Brindisi to Montenegro

Southern Princess
John & Irene Hunt
Tue 29 May 2007 06:32

Brindisi to Montenegro                                            Brindisi 40:39.57N 17:57.78E


‘….3M stand here at the boat show’. It was with these words I finished the last update. I spent a fortune at the 3m stand but the boat gleams! Bit like the Sydney Harbour Bridge really, just finished painting it and you have to start again at the other end!


I had some interesting comments concerning the books I mentioned recently; Helen Gale also recommended a book to Irene when we were last in Brisbane, ‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini. ISBN 978 0 74756 653 3.


The dust cover describes the story line ‘Twelve year old Amir is desperate to gain the approval of his father and resolves to win the local kite-fighting tournament, to prove that he has the makings of a man. His loyal friend Hassan promises to help him – for he always helps Amir – but this is the 1970’s Afghanistan and Hassan is merely a low-caste servant who is jeered at in the street, although Amir feels jealous of his natural courage and the place he holds in his father’s heart. But neither of the boys could foresee what would happen to Hassan on the afternoon of the tournament, which was to shatter their lives. After the Russians invade and the family is forced to flee to America, Amir realises that one day he must return, to find the one thing that his new world cannot grant him: redemption.’


And the Observer newspaper noted: ‘It’s a Shakespearean beginning to an epic tale that spans lives lived across two continents amid political upheavals, where dreams wilt before they bud and where a search for a child finally makes a coward into a man…rich and soul searching…His world is a patchwork of the beautiful and the horrific, and the book a sharp, unforgettable taste of the trauma and the tumult experienced by Afghanis as their country buckled.’


I loved it and it highlighted to me the plight of ordinary people caught up in political conflict not of their making. Highly recommended by the Southern Princess review team.


Back to Brindisi; we heard about a Michelin 1 star restaurant Al fornello da Ricci at a town about an hours drive away called CEGLIE MESSAPICA. Suggested to Dave & Liz that we all go together and during the day Irene & I did a recce to see if we could find the place. Success! That night we arrived at the appointed hour and all decide to have the menu ‘typica’ for the region and as it included wine it was a great deal at €50 per head! It was in the most part, the antipasto was superb as were the entrée and the prima piatti; all excellent but even I could have done a better job on the lamb chops for the main course! Mind you we did ask for a typical menu from the local area so guess we got what we ordered. However it was a bonzer night and we all had a great time; the décor, the setting and the attentive staff made it a very special evening.


Seems all we ever talk about is food!



Trulli Houses – before                                   Trulli Houses – after


On the Sunday we had an extensive tour around of the local area and looked at the Trulli Houses in Marina Franca. No one seems to have decided where they originated from but they are distinctive round stone houses with conical stone shingle roofs that are unique to the area. Seems they build one as a start, and then as the family expanded or their fortunes improved, they knocked a hole in the wall and built another adjacent and so on. In some examples you will see a cluster of 5, 6 or more conical houses. Unfortunately in one sense, they have become so popular, homes that have been in the same family for generations have been taken over by northern Europeans (with lots of money) and the family so called disinherited because the existing owner has succumbed to the temptation of big $’s, £’s & €’s. It does have an upside in that the new owners are rehabilitating and doing up the old buildings.


Later that day we visited TARANTO on the Golfo di Taranto, which is on the western side of the heel of Italy, and wandered around the old town prior to lunch at a lovely canal side restaurant. Crossing the canal is an old swing bridge which the local youth use in a unique way. It has dozens of padlocks attached to the wires which commemorate a youthful liaison and I guess a ‘lock on each others heart’!


Dozens of padlocks                                       A lock on each others heart?


The parts for the Vetus water filter for the generator finally arrived and we were set to depart Brindisi for Budva in Montenegro. Went around to the Capitaneria di Porto to check out. Horrors we had never checked in! When we had arrived in Syracusa, the local Carabineri had met us dockside, checked our passports and that was it. Easy we thought at the time! However I was advised locally that we should have completed formal entry documents as our flag was not from the European Union. Easily fixed! Just do the forms for coming in and going out now. Took an hour and they advised us to leave as scheduled the next day.


The next day dawned bright and clear and we moored at the fuelling dock just prior to the advertised opening time of 07:00. No one showed and when I telephoned I was advised 07:30 and then of course no one turned up until 07:45. When I pointed to the opening hour he said ‘scusi mi solo persona’ or words to that effect. In other words I am on my own and what did we expect! I was keen to see how many litres we put on board to check consumption. The Yanmar dealer in Malta had remonstrated with both John Gilder and me on the engine revs we should use. JG & I had been using between 1800 and 2000rpm while the dealer said we should be at least at 2300 to 2500rpm for the turbo charger to work properly. We were full when we left Riposto and to fill here took 501 litres for an average of 14.11 litres per hour at 2500 rpm the whole way! Previously we had been using between 6 & 8 litres per hour. Guess I will have to slow the revs down a bit.


Wednesday May 16th at 08:00 saw us on the way and at 09:00 on the way back again. It was like a washing machine out there and we decided to wait another day and then another day and even more days and during that time we had thunderstorms, great lightning show (I am pleased we aren’t the tallest mast in the marina) and buckets of rain which washed the rigging. We had rivers of mud running down the cabin top and decks!


May 21st we finally departed Italy across the Adriatic for Montenegro.