Thursday, January 15, 2015


Getting to Alberobello was a major goal for us. While reading about places to visit in southern Italy, we became obsessed with staying inside a trullo (a little white-washed stone house with a stone conical roof). We had started calling them Hobbit houses, even though they looked nothing like Hobbit houses.  Before we left, we had reserved a trullo for one night, but now, to get there we needed to bike over 40 miles.  So, we had a challenge.

Of course, on our most important biking day, we got a late start. First, Mark insisted on biking into town to a bike shop that opened at 9am (buying a spare inner tube, a new patch kit, fixing his brake, and getting a wire-tie to fix Leaf's brake). Second, there was a battle to get Leaf to stop playing with his Kindle (Plants vs. Zombies) and Monet to stop playing with her iPad (a photo processing app).  Finally, loading up the gear seemed to take forever. We left around 10:30 am.

Free range pigs!

First spotting of a trullo.
The ride started out great. We passed the halfway point, no problem.  Lunch time was during repose, and everything was closed down, but we were prepared.  We survived on chocolate croissants, Cheerios and Nutella.  Things kept going well until the last ten miles and then. . . . it turned into the ride from hell.  Here was our situation:
  • The sun went down (one of the issues with winter cycling. . . the sun sets early)
  • It was bitterly cold, below freezing
  • We had to turn onto a highway for the last eight miles and cars were going ridiculously fast
  • It had recently snowed and there were ice piles on the side of the road, eating up what little shoulder existed and making it difficult to bike
  • We were tired and miserable
So, after a half mile on the highway, the road felt too dangerous to bike and we started walking.  Then we used our GPS to find a longer, but safer route to get into town.  All of us were complete popsicles.  Leaf only had one minor freakout which was thankfully solved by a healthy scoop of Nutella. When we finally reached Alberobello, it was almost 7pm.  All of us were happy for finishing the 40-mile day, but mostly we were relieved for surviving that ordeal at the end.  Mark felt it was some of the stupidest cycling he had ever done. Well, after all that, we were rewarded with our own trullo. Yay!

Leaf in a manic celebration

Inside our trullo.  Leaf is wearing a pannier on his head.  Why? We are not sure. 


Alberobello (pronounced "Alberobello") is a touristy town, but it is also fun to walk around. . . especially among the trulli.  We spent the entire next day taking photos.  We have far too many to put on the blog, but here are a few:

a normal church
a trulli church
In the trulli church, Jesus is in a forest. . . 

A market in the middle of Alberobello was selling shoes.  We had to drag Monet away.  Which was a good thing, because right after the market, she scored the shot below . . . nice sky!

trulli under repair
"Mark, is this a pizza oven?"  "Hmmm, maybe. . . Leaf!  Get over here!"

Leaf's view of his parents. . . scary, isn't it?

Monet's Mileage Count:

  • Matera to Alberobello (plus detour) 43 miles.  Definitely our longest day.

Travel Tip:

For quick meals, it's fun to eat at an Alimentari (sort of like a deli). You don't have to sit down and you can get a cheese or salami panini for cheap.

Next: mis-navigating Italian trains (again!). . .

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