Italy
Piazza Garibaldi

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4 travelers at this place:

  • Day3

    Mangia, mangia!

    April 3, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    We finally arrived at our Airbnb accommodations late last night. We left Vancouver at 6:40 PDT on Monday and arrived at our Bari apartment at around 11:30 GMT+1. Even considering the nine hour time difference, it made for a very long travel day, indeed. After partially unpacking our bags and having a chat with our neighbor, Jen, in Vancouver, we hit the sack a little after midnight and both went out like lights. Unfortunately, my internal clock had me wide awake at 5:00AM, so I guess it'll be a fairly early night for me tonight. Brenda managed to stay asleep until almost 6:30, lucky girl.

    I got out of bed at around 7:00 and went for a little 3km run along the waterfront. I packed only shorts and T-shirts for workout gear and, at 11°C, I received a lot of strange looks from the Italian runners who were all decked out in their track suits. Hardy Canadian blood.

    After I showered, Brenda and I went out exploring and immediately found a little cafe where I had an espresso and a cornetto (a croissant filled with jam) for the ridiculous price of €1.00.

    Brenda and I then walked along the shore and circled the old fortified city before entering in through the wall in search of Largo Albicocca. After Google mapping our way through the narrow, winding streets of the old city, we came to a small piazza that was teeming with people stuffing their faces with all manner of goodies. We were in the right place!

    Bari's street food consists of Focaccia, Sgagliozze and Popizze. Our first stop in Largo Albicocca was to La Sgagliozze de Donna Carmela. This little open air shop consists of a work table, two gas burners and two large pots containing boiling oil. Into one pot of oil, Donna Carmela drops blobs of raw pizza dough, fries it until it's golden brown and serves these Popizze piping hot. She then cuts squares of polenta from a large block and tosses them into the other pot. Once they're golden, they go into a bag along with a sprinkle of sea salt and those are your Sgagliozze. We didn't have any of the Popizze, but the Sgagliozze were scrumptious. They tasted like popcorn but with a palate burning, smooth mouthfeel. They did, however, contain enough oil to stop your heart.

    While we ate our deep fried polenta, we couldn't help but notice other locals coming into the piazza with what looked like slices of pizza and little bottles of Peroni beer. Pizza and beer?!? How could we resist?

    We went off in the direction the pizza slices were coming from and our noses quickly found Panificio Santa Rita, a little hole in the wall that was filled with people waiting to place their orders.

    What we thought were pizza slices turned out to be the Barese version of focaccio. They make a white version, that has only oil and herbs on it, or a rosso style that has oil and fresh tomatoes baked along with the crust. For €2.40 you can have the whole slab, €1.20 for a mezzo (half) or €0.60 for a quarto. Add in a €1.00 bottle of beer and you're good to go.

    Another thing Bari is known for is their Orecchiette. Everywhere you look there are women seated at tables rolling out these little pasta pieces that get their name from their shape. The literal translation of Orechiette is little ears.

    These same stands also sell a variety of baked goods, including one of my personal favorites, Taralucci cookies. These hard, round biscotti are coated with a sweet lemon flavored glaze that makes them irresistable to me. Yup, I came home with a big bag of them.

    I haven't been running a lot lately so I thought I'd slowly ramp up to longer distances as our stay in Italy progresses. However, after our first exposure to Barese cuisine, I'd better crank up the mileage very soon or they'll have to roll me onto the plane back to Vancouver.

    Oh yeah, we're not done eating just yet. At 7:30 we're off to Restaurant Al Raffaello for dinner. Oh my goodness!
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  • Day4

    A Rather Blustery Day

    April 4, 2019 in Italy ⋅ 🌬 17 °C

    Despite being exhausted and going to bed with a full belly well after midnight, I'm still operating on Vancouver time and this morning I found myself wide awake at 3:00 AM. I tossed, I turned, I read, and I meditated, but nothing I did brought me back to dreamland. I finally fell asleep as the sky was beginning to brighten and managed to sleep in until 9:00 o'clock. Hopefully tonight will be better.

    The weather forecast this morning was very promising with a high of 21°C, however, by late afternoon the wind would be gusting to 49 KMH! I figured that even with the high winds, at 21°, I'd be fine wearing my shorts. After all, as soon as it hits 10° in Vancouver the convertible cars have their tops down and shorts and sandals are the order of the day. In Bari, not so much.

