Bari (Or: The Randomest Place On Earth)

Trip Start Mar 08, 2008
1
12
51
Trip End Sep 06, 2008


Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines
shadow

Flag of Italy  ,
Wednesday, March 26, 2008

After our glorious day in Dubrovnik, we decided to head over to Southern Italy for a few days.  Our decision to go to Bari, Italy was totally random.  We didn't have a tour book for Italy, knew nothing about the town we were entering, and had no idea what we'd do there.  But we wanted to take the overnight ferry and Italy seemed like a good destination.  Our ferry ride was quite nice, as we had a relatively large and comfy cabin.  We spent a couple hours playing some wild and exciting rounds of War on our deck of cards and then crashed for the night.  The next morning, we were woken by our extremely loud Italian neighbors in the cabins next to us and we landed in Bari, Italy.

We got to Bari with 10 Euros in our pocket, no map, no tour book, and no idea what we were doing.  Unfortunately, the tourist office was closed, so was the money exchange place, and no ATMS in site.  So we headed off in a random direction with our packs on our backs.  We'd gotten maybe a mile down when we reached a dead end.  There was a large electric fence, but the guard on the other side with the gun would not open it for us.  We weren't about to argue with him, so we turned back around and headed back to the port.  We noticed a bunch of people, including several backpackers, waiting around the street for a bus, so we figured we'd wait with them.  No one could tell us where the bus would be going, but we figured it was better than hanging out at the port.  Eventually, a bus came and about 3,000 people jumped on with 50,000 pieces of luggage.  We were crammed like sardines for a while, but the bus eventually ended up at the Central Station.  Success!

We found a tourist office that was open this time and the nice Italian woman handed us a map and instructions to get to our hotel.  She told us it was a bit of a walk and she wasn't kidding.  We ended up trekking about 3-4 miles  with our 20+ pound backpacks on.  Our place was number 320 on the street, so I thought we were almost there when I saw a building on the other side of the street with the number 291.  But then I realized the even numbers on our side of the street didn't necessarily coincide with the odd numbers on the other side.  Our side was only at 202.  So we walked for what felt was forever before we got to the 300's on our side of the street.  I figured that since each building was the next even number, we'd be at our hotel within the next 10 buildings.  But when we reached number 318, the Bari gods decided to punish us by then moving on to letters, so that we had to pass 318a, 318b, 318c, etc.  We finally reached the corner at around 318r or so, and we hit an empty parking lot.  Beyond the lot was the freeway entrance.  Where was 320!?!  We were standing in the lot looking around like idiots when a homeless man begging for money from the cars exiting the freeway took pity on us.  He pointed towards a driveway jutting towards the left that seemed to go nowhere.  Not really seeing any other option, and hoping we wouldn't be murdered around the corner, we took that driveway down to a soccer field and basketball court.  This driveway continued for about a quarter mile before it led to our hotel.  The hotel was situated behind a bunch of sports fields and next door to a junior high or high school.  What a random location for a hotel!

The hotel itself was also the most random hotel we'd ever been to.  It looked like a school dormitory, complete with a mess hall on the second floor and a small chapel.  There were display cases on the reception wall with different minerals labeled, like they had in my 8th grade earth science class room.  And then crucifixes at the end of the hall.  When we asked if there was an internet cafe, the receptionist took us to the main office where they kicked this teenage girl and her dog off the laptop she was on and let us borrow it.  Our room itself was quite roomy and nice, and everyone was very friendly, but we couldn't get over how random the whole place was.

What can I saw about the port town of Bari?  It's random.  We walked around the touristy areas, which took just a few hours.  There were very few tourists around.  We entered this one fortress where the four people in the entrance area literally jumped up and gave us free entrance tickets, as if we were doing them a favor by visiting their fortress.  

Foodwise, Bari actually lived up to our expectations for what we'd expect from Italy.  Our first day we went to the supermarket to grab some food for lunch and I couldn't have been happier with the deli section.  Why can't you go to your local Vons and buy a wedge of buffalo mozzarella for $3?  And fresh baked focaccia with olives and artichokes for $1?  On our second day, we treated ourselves to a very nice lunch at a chic restaurant.  We shared a bottle of white wine, had some great pasta for the first course, and grilled fish with vegetables for the second course.  Even at our very random hotel, we got a complimentary breakfast with the most amazing chocolate
croissants ever. So for all of Bari's randomness, I'm happy to report that we ate very well there. 

Getting warmer, but still looking for that steamy, hot beach weather.  Off to Greece to find the islands...
Slideshow Report as Spam

Comments

david_chung
david_chung on

Hey, keep the posts coming!
Need something to keep me awake at work in the afternoons ...

Add Comment

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: