Friday began cloudless. I was up at 7 and out at 8 am, greeted by the neighbors’ dogs (sweet ones luckily). The fruit trees are in bloom already, fun to take pictures.
And! First time in 2018, lunch outside, I chose the little mosaic table between the succulents and agaves to enjoy my lunch.
I found another rental agency a few months ago, a lady from Holland. I had talked to her on the phone, and today we met in person. She is married to an Italian, and they have a two year old daughter. I asked her about the Puglian tradition of the siesta. I could grasp its use for the summer months, but it seemed rather strange during the rest of the year. In the summer it can be over 40 °C around noon, but this happens in July and August, rarely in June or September, and the rest of the year the temperature is fine, even cold during winter.
So siesta implies that people work from 8 am till 1 pm, take their siesta, and start again from 5 pm till 8 pm. But the kids go to school from 8 am till 2 pm, so you can imagine how tough combination it is if you work full time and have young kids. Most people have their own parents close by to take care of the children in the evening. But if parents come home at around 8 in the evening, they still have to start with dinner. So children sleep less. You also still see small children in restaurants at 10 pm. It is a habit that is not of much use anymore and a quite complicated system, in my opinion. But it is a cultural thing. If you grow up in this system, you find it normal. And families tend to be more united, and staying closer to one another, partly out of necessity.
Another issue we talked about is the economic situation. It is hard to find a job here, and if you have a full-time job as a woman you usually only get a contract for a halftime, the rest is paid “in cash.” Well, aren’t we lucky here.
The last day I strolled around in Locorotondo and Martina Franca, such lovely little towns. Locorotondo is situated on a hill, with its basilica as an eye-catcher. It is called one of the most beautiful towns of Italy and I don’t disagree. Martina Franca inherited its name from Saint Martin and is a melting pot of culture and history. There were dolls hanging in the streets, a little scary sight and yet another strange tradition: “Straw dolls hang from a rope strung between two buildings of a street, with one doll for each week between the day of ashes to Easter. Each week one of these dolls is eliminated, burned, measuring out the weeks until the end of Lent, and therefore the arrival of Easter.”
And so my few days in Puglia ended. Counting the days to go back.
Enjoy your weekend!