Hello Lecce, Italy

11 Feb

It’s been a long two years for all of us. We were headed for Vietnam when Covid hit the US in February 2020. Since then, like people the world over, we’ve stayed at home, gardening, cooking, studying Italian and taking daily hikes to ease the isolation. During it all, we have dreamed of traveling again.

Now, we’re back on the road, headed to Lecce, a city in southeastern Italy, the heel of Italy’s boot.

We chose Lecce, Italy’s “Florence of the South,” for its mild climate, its roots in Greek and Roman history, the unique culture of the province of Puglia, and its extraordinary architecture and rustic cuisine. Another important characteristic for us is its lack of tourists, especially American tourists, and, especially, in mid-February to mid-May.

We also thought the flight would be, relatively, short compared to Vietnam. Now, we are girding ourselves with 24+ hours of travel time, the suspense of a Covid test before boarding and submitting the infamous Digital Passenger Locator Form. Armed with our QR codes we shall face departure in Atlanta and arrival in Rome. It has taken a prodigious amount of planning and research, with constantly changing rules in Italy, to be prepared. Even so, we anticipate some snafus.

As the days count down, we are so looking forward to our new adventure and happy to have all of you along. When next we write, it will be from our apartment on a little piazzatta in the historical center of Lecce.

See you soon. Ciao a presto!

26 Responses to “Hello Lecce, Italy”

  1. Oorang March 8, 2022 at 2:02 am #

    Pinot grigio and a pizza sounds like a good landing spot. If you scan/photo passes into your phone you may not have to pull out all your papers? 🙂

    • Jill and Dana March 8, 2022 at 9:19 am #

      Hi David, Pizza and foccacia are a standby…and olive oil, olive oil, olive oil. It is the best olive oil I have ever tasted anywhere. We do have all of our documents available digitally on our phones. It was amazing how few times we were asked for them in transit, though we were always prepared. Here most places don’t have the ability to check anything digitally and it is just as easy to show them our paper vaccine cards. They barely glance at them when we show them. We have put them in impressive little green wallets with the logo of a hypodermic needle on the cover, more official than just the card. Love…

  2. thegenxtravels February 23, 2022 at 12:40 am #

    Have a great time! I am heading to this area in April, I have heard great things about it and I will be following your posts!

    • Jill and Dana February 24, 2022 at 4:02 pm #

      Welcome to our trip to Lecce. Great to have a GenXer along. Hope we can give you a feel for Puglia and Lecce before your trip.

      • thegenxtravels February 24, 2022 at 4:52 pm #

        You have have given me a good feel for it! I travel a lot but I have not been to Italy before so I am excited !! Lori

      • Jill and Dana February 24, 2022 at 7:59 pm #

        Lori, Thank you for joining us. It is good to have you along. Italians are so welcoming. I think you will enjoy your time here.

  3. Elise February 13, 2022 at 11:02 pm #

    I feel so fortunate to now be linked to follow your adventures, thanks to Darin. Wishing you a spectacular experience. Hugs to you both.
    Elise and Rudi

    • Jill and Dana February 14, 2022 at 12:55 am #

      Elise, How great to see you and Rudi here with us. Thank you Darin for making it happen. Looking forward to sharing Puglia with you. Jill

  4. Betty February 12, 2022 at 6:21 pm #

    Hello, Jill! Sending love and good wishes to you and Dana and many thanks for sharing another wonderfully interesting global adventure with us. Betty

    • Jill and Dana February 12, 2022 at 6:26 pm #

      Hi Betty, So glad to have you with us. We are looking forward to living in Lecce and visiting many of the surrounding villages in Puglia and Salento. More posts soon, Jill

  5. Dede February 10, 2022 at 8:38 pm #

    Dear Jill.. I left a message and then lost it in the process of logging in. Just know that I think you and Dana are amazing, and I look forward to the news and photos. Sending buckets of LOVE!!!

