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Cosenza, Calabria and the road to Brindisi via lecce


I went further south along the coast. Traffic got less and roads got smaller and swindling along the rocky coast with every once in a while quite some steep little climbs. A few days after I left Naples I left the west Italian coastline and took the road to Cosenza and Catanzaro to meet friends.

Catazaro cathedralCozensa and Catanzaro in Calabria

It was time to go back into the mountains and the climbs here were not that easy. The roads were fine but 3 mountains to 1000 meter were taking the toll. Fortunately I could stay with friends here.

When I took the road further across the mountains I arrived at Catanzaro Lido, the seaside of Catanzaro city. The beach was nothing much although the locals seem to think different. It was mostly a gravel beach but the water was blue and the weather was great.

I stayed at the camping on the beach but there are several hotels and B&B's in town (check Tripadvisor or Agoda.com).

I got an invitation from my friend Bea to join her and her family for a lunch. Lunch for many Italians is the most important meal of the day.

The Tower of Crotone
The Tower of Crotone

Many shops close for siesta time, and families unite around the table for a big meal. I enjoyed my lunch plus, it gave me an excellent idea how Italians enjoy life and food. And believe me, Italian food is more then pizza and pasta!

The road to Lecce

When I left Catanzaro Lido I cycled north to Crotone. Right at the beach site in Crotone there was the ruin of an ancient watchtower.

Some days further on the road I arrived in Lecce. The origins of the city go all the way back to the 3rd century but these days Lecce is mostly famous for the Baroque buildings. It is indeed a very nice city.

Life in this part of Italy seems a bit rougher. There are fewer cities and towns. The surroundings are less cultivated by men. Many areas here are left to nature. It's mostly flat and one would expect it's popular with cyclist. But I didn't meet anyone cyclist in this area.

Life here seemed to go in a slower pace than in the north. I went to Lecce, a typical rococo city. For the first time in days I spend a night in a youth hostel.

I liked it here. But when I wanted to visit the museum, it was closed in the afternoon. And so was the bank, and the post office. In fact everything was closed in the afternoon but all would be open in the later time of the day.

The people in Lecce take the afternoon to avoid the heat of the day. And so did I. I went to a cafe to write my diary and eat and drink some coffee.

Lecce, ItalyLater in the afternoon I visited the post office to send some postcards out where the officer stamped my last stamp in my diary, Read the story here.

I took an extra day in Lecce to explore the far heel of the Italian boot. it was an 80km long bike ride through a wild and mostly empty landscape.

By the time I reached furthest point I could possibly cycle, I just went back to Lecce and was ready for the last day on the bicycle in Italy.

It was now the end of my Italian journey. I had one more day to go: the road to Brindisi. Here I wanted a boat to Corfu in Greece.

That day was unmemorable. Brindisi was another city with some beautiful renaissance buildings and churches but compared to what I had seen earlier, I was not much impressed anymore. Or maybe it was simply because I already had set my mind on going to Corfu.

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