Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Cammino del Salento, Day 5 (of 5). Marina Serra to Santa Maria di Leuca (22 km)

Marina Serra to Santa Maria di Leuca, Puglia, Italy. Wednesday, 20-September-2023.

My birthday "treat" - another day of yomping six hours in the blazing heat!

Today's elevation profile showed steep climbs just after breakfast and after lunch.

We knew the first part was going to be hard work. The path went up and up and up and towards the end of the climb they added in some stairs just to finish us off. Fortunately the rest of the morning stretch was mostly level with a hint of downhill. 

Passing through Gagliano del Capo we came upon a full set of gnomes: Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. And we thought Italians had taste!

After a picnic lunch at Ponte Ciolo and a soft drink at bar L'Incanto we had another climb up to the top ridge via a mixture of steps and paths. The bridge itself was closed so we had to follow alternative footpaths; fortunately the digital map showed all the footpaths and we were soon back on track.

After so much barren landscape the smell of these flowers was gorgeous.

The route then took us inland for a while through Salignano where Mary loved the leaf design of the railings on this house.

We also like the fancy street signs in Salignano, useful places for the vital Cammino stickers.

From there it was just over an hour's walk to our destination Santa Maria di Leuca. The very last stretch was a killer, up 286 steps to reach the official end point at the top of a promontory. 

At the top we got a view over Santa Maria de Leuca and an opportunity to catch our breath after all those steps.

Victory photo thanks to a kind stranger to took great care to compose the shot. 

Then off to the Caffè de Finibus Terrae for our last stamp. Achievement Unlocked!

Whilst there it was definitely worth a celebratory Prosecco. Cheers!

Distance: 22.19 km, Time: 5:59 hr. Steps: 29,500.

We stayed at the hotel Rizieri down near the port. Luana, Nadia and Luana's daughter very kindly drove our car in convoy down from Lecce so it would be there ready for a fast getaway the next morning.

Pre-dinner drinks followed by a lovely birthday meal at Ristorante Santa Maria.

Five days of hills and steps. A grand total of Distance: 141 km, Walking Time: 28:58 hr, Steps: 193,000.

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