Thursday, July 12, 2007

Lake fun in Southern Italy!

What do you do for fun in the Midwest in the summer? You go boating on a lake or river. Hell yeah. That’s good fun. Well there are no lakes and rivers in Puglia but we (Lori, Kent, and I) saw one not far away in Basilicata called Lago di Monte Cotugno. Our midwestern mentality says, “Let’s go there!” and “There are mountains near by, bonus!” We took off relatively early, ok it was around 11:30 AM, Saturday and drove towards Taranto. From there we followed the signs towards Reggio Calabria but thankfully we weren’t going nearly that far. The drive along "the arch" is nice at times when you can see the Ionian Sea. In fact, it was so nice that we missed our turn inland. A short detour was required but we were soon back on track to visit the unique lake, which is on the very northern edge of the Parco Nazionale di Pollino. As we approached, the dam was the first thing we saw and it’s an impressive dam, which was a dam good sign. I had to get one dam joke in there. We later found out it’s one of the biggest packed earth dams in Europe. After that view, things went downhill fast. The pictures show more than what I can write. The water was strange milky blue-green color and there was absolutely nothing built “on the water”. Not a single house, dock, boat ramp, restaurant, nothing. In fact all we found were old stone houses in the water and a washed out road complete with a bridge that went nowhere.

With the scenery here sad and dead we decided to head for the mountains. Surely that wouldn’t disappoint?

Doesn't look like much fun here.

What's Gimli's line from Lord of the Rings, "You could find more joy in a graveyard." In the lake's defense, it's a very important source of water for Taranto and Brindisi. It wasn't made for having fun!

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