Elodie Pethybridge, Trainee Travel Consultant at our Woodbridge travel agents, took her first ever educational trip to visit the beautiful Italian region of Puglia. With stops in Lecce, Alberobello and Gallipoli, she got a great taste of what this part of the world has to offer. Here are her thoughts…
Operator/Host: Inghams/ Charlotte Yeomans
(Hotel names/Ship name): Vivosia Apuglia Resort
Airline: British Airways/EasyJet
Duration: 4 nights
We flew from Gatwick to Bari with British Airways. The flight was really good and well executed. I was lucky enough to sit on the right-hand side of the plane and I had a great view of the French Alps as we flew over. Beautiful. We flew home from Brindisi Airport with EasyJet. The flight was fine; we were held up at the airport for about an hour waiting to board, but only landed 10 minutes late, which was good.
The Vivosia Apuglia Hotel is a fairly modern resort. It’s really clean and really well looked after. The staff were all very helpful and 90% spoke English. Nothing was too much trouble for them. The rooms were based around nine big courtyards, which were also clean and tidy. I felt like it was a very family friendly resort with lots of activities that included three main pools, a splash pool for little ones, an adventure zip-wire park, a playground area, ping pong tables and a private beach (which is where we spent most of our time). They also put on children's entertainment in the evening.
The whole group loved the hotel and we were all very sad to be leaving. It was all-inclusive with great food and a wide variety of options for everyone to enjoy. I have to say, I think breakfast was my favourite meal of the day. Italian scrambled eggs are incredible.
The private beach was amazing. I have never seen a clearer sea and it was lovely and warm too. There is a bar at the beach which serves drinks, coffees, ice-cream and cocktails (we may have sampled a few of the latter).
The hotel is advertised as a relaxation hotel and includes a spa and gym which we got to use. There are three lovely steam rooms of varying temperature and the hotel runs a relaxation class. They also offer cooking classes and demonstrations, which guests can take part in. It’s a great way to learn about the cuisine.
We stopped in Alberobello on the way to the hotel and were greeted with a food and wine tasting. Alberobello is a beautiful town full of Trulli houses and we were lucky enough to go inside one.
We went to Lecce and Otranto on the third day of our trip. Again, they are beautiful places to visit with plenty of shops and delis. While in Lecce, we visited Risorgimento Resort, a five-star hotel. It was really spacious and modern with amazing views and had a great rooftop garden where, during the summer, you can stop for dinner or a cocktail or two. We had a great lunch at Risorgimento Resort, which included fresh Puglia pasta in tomato sauce. Quite simple, but delicious. Save to say, I ate far too much during this trip.
We also went to Gallipoli, another really lovely town. We stopped here for coffee and a Sicilian Cannoli (very sweet). Staring into the sea at Gallipoli made us all want to jump in, so we headed back to the hotel for a drink and a swim. I'm not one for sea swimming, but I would be if I lived in Puglia.
Being my first familiarisation trip (Fam for short), I literally enjoyed every part of it. It was quite relaxed as work trips go and there was lots of beach and pool time. I loved meeting new people; some great people that I will be sure to keep in contact with. Being such a small group (4 agents and two representatives from Inghams) was so good.
I have fallen in love with Italy and I am going to try and visit a different region each year. Italy is so universal, there’s culture, history, great food and drink, loads for kids, and an amazing coastline.
I will never forget my first educational trip. I have been suffering with 'Educational Blues' ever since I got home.
The only complaint we had with regards to the hotel was that the children's entertainment took place near the dining area. We were told that during high season, it takes place in the kid’s club, but while there were so few children there they did it closer to the restaurant. This got a bit repetitive after four nights. But other than that....Amazing.
Puglia is a beautiful part of Italy. I know I keep going on about it, but the coast is amazing. It’s such a varied area which is great for couples and families with young children. Lecce would also make an amazing city break for three or four nights. A little hidden gem.
Must see? Trulli Houses in Alberobello
Must do? Zip line through the forest
Must try? Traditional Puglia Parmigiana (deep fried aubergine)
If you would like to tour the Puglia area, or any of the other beautiful regions Italy has to offer, we would love to help you plan your holiday. Drop by our travel shops in Ipswich or Woodbridge and speak to the team today.