We did a lot of walking around today, exploring the maze of lane ways branching off from the Old Town. The weather was beautiful, making it a great day to walk by the water. The Old Town of Bari is small with churches and cathedrals around many corners. We admired them from the outside, but for those that love history and architecture, visiting these landmarks could take up an entire day. We stumbled upon a long pedestrian street lined with shops, cafes and restaurants. We laughed at parking jobs and how close cars were parked to one another and wondered how some cars would even get out of their spots. I noticed how beautiful the Italian language is, and how passionate the Italian people are.
Before leaving our hotel in the morning, I did a quick search for restaurant options and found Paglionico Vini e Cucina on the Lonely Planet website.
Run by the Paglionico family for more than a century, this 100% Italiano osteria (casual tavern) is an absolute classic. There’s no menu, just a chalkboard displaying what’s cooking that day. It’s all fine salt-of-the-earth Puglian cuisine – the riso, patate e cozze (oven-baked rice, potatoes and mussels) is particularly good. The owners/waiters are brusque but brilliant.
Hubs loved the seafood pasta. He especially appreciated that the seafood flavour was infused into the sauce. I had the tomato and cheese pasta, which I enjoyed.
Prior to the primos, we had been served an appetizer of cheese (including fresh mozzarella), prosciutto, grilled eggplant, and fresh zucchini. So by the time I finished my primo, I was already getting full. My secondo was fried calamari and shrimp, while hubs had the beef sausage. I was only able to finish half my dish, but hubs was more than happy to help me out. One thing I have noticed about Italian cooking is that nothing is over-salted. It’s absolutely wonderful for my taste buds. For dessert, a generous slice of fresh pineapple was placed in front of each of us, along with an Italian baked good (flaky croissant-looking item filled with a custard).
We were stuffed, so we decided to walk back to our hotel after lunch. Hubs napped while I wrote up a couple of Trip Advisor reviews, and then we head downstairs to the hotel cafe for an afternoon espresso.
I found some information about Orecchiette Lane, basically a short street lined with women hand making orecchiette pasta. It was getting late, so my hopes were not high that we’d see this; however, we lucked out and caught a few women still hard at work. They were incredibly friendly too, one woman inviting us to step into her home where she was making the orecchiette at lightening fast speeds. Fascinating!
Orecchiette Lane is across from Castello Svevo, so we spent the €6,00 admission for the two of us, and wandered the grounds. The castle is large from the outside, but only a small area was opened to the paying public due to some renovations.
I started to experience a caffeine crash after the visit, so we walked along the wall to get back through the Old Town, and looked for a restaurant that hubs read about just outside of the Old Town. He couldn’t remember the name, but he had a sense of the location. It’s called Biancofiore, and the food is beautifully executed, or as I poorly said to the owner, il cibo era delizioso!
Luckily we had strolled in early (7:30 pm), otherwise we might have been turned away.
The Italian meal structure is still very filling for me. I’m not used to eating so much food, and drinking wine with every meal. I jokingly mentioned to hubs at dinner that I’ve had wine with every meal today, except for breakfast. At lunch, I asked for white wine, thinking I would get a glass. The waiter brought me a half litre. Good thing he forgot to bring hubs his red wine! At dinner, I had started with a white (which was a sparkling white), and with my secondo, the waiter poured a generous glass of red from Puglia. With all the wine and food, it was a slow walk home.
It’s an early night because tomorrow we have to get up earlier to make our way to the Bari train station to meet with our Backroads group. We did the test walk to the station today. It’s not that far, but we are still undecided whether we will walk with our luggage or take a cab.
I’m nervous about the biking portion of this trip. In the past, I’ve already been on my bike and completed some longer distances before the cycling trips. This year, I’ve only been on one long ride. And the fact that we are huffing up the stairs to our room, is not a good start.