So poggiofranco isn’t exactly the most aesthetically pleasing part of the world but it’s a great base to explore southern Italy. What better way to start your adventure than starting your adventure at home. On Sunday, me and Dave decided to brave the new Italian cold front which swept over Puglia on Saturday night and took the bus…our first time on public transport which, I think symbolises the fact we are now official locals here. Once you use public transport and get to know your way around the roads, that’s a sure sign you’re in it for the long haul. Anyways, we took the bus into Bari Centro and walked, walked and walked to explore our relatively new surroundings.
Our first stop was Bari vecchia. Translation, old Bari- Bari vecchia was lit up with a hazy street light glow against our glum, cold and dark back drop was absolutely beautiful to see. I think Bari vecchia may be nicer lit up at night than during the day. Mainly because the buzz of everyone Christmas lights was playing with my festive emotions, getting me even more excited for this coming Christmas.
We wandered aimlessly through the winding labyrinth of streets, passing the old city walls and working our way through the maze, unaware of which direction we were heading in. We passed shrines, nativity scenes and of course the Don of all buildings here in Bari, the basilica dedicated to the patron saint of Bari, Saint Nicholas…father Christmas to me and you…maybe another reason why I am so excited for Christmas!
The architecture is beautiful. Think quintessentially Italian and you have a sense of what we trekked through. Quaint little coffee shops, takeaway pizza shops with the glow of the authentic wood burning ovens, balconies, peoples sheets hanging high up across narrow passages and the occasional Italian smoker on the corner. Not to forget the ounces of churches we passed and religious relics and statues casting shadows over us in the dark.
It seems amazing that cars can even pass through these streets, in my opinion it is almost ludicrous that cars and vehicles are allowed to drive through such charming antiquated streets. It really will be a pleasure to sit out here in these street in the sunshine with a beer in my hand.
Once we made it into the main square area, it was like a prettier scene from 28 days later. Not a soul was out. We continued walking hearing only our own voices and footsteps echoing through the streets.
Then we continued on in our quest and ended up in Bari Centro which was a lot busier than where we had just been. It is a crazy juxtapostion of what could be 2 different cities. One modern, busy and thriving city with western chains like H&m and Zara; designer brands like Gucci and Prada are a stark contrast to the stone buildings of yesteryear lain virtually untouched in Bari vecchia. It really is a wonderful contrast. Even the old town gets busy on less cold nights but there is nothing like the poignance of a cold dark and quiet night to really make you appreciate the beauty of somewhere.
Bari may have its problems and has had its fair share of troubles in the past but there is nothing as a good as the rose tinted glasses of a foreigner which can easily see the positives in everything.