    I don't know if the temperature ever reached the forecast high, but after an hour of exposure to the elements, my legs were begging to be covered up. And unlike Vancouver, I didn't see another soul wearing shorts!

    In any case, we went for lunch at Pizzeria Bari-Napoli where they offer gluten free pasta and pizza, which is a treat for Brenda and her gluten intolerance. As so often happens in Europe with the narrow streets and tall buildings, Google Maps gets confused and directions can be hard to follow. This is exactly what happened today. We ended up walking around and around the restaurant before we were finally able to settle the GPS signal and find our way inside. The frigid wind made our inability to find the eatery that much more frustrating.

    To make a long story short, the GF pizzas are only available at dinner and we ended up ordering some very lackluster dishes that made us regret not deciding to go and eat elsewhere. Brenda's alternate choice was a €6.00 salad that filled half a small bowl with spinach, large chunks of fennel and grated carrot. The DYI dressing consisted of a bottle of balsamic vinegar, a bottle of EVOO and salt and pepper shakers. My Sicilian spaghetti was equally unimpressive, and we left the restaurant with very a bad taste in our mouths, literally and figuratively.

    Brenda was so hungry we ended up stopping at a little middle eastern restaurant and ordering her a plate of falafels to tide her over until dinner.

    Because the weather was so unpleasant, we decided to come in from the cold and went to see the Van Gogh Alive exhibit at the Teatro Margherita. There were no original works in the exhibit, but there was a recreation of VVG's painting of his bedroom that was very cool to see. Most of the exhibit was a 360° slide show of all his works that were accompanied by his word and a soundtrack of music from each period. The show provided good insight into Van Gogh's troubled life and how it was reflected in his work. I found it most interesting to learn that only one of his paintings sold during his lifetime and for a mere 400 francs at that (equal to about $1900 USD in todays money). Today, some of his works have sold for as much as $82.5 million.

    After the show we returned to our lodging and searched for a Gluten free pizza place for dinner. The reviews for Pizzeria Tana, about 1.8 kms from us, were outstanding and, as a bonus, Brenda found a GF bakery along the way where we could stop and get dessert.

    We headed out the door at around 7:00 and, only a couple of blocks from home, the rain started. Fortunately, I had my little travel umbrella with me, but with the high winds, it offered little protection from the downpour. I left Brenda under an awning and rushed back to the apartment to grab the golf umbrella that our host made available. With our upper bodies protected from the deluge, we soldiered on toward the bakery, only to have the GPS get lost again and have us overshoot it by a couple of blocks. With our feet and pants getting wetter by the minute, we elected to forego the pastries and go straight for the pizza.

    You know there are just some days like that where nothing seems to go right. all the rest of the way to Tana I had visions of it being closed or packed to the rafters or out of GF pizza dough. Surely our miserable day was destined to continue.

    But no. We were warmly greeted and given a table right away. Brenda ordered her GF pizza and I ordered mine with regular dough along with a glass of the house red. While we were waiting for the pies to bake, take out pizzas were flying out the door. There was one employee assigned just to make up pizza boxes for the take-out orders. No sooner did he complete a pile than it was taken into the kitchen to be filled with orders.

    Our pizzas arrived in very little time and they were every bit as delicious as the reviews made them out to be. Brenda said it was the best gluten free crust she had ever eaten. And the pizzas were cheaper than Bari Napoli AND the service was better AND the place was more comfortable.

    By the time we left, the rain had subsided and, if it hadn't been nighttime, I'm sure there would have been a rainbow in the sky to put even bigger smiles on our faces.

    All's well that ends well.
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  • Day5

    Ciao, Bari

    April 5, 2019 in Italy ⋅ 🌬 15 °C

    Our short stay in Bari has drawn to a close as our bags are packed and ready for our next stop, Lecce.

    With one glaring exception, the food has been outstanding here, offering countless vegan and vegetarian options as well as some wonderful gluten free choices for Brenda.

    People have been very helpful and made efforts to communicate with us in English or shown immense patience with deciphering our limited Italian.

    The weather has felt cooler than we expected, but was nice for my early morning run.

    The narrow, winding streets of the old town are great fun to explore and they hold hidden treasures around every bend. It would have been nice to have had a little more time (and better weather) to see more of it, but we can leave that for a other day.

    Our time here has been most enjoyable and we would definitely like to make a longer stay sometime in the future, if only to come back for more of Tana's pizza!
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Piazza Garibaldi

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