Day 2 – Bari

April 25, 2010 in ITALY,Mediterranean | Comments (27)

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We could disembark at 10am. Confusion at the port. We had decided not to do a tour and asked all in sundry the way out, the way to go.

Hard to find out how far we would have to walk – of course the tour people don’t have time or inclination to tell you that.

In fact it was a very short way. But intimidated by intimations of distance, we were easy prey to a jolly little tourist train parked nearby,  which would circle the town. You were to get half an hour at three stops.  Began a conversation with a nice Italian woman from northern Italy – me no Italian – she no English, helped by  French man.  Fun.  Adventure.

We met a world full of contrasts. Pockets of cruise passengers in little groups here and there. But otherwise the life of Bari on a Sunday came vividly to us. It was the best possible day to visit Bari after all…

Firstly the Catholic Church. Full of the magic of incense. Devotees sitting on the pews in the magnificent basilica. A little embarrassing to invade as a tourist, yet immensely moving to watch.  A sermon was in process by soft spoken priest. Spoke as if to himself or to God. Down in the vaults mass was in swing with rich harmony. In another church in the square, an old woman with scarf beside me sang along in parts, adding to the sounds from the small choir, creating stereo sound in a haunting  mass. I could have cried –  it was so moving…

Walking. Narrow streets with the aroma of washing powder. Sunday is wash day. Washing draped between walls in narrow lanes, over balconies – flapping everywhere. Pasta out to dry too, home made pasta on wooden stands by front doors.

Little square. Piazza. Children children children – bambinos – on tiny bright enameled bikes, cycling round and round while mothers watch through open doors, emitting wafts of the Sunday lunch. Pasta out to dry…

A MATTER OF STARS

In our cabin.

Luxury cruise – and the natural question considering my job is how much luxury?

Aleah and I keep giving stars to things.

Here are a few.

Meet and greet. 3 or 4 stars. Nice smiles, nice bus, but no champagne or fruit juice…. We were very thirsty.

Arrival at the port: As we walked into the huge departure hall Aleah said: this is very Viking Line. A huge hall full of people. Half an hour in the queue perhaps – but at last we came onto the boat. Felt a bit like we were a flock of sheep being herded, suggested A. Three stars. Two?

First meal. Buffet on the 13th floor. Three stars we agreed. Giggle giggle. Kept comparing with the Viking Line.  Giggle –  why compare with Viking Line – we meant Silja Line.

Our cabin small but very nice – normal beds, artwork, and best of all private balcony. That we suggested was four star, as they had forgotten to change the towels.

But then we found the five stars. Coffee and ice cream at a bar on the deck were  as good as you can get on the five continents and seven seas. Finally, after a nice (four star) a la carte dinner and a long day that stretched from Sweden to the Adriatic Sea, we fell asleep to the  sound of the  sea –  more than five stars. What else do you call the element of life? Nurturing  SOOTHING … calming …even in the middle of the night.


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