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Cycling in Salento

It’s really hard to beat a cycle ride along the coast of Salento

The back-roads roll through shady olive groves, and then to the coast-road which is quiet after the holiday makers have all gone home. We saw breathtaking views of the Adriatic rocky coastline, the ‘energetic’ easterly side of Italy’s boot heel. According to Franco, an interesting character we met in Gagliano, the western coast is for sleepy people. They wake up late in the morning and sit around all day waiting for their spritz at sundown. Whereas the sunrise people are bright eyed and getting lots of fun stuff done.

How to make a decorative border on an image using Paperbrush –

I took the photo at the top of this page in Gallipoli with my iphone, then uploaded it to my Photoshop program before adding the olive leaves. These are available on Paperbrush graphics shop for anyone to download and use. Once you have saved the files on your computer ( takes about 5 mins) open them in your editing program. Select and drag them around until you’re happy with the arrangement. For beginners it might be tricky, but check out the tutorials. If you can’t afford Photoshop, then download any of the free editing program options on the internet.

For the text effect there are a few extra steps, but it’s not hard. You need to have Photoshop or a similar program that has a clipping mask option. To make that wobbly watercolour effect on the text, you need to use one of the watercolour splashes that comes with the set of Italian olive leaf watercolour clipart. Clever tricks! There are plenty of tutorials online which show you how to do it.

Paperbrush watercolour olive leaf
one of the watercolour paintings available in the set of Paperbrush clipart ‘italian Olive leaf’

Back to cycling, there are some tour companies in Salento that offer you guided rides, with ebikes, racing bikes, whatever your prefer. We usually like to do our own thing and bring our own bikes, a flexible schedule is necessary for painting stops, lunch stops, wine stops, photo opportunities etc. However, I may organize a painting tour if anyone is interested?

Cycling and painting has got to be one of the most heavenly activities on Earth. As the locals say “Sole, mare, vento, Salento” (Sun, sea, wind, Salento) and beautiful vistas everywhere. Luckily we had no wind, wind isn’t fun on a bike. But at least the roads are mostly flat.

However, it’s so easy to jump off your bike and paint, no parking problems! You can go almost anywhere, but beware of farm dogs. We were chased for a about 2 kms but a pair of long-legged hounds. That’s quite a distance on a rocky road at maximum bicycle speed. Hearts pumping madly. Haha.

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Cycling through olive groves

Autumn has brought black and green olives to the the olive trees, and dark red leaves to the vines here in Salento (southern Puglia, Italy). We are cycling for a week along the coast from Cisternino to Gallipoli, mostly through olive groves on the rocky slopes. Blue sky, blue sea, rusty soil and red leaves. Today as we rode our bicycles through the groves a sea breeze knocked ripe black olives down onto the waiting nets. I love the white rocky outcrops and crumbling stone walls that run between the trees. It’s an ancient landscape that makes me think of old bones. Earth bones.

I stopped to draw some olive leaves just as the sun was sinking, sitting on the ancient knuckles of the tree. “Suggestivo” is the Italian expression for these type of dramatic but calm moments.

Some of my painted olive leaves are available here as graphics which you can use for your own projects.