Ever heard of Nova Siri? Neither had I until the Golden Girls’ adventure took me to the coastal resort town in the “instep” of Italy’s boot.
After 15 days of jumping from place to place in France and Italy, the Golden Girls were ready for a little rest and relaxation. As par for this journey, we picked a spot on the map because it was there and headed to Nova Siri, Italy to spend time unwinding on a beach.
One of the Golden Girls is a double crystal, diamond-crusted, ruby slipper, 24-karat gold medallion member of a worldwide timeshare group. She suggested we try out the four-star timeshare beach resort in Nova Siri. It wasn’t her first choice, but every other place we looked was booked solid.
She had never traveled to Europe and she was so excited about finding a timeshare that I didn’t have the nerve to tell her “four-star” in Europe is not quite up to the same standards as in the US.
It didn’t really matter to me if we had luxury accommodations. My incentive was to see the “instep” of Italy’s “boot” and the Ionian Sea.
Traveling to Nova Siri from Rome meant a two-hour flight to Bari, then a two-hour drive on a pretty good highway to Nova Siri.
Bari is a relatively large town on the Adriatic Sea. The population is close to 400,000. Bari gained some small degree of fame from the movie “Bridges of Madison County”. Meryl Streep’s character claimed she “came from Bari.”
We probably should have spent a little time looking around the town, but our “driver” was waiting to take us to Nova Siri.
The view along the way
Fortunately I have long legs and was given the privilege of riding in the front seat of the Audi taxi with the driver. He spoke a little English and was happy to answer my questions about his part of the world.
The geography of the Basicilata region is a mix of mountain ranges, hills and plains. While we never went directly through mountains on the way to the southern coast of the Matera province, they were ever-present on the horizon.
The towns along the way to Nova Siri were few and far between.
Occasionally, when there was a village in the far distance, it looked as if it was a ghost town … deserted.
As we drove along, you could see the landscape change.
In one area olive trees were lining both sides of the highway. While ahead, rows of grapevine stretched as far as you could see.
In just a matter of minutes, and for miles and miles beyond, fields of yellow wheat were in sight; some within touching distance of the cars on the highway.
Akiris: A “Disneyland” on the Ionic Sea
Arriving at our destination — the Akiris Resort — Golden Girl #1 was disappointed that is was not the “four-star” quality she expected. On the other hand, all the amenities were there and the beach with the mountains in the background was magnificent.
There was something going on all the time at Akiris. And this wasn’t the busy tourist season.
Our accommodations were the equivalent of a 3-bedroom apartment. The rooms were large and the beds comfortable. My room had bunk beds. I slept on the top bunk … reminiscent of my college days.
There was no decoration in any of the rooms. All household items had to be purchased at the resort “market”. Nothing was provided — except towels that were like large kitchen towels.
What’s with that? Plush bath towels must be an American “thing”? Interestingly the towels we rented for the beach were plush. We ended up using them, instead, for our showers in the apartment.
We did enjoy the beach. Which is exactly why we went to Nova Siri. To relax on the beach.
We ate great food.
We enjoyed new friends.
Like magnets, we quickly found the few Americans who were visiting the resort and we became close friends immediately. We did everything together …
… we checked out the nearby town of Nova Siri Marina…
… and lounged by one of the two swimming pools.
One friend we literally adopted. We met her the first day she arrived. She was at the resort’s dining room, sitting alone, so we invited her to join us for dinner.
Quickly we learned she is German and speaks very little English. She was on a holiday by herself, which she often does. She had been crying all that day because the airlines had lost her baggage. She would have to retrieve them herself the next day … two-hour trip up to Bari and back.
After dinner we took her to our place and filled her arms with clothing and personal essentials, including a “South Carolina Girl” T-shirt. She became our new “best friend”.
Some among our group took a side trip to Matera. This “little piggy” stayed home. The day’s journey would have been interesting, but I was totally into being a lump on a beach chair.
Mel Gibson’s “Passion of Christ” was staged in Matera. He supposedly chose the town because it resembles Jerusalem. Without the tourists.
The Golden Girls Adventure Ends Here … That’s all, Folks
At 4:00 am on the last day of our adventure, The Golden Girls were perched outside the Akiris Resort awaiting the shuttle bus to the airport in Bari. From Bari I was heading to Rome, then to Girona, Spain. The other Golden Girls were going to Paris for five days before returning to the States.
Hopefully you enjoyed our adventures as you followed us in the blog. We laughed a lot, we stretched our comfort zones, and we found you’re never too old to learn something new. Most importantly, after 25 years spent apart, we proved that The Golden Girls are truly “forever friends”. “Veni, vidi, vici”
Here’s my challenge to you:
Next: The Barefoot Blogger in Girona, Spain