    • Jill and Dana February 10, 2022 at 8:51 pm #

      Dede, Your encouraging comment did come through and I just replied. If you don’t get it in email, you can read both, your message and my reply, in the comments under the story Hello Lecce. At least I think you can. I built this blog 12 years ago when blogging was, relatively, new. Needless to say the digital world has moved on and so did WordPress, my design tool. I am slowly learning backwards and hooking up all of disconnections. Technology can be a mystery… :- 0

  6. Dede February 10, 2022 at 8:32 pm #

    You are both heroic in your spirit of adventure! How I wish I had some of that. I shall eagerly await your news and Dana’s wonderful pictures. Sending huge hugs and buckets of love! XOX Dede

    • Jill and Dana February 10, 2022 at 8:45 pm #

      Dede, You’re here…Hurrah! Yes. We are on our way. When spirits have flagged Giuliana, our host, has WhatsApped a kind word or image. Thankfully, she speaks fluent English and couldn’t have been more understanding and welcoming during the long process to final confirmation. If our timing goes as planned, she will meet us and take us to the apartment in Lecce, so thoughtful after our trip. We’re looking forward to exploring Puglia and having you with us, Jill

  7. Sylvia Crain February 10, 2022 at 5:20 pm #

    I am so happy that you guys have a new adventure! Jim and I were lucky enought to have the boat to escape to during covid and could move around. We do miss our ground travel though. Looking forward to following your adventure

    • Jill and Dana February 10, 2022 at 5:33 pm #

      Sylvia, It is so good to hear from you. The boat sounds like an ideal escape. When will you be traveling again? We planned our trip during the lull before Delta and Omicron. Then we buckled in for the tumultuous ride. Italy is one of the most conservative EU countries on Covid. They are just beginning to relax their policies a little. The CDC and US State Dept still list Italy as a Level 4: Do Not Travel country among so many others. We know it’s a risk but we feel we’re prepared as best we can be. We have expanded our definition of travel “adventure.” Jill

  8. Jon in Ithaca February 10, 2022 at 1:55 pm #

    Dear JIll, so glad that you are traveling again and I will have something good to read each day. my best to Dana.

    • Jill and Dana February 10, 2022 at 2:18 pm #

      Jon, It is so good to be back. Since we began our world travels in 2012 with the trip to Mediterranean countries throughout the world, it has been the highlight of our year. We have missed the feeling of a wide open world ready for exploration. I am so glad you are along again. Jill

  9. paul mabarrack February 9, 2022 at 10:33 pm #

    Jill and Dana, a deep sigh of pleasure just smoothed out of me as I read your post. Have a wonderful trip. The world just edged closer to its familiar normal once more.

    • Jill and Dana February 9, 2022 at 11:10 pm #

      Paul, And here we all are once again. Seeing our world and living in it a different way. Every time we read about Australia, we thought of you and Jill and wondered how you were faring. As you can imagine missing Vietnam and another year of travel was painful. But it is all so much better than it could have been. So we are entering a new time. We are excited about Puglia and all of the delicious tastes to come, especially focaccia, burrata and olive oil on everything. So glad you are with us again, Jill

  10. Derek Simmons February 9, 2022 at 10:13 pm #

    Have a wonderful adventure—enhanced by the enforced delay and the pent up anticipation. We look forward to our vicarious digital voyage with you.

    • Jill and Dana February 9, 2022 at 11:14 pm #

      Derek, So glad to have you along with us as we travel the Mediterranean once again. It’s a long way from Albuquerque to Brindisi in more ways than one. Cheers, Jill

  11. Terrence Murphy February 9, 2022 at 8:42 pm #

    What a surprise! You picked an excellent time to go. It’s still cold here as well you know.
    Yes, the south of Italy is often scorned by world travelers which is to your advantage. The food and wines of southern Italy are impressive, as is the olive oil. Looking forward to your reports with LOTS of pictures. Arrivederci. Terry

    • Jill and Dana February 9, 2022 at 8:54 pm #

      Hi Terry, So good to hear your voice. We found the same judgement about Southern Italy when we traveled in Sicily. We loved it there. We are anticipating that Puglia will be much the same. And we are really looking forward to leisurely exploration. Glad you are here, Jill

  12. J. Lawerence Pitts February 9, 2022 at 8:31 pm #

    Have fun. We are just about to go through the same ardors for a fly-and-drive trip to Tuscany, based in Montecatini. Italy restrictions are ever changing.

    • Jill and Dana February 9, 2022 at 9:01 pm #

      Hi Lawrence, Welcome to Medflies. We were so happy and relieved last week when the Italian government announced that our US vaccine cards would now be judged equivalent to the SuperGreen Pass for Italians. No worries now about using public transport, entering restaurants and shops and visiting museums. We are thinking about having an ongoing quest to turn our vaccine cards into the QR code for a SuperGreenPass. To do this, we will need to visit the Health Ministry for the Provence of Puglia. Luckily, it is based in Lecce. What we understand from reading is that tackling the Italian bureaucracy will involve much waiting and many stamps by many different officials, a good rainy day activity. So glad you are traveling with us. Cheers, Jill

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