Fasano (Puglia), Italy October 2020

We headed for Gallipoli today by way of Fasano (for its theme park) and Ostuni (because it is pretty).

Fasano Theme Park or, to give it its correct name, Zoosafari Fasanolandia has various fairground attractions and multiple rides (roller coasters, dodgems, ghost train, log flume, etc) but it is the 150 acre drive through safari park that captured Vanya’s attention and which brought us to Fasano. Just as well since Covid had seen to it that the fairground attractions were all closed down. The safari park is not that large but what sets it apart from others we have been to is that the dogs were allowed to accompany us as we drove through and it was almost as much fun watching our dog’s reaction to the animals in the zoo as the animals themselves.

Never seen bears before…

We had the park almost to ourselves and with no queues passed through it quite quickly. It was fun though and while there was not a great variety of animals, there were significant numbers of certain species (in particular lions, tigers and brown bears). The pride of lions was one of the largest I have seen and included a surprising number of fully grown males but the streak or ambush of tigers was huge. I thought they were quite solitary creatures but, no, there must have been 20+ sharing the tiger enclosure.

I was going to write a little about our second stop of the day at Ostuni. Known as “The White City” because of its plenitude of whitewashed houses, Ostuni is not a particularly large town (circe 30,000 people live there) but, spread across three small hills and towering over the surrounding area, it is is quite literally dazzling and ranked amongst the most picturesque towns in Puglia. This is another of those towns I earmarked for a visit some two years ago (when I returned from my Balkans Tour via Italy) but I never quite made it.

Well, I made it this time and, yes, parts of it looked wonderful. Unfortunately however my SatNav chose to play up just as we entered the town and I wasn’t therefore best placed to enjoy it. The bloody thing had me going round in circles for ages but worst of all it took me into the labyrinth that is the oldest part of the city. It was inevitable I would end up lost in the lanes and as the lanes became narrower and narrower it was almost equally certain that I would get stuck – and, yes, that is precisely what happened. It got to the stage that I could proceed no further. I don’t want to write anymore. I don’t even want to think about what happened. Let’s just say that we (eventually) got out out of it with Vanya stopping traffic and guiding me backwards and you can imagine how sympathetic the Italian drivers, who were behind me, were.

On to Gallipoli…

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