Saturday, 16 March 2019

Nicolaus Hotel (Bari, Italy)

Was up early again this morning and had breakfast in the lobby restaurant. I’m really missing my Hilton breakfast. Think I ate enough to keep me satisfied for the next few hours.

I left fairly early for my (short) train trip to Barletta. Since I was taking the city bus to the train station, I knew that I’d have buy at ticket, go to the stop and wait. As it turned out I waited 15 minutes and then took the #10 bus that I knew would get me sort of close to the station. Not sure what happened to the #6 bus, but it never showed.

I walked to the station, since the #10 didn’t go directly to the station, but when I got there I wasn’t sure which train and which platform to wait at. I asked a person who was selling tickets which platform and he said to go to the other side of the station. I did, and that didn’t help. I asked again and learned it was platform 7. At platform 7 the train was there but still wasn’t 100% sure until I saw the sign on the platform change to show that this train was indeed going to Barletta. I’m writing all of this down so I remember how confusing it can be when you’re in a country and you don’t speak the language and the people don’t speak yours. At least everyone was friendly and they tried to be as helpful as they could.

Eventually the train left the station and I was on my way to Barletta. I couldn’t find much to visit while in Barletta, but knew it was a small city and I could just walk around while I was there. Also, I’d like to visit a restaurant and have a good lunch.

I noticed fairly quickly that I might have been the only tourist both on the train and in the city of Barletta. Everyone else seemed to be local and going about enjoying their Saturday. I decided to walk towards the shore and perhaps I’d find a restaurant there.

When I got down to the shore it was virtually deserted. I could see that a number of beach clubs that apparently catered to the summer crowd, but nothing was open. There were maybe a handful of people on this mile long beach. I was expecting a cafe or small seafood restaurant that would be filled with local people enjoying a Saturday lunch, but I didn’t see anything that fit that description.

By this time I needed to find a restroom. I found a store and used their restroom and was scolded (in Italian) by someone who worked there. Not sure what he said, but he wasn’t happy that I used their restroom. I quickly left, but glad I took care of business while I could.

It took time to find a place to eat. Mostly coffee shops serving desserts. The restaurants all seemed, according to Google, to open at night, but not during the day. I came across a place that was serving a variety of Italian meals (mostly pizza) but I also saw some lasagna that looked good, so that is what I ordered. For take out food it was very good. Looked like it was made on-site.

The next train back to Bari was still over 90 minutes before it would depart the station. I walked around a little more then stopped by a nice coffee shop near the station and ordered a cappuccino. It was only 2 Euro. (So much less expensive than a Starbucks or Costa Coffee, but haven’t seen either of these businesses while in this part of Italy.) I enjoyed my coffee outside of the cafe and watched the people coming and going from the station.

Was it a mistake to come to Barletta? Probably not. I seem to do well wandering around and getting a feel of what it might be like to live in an Italian city. I don’t always to have visit an attraction like a museum, church or castle. Just have the opportunity to be among local people is an experience. It helped having the weather come through with plenty of sunshine and a mild 65F for me to enjoy while I walked around.

At last the train arrived to return me to Bari. I was feeling tired and took a taxi back to the hotel where I napped fairly soon after I returned to my room.

After I finish my travel blog update I’ll watch a new episode of The Orville and another episode of Star Trek Discovery before going to bed. Tomorrow I need time to work on planning out the next few days and also itineraries for when I meet up with Barb starting later next week and also with my brother and niece in May. I still have two more nights here and have no reservations booked for the next few days. I’ll have to fill in some of the gaps tomorrow.

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