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I looked forward to a long weekend down in Puglia with Sante’s family last weekend. Sante was hoping to improve his meager tan from our California vacation (4 days in sun = weak) and I was thinking a few extra days wouldn’t hurt me as my colleagues were starting to return to the office in various shades of burnt sienna and in some cases, chocolate.
After taking our usual night train down and arriving at 6.45 in the morning, we had a light breakfast and went immediately to the beach at 9:30. Sante’s family usually rents an umbrellone (large umbrella) for a month or more, so we went to the same beach near their house.
The water in Manfredonia isn’t that great but it had a nice sandbar so we could wade out quite a long ways. You had to keep an eye out for the medusa (man o’war) which are rampant right now. We actually saw a dead one. Manfredonia is really the entryway to Gargano, the national park, where there are some lovely beaches. I had been several times before, but this trip was more about being with friends and family.
That night we went to a friend’s Reggae fest on the beach and the weather was still great. Over behind the mountain, I could see a beautiful storm – lighting every few minutes and the clouds would light in beautiful shades of purple and blue. I dragged Sante down to the beach, away from the music and just watched for a few minutes. And I cursed leaving the camera at home.
The next day, however, the weather was already starting to turn where we were and when we went up to Monte Sant’Angelo (in the picture above, it’s on the mountain on the far right), I brought a sweater with me!
That night, while we were driving along the Lungomare (sea front) of Manfredonia, a bolt of lightning struck the inner harbour and the *CRACK* was so loud that both of us sat still for a moment, expecting to see something on fire around us.
In less than 5 minutes, the streets became packed with families and couples running towards their cars. Manfredonia is a city that lives outside in the summer. The night before, I had seen more people than I thought lived in the town out on the streets. People navigated the crowds with ease and were not in a hurry. In fact, many of them would stay out all night, as we did at the Reggaefest (4:30am. I’m getting too old for this).
But when rain threatens, the last place you want to be is out in the open. Our putting along the water front slowed to a crawl as every few meters someone crossed in front of the car, desperate to make it to their car before it started pouring. Cars pulled u-turns without caring, scooters zig-zagged in the narrow gaps between cars, their dates clutching on behind them, praying the rain wouldn’t ruin their mini-skirts and carefully straightened hair.
Sante hadn’t seen most of his friends in months, and therefore believed that the rain would pass and we would meet up with them anyway. We pulled over in one of the rapidly parking spots on the side of the Lungomare and sat and waited.
But this was no springtime sprinkle.
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Unknowingly, we had parked in a low point of the road. The water was rushing down from the castle and towards…us. The rain started to let up, but by the time we finally pulled away, the water had started to spill up onto the sidewalk.There was no ice cream or drinks out with friends that night. At least the next day we were rewarded with a beautiful double rainbow (to the left of the bright one).
The next night, we returned to the same restaurant which held our Italian wedding reception/lunch to have an Anniversary dinner. I can’t wait to tell you about that!