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Big Sur - Hiking Andrew Molera State Park

One of the great delights of living in the Bay Area is the proximity to the natural beauty of California and it's hard to beat the stunning drive down Highway One to Big Sur. This is certainly one of the iconic American road trips, but for me the joy of being in the area is getting out of your car and hitting a trail, so you can be "in" the landscape rather than just looking at it from the asphalt. 

Alberobello, Puglia

I must admit I wasn't that interested in seeing the much publicized Alberobello on our trip to Puglia. Yes I wanted to see the vernacular architecture, the  trulli houses (built in a circular form  of stacked stones without mortar) but I knew I could see them elsewhere, without visiting what I regarded as a tourist trap.
However, I have to say (with several caveats) we enjoyed our short visit. We were driving right past Alberobello on our way to dinner and decided to stop in the early evening. The locals were out for their passegiatta, or evening stroll, and the main square was filled with people. The light was gorgeous and I could almost look past the horrendously tacky shops that lined the main drag and the ridiculous price we paid for two Lemonsodas. If you can avoid the bus tours and come when the light is right go ahead, but remember while you won't see this concentration of trulli elsewhere you can see them throughout this part of Puglia.

Below you can see some of the wonderful architectural contrasts.
There were several sites we specifically enjoyed seeing including  this trulli style church which you will find at the top of the hill above the tourist drag.  
This extremely unusual two story trullli has be converted into a museum and I recommend going inside to see the interior. This is away from the main concentration of trulli but still in Alberobello.
The countryside around this region is beautiful, particularly when you take the backroads. 

I can't resist one more photo of the trulli  because they are just so gorgeous in the waning light.