to the accent.

Before returning to Alberobello, we visit the “land” part of the reserve, on the west side of E55 and spend some time walking through olive groves, trees that have been around for hundreds of years.

La Torre in the Distance from Punta Penna Grossa

Marina Protteta Sign

La Spiagga Sconosciuta

Signs Showing the Hiking Paths at Torre Guaceto

Torre Guaceto - A Sample of Some of the Trash

Approaching La Torre

Torre Guaceto Bunker

Torre - Up Close

Times of War, Sad Times

Olive Grove - Torre Guacetao

Olive Grove Sign

Olive Grove - Olive Tree

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