Travel Past 50: A full-time job

Eight years ago, BikeTours.com travel ambassadors Tom Bartel and Kristin Henning got rid of all their possessions in favor of exploring the world.

These globetrotters, and owners of Travel Past 50, recently took our Apulia and Basilicata: Matera to Lecce tour, and chronicled their journey on their Facebook page.

Take a look at their Italian adventure, in their own words!


We’re all checked out and ready to go tomorrow. Today we got the brand new bikes with instruction, the route (maps, descriptions, and Garmin), and recommendations for each destination. Good to get a little loop ride under our belts, enough to convince me we’ll be fine. Enough for a wrong turn, a pastoral view, doubts, determination, and relief we booked E-Bikes! The first day is always the hardest, and tomorrow will definitely be the hardest: 70k and a lot of up and down.

A lovely ride today from Alberobello to Ostuni. Only half as long as yesterday. And mostly downhill.

The beautiful painted ceiling of the Cathedral of Ostuni, in Puglia in southern Italy. As you know, we love a good church. The painting here is extraordinary, especially for a small church in a small town. So far we are loving our bike tour through Puglia. In all our trips to Italy, never been here before. But we’ll be back.

The Ionian coast of Puglia is lined with 16th Century watchtowers. Built by the local noble named Nardo, they’re quite naturally known as the Torres di Nardo. There are dozens of them along the rugged coast still keeping watch for pirates. A beautiful ride along the coast today, even bucking a headwind all the way.

Yesterday: Olive orchards. Today: the coast of the Ionian Sea. We ate seafood and then sprinted to Gallipoli to beat a rainstorm. This was the world biggest port for olive oil- now still a big fishing port. Plus tourism for its nice sandy beaches a bit south of here.

Riding into Otranto in Puglia. The coast here also has plenty of old defensive warning towers and special views like this one of the Adriatic coast.

The beauty of biking along the Adriatic in Puglia, Italy. What fun! Thanks BikeTours.com for the ride.

It’s impossible to pick one representative image from our two weeks in Puglia (and in Matera in Basilicata next door). Great scenery (agricultural and seaside), cool accommodations, outstanding food, 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and (you know us) countless churches. So I’m going to go with this regional dish as we toast our partners and head north today via Eurail to Florence, with a stop in Bologna for a day. This is homemade orecchiette pasta with cime di rapa (pesto of turnip greens) from Enoteca Divino in Ostuni. Special thanks to BikeTours.com for the inspiration to visit this part of the world (up close!) and to Wonderful Italy for helping us extend our stay.

We are thrilled that Tom and Kristen enjoyed their tour. Their adventurous spirit proves that you really can be “retired” but wired!


Cycling in Apulia and Basilicata with BikeTours.com

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