I’d been in London for a whole three years before I came upon the popular property show “A Place in the Sun”. Not owning a television, and thinking BBC was the only company with an I-Player will make you a little behind on these things. By then I’d finally admitted to myself that the perfect little Tuscan farmhouse – sitting on acres of picturesque rolling hills, dotted with olive and citrus trees, plumes of smoke from neighboring farmhouses visible in the distance – was never going to be drastically reduced in price one day by a rich old man I met at some out of the way Trattoria who just happened to have one he didn’t need anymore.
There’s nothing more annoying to an eternal dreamer than
looking at your bank balance a reality check. If fate was a religion, I’d be its biggest disciple. My car would be covered with stickers of three sisters and a giant spinning loom, I’d worship Saint Doris Day and live to the mantra of “que sera sera”. OK… no I wouldn’t. I’m not that fanatical about anything in life, apart from searching the world for the perfect pannacotta I mean. But sometimes I do ponder why things happen the way they do.
So I had begun searching for areas that were
cheap as chips perhaps more within my budget. Fortuitously, I stumbled across a series of the above television show called “100 Grand Place in the Sun”. That’s £100,000 to buy, not 100 separate grandiose places to look at. As luck would have it, there was an episode in Italy, and you won’t win any prizes for guessing this episode was about Puglia. It followed two British work colleagues, Jim and Paul, who wanted an investment property and vacation spot all in one. Snap – me too! Long story short, the amazing apartment they ended up with was situated within a 16th century baroque palazzo, had two roof terraces, vaulted ceilings, original floor tiles and was going to be totally restored for £78 grand. Yippeeeeeee. £78 grand for a total restoration. Oh Puglia I love you.
And then I looked at the episode’s air date – 2004.
After dragging my bottom lip round the floor for a while, I pulled myself together and thought – man, I really need to vacuum. This was closely followed by -you know what, I don’t care, Puglia still sounds great and where there’s a will, there’s a way. Inflation be damned. I’ll just have to tone down the dream a few notches more. I mean, who needs vaulted ceilings when you can go to a street stall and buy strawberries that actually taste like strawberries.
See… this is what strawberries should look like Britain.
Fast forward a year or so – six months of that due to a lost passport and the interminably slow response times of the UK Border Agency (which has recently been disbanded/sacked because of interminably slow response times) – and I began to plan my first trip to Puglia.
A while before this I had also researched holiday rental websites for when I needed to rent my own property out, so I could decide whether to employ a property management company or do it myself. Nothing like
getting ahead of myself preparation. I came across Home Away, a website which made doing it yourself sound all very doable. So of course when planning my own holiday and wanting to rent an apartment, I went back to Home Away. And since it was the only town I knew anything about, I searched Galatina, where Jim and Paul’s apartment was. After all, one of the selling points to the guys was that Galatina was the perfect spot to base yourself to explore southern Puglia’s Salento coast.
If you haven’t heard of the Salento, let me introduce you…
Slightly pretty, that Sant Andrea.
And guess what… there it was… Jim and Paul’s apartment… dun dun daaaaa…
You realists might conclude this coincidence had everything to do with Home Away being one of Britain’s most popular holiday rental sites and tiny Galatina not exactly being flooded with British holiday rental owners. But I say pfffttt. It was fate.
I’ve gotta say, Jim and Paul were both so nice and so helpful, and they went to great lengths to make sure I had enough tips about Galatina, Puglia and the Salento to fill an entire month, not just my piddly four days. The apartment was perfect and Galatina is indeed a great place to base yourself for checking out southern Puglia. If you read my posts over the next few weeks and find yourself unable to resist a trip yourself (and frankly if you’ve read the Burrata post I can’t understand why you haven’t already booked a flight to Puglia) I can highly recommend a stay in Jim and Paul’s Palazzo Luceri. Read the reviews and you’ll understand why.
Just to get my whimsy on for a moment, I really admire people with a vision, a desire and the courage to make it a reality. It’s learning stories like theirs that keeps me believing I’ll get there one day too. My photos don’t really do it justice, you’re best to check out the their own website (where you can even watch the Place in the Sun episode too), but here’s a few anyway.
One of the terraces…
One of the views…
The terrace leads into the kitchen…
The upstairs kitchen (as in its upstairs, not that there’s also a downstairs kitchen)
Some more stairs…
You can see the original floor tiles here… err and a coffee table…
So what did
probability fate bring me this time? It brought me the bar. Now I know what a Puglian apartment can be, I know the standard of workmanship I’d like and I got some ideas to steal a very good example of the level of customer service I should be giving my future customers. I also got a tan. Not bad for four days work.