Living the Dream

All good things ...
12th July 2015

We were up early, tidying the place, making sure we left it as we found it. We had arranged with Antonella to "check-out" at 10am and she arrived on time. We handed her the keys and she returned our 200 cash deposit.

It felt so sad leaving but we had no choice. All good things must come to an end.

With our cases packed into the Fiat Cinquecento we set off for Bari Airport. It only took us 45 minutes to get there which meant we were a whole six hour early for our flight.

We thought about going into Bari itself but Julie was stressed enough about flying without having the added worry of driving into a busy city centre.

Instead we were drawn to a place on the map that was only a short drive away. It was called Molfetta and reminded reminded us of our stay in Kefalonia last year at Barry and Katerina's Hotel George Molfettas.

Surely the name was more than just a coincidence. There must have been a connection there somewhere.

We arrived in Molfetta not really knowing where was the best place to visit. What we needed to find was the good old centro storico to get that concentration of attractive churches and narrow alleyways.

Our SatNav had safely delivered us into the centre of the modern town centre but there wasn't much to see there.

Somehow and I don't know how it happened but after stumbling our way down to the harbour front we came across the old part of town.

Once parked safely on the side of the road we walked along the harbour where buckets of mussels were being sold from the boot of a car and another far more professional fishmonger had set up his stall selling a plethora of fresh fish.

We walked back towards the city's catherdral, the twin towered Duomo di San Corrado. It was in an enviable position looking out over the Adriatic. Although in reality it looked inwards to the centre of the citadel.

We walked around looking for the front facade and its entrance.

Beyond the duomo it opened out into large open space overlooking a man-made lagoon. A breakwater created the sheltered water. There was even a small patch of sand in the corner. It was the ideal spot for swimming and sunbathing. Plenty of the locals thought so too.

It was another lovely day with soaring temperatures. We sat briefly in the sun before feeling the heat and deciding to head back to find some shade. Literally in the shade of the duomo was a cafe called Al Duomo. It looked really nice, quite modern and trendy.

We sat down and decided to have something to eat. Unfortunately the only meat-free choice for me was a plain focaccia. Julie had more choice but her cheese and ham toastie was disppointing, She struggled with the very dry bread . They would have got away with it if it was filled with copious amount of melted cheese to lubricate and make the swallowing easier, but it only had a single slice of cheese.

We moved on towards the historical centre.

First we came across a strange shrimp-like statue. I'm not sure what it was meant to represent but assumed it was celebrating the city's fisheries?

A little further we came across a proper statue. It was a mounument to Guiseppe Mazzini a 19th century revolutionary who was a major influence on bringing about the unification of Italy.

It's incredible to think that Italy as we know it has only been an official country since 1871. Prior to that is was a collection of city states ruled more often than not by various non-Italian Royalty. Instead of having a villa in Tuscany these guys owned Tuscany.

From Piazza Mazzini we went inside the citadel and strolled around its streets for a while. There wasn't much to see, or at least we didn't come across anything interesting so we soon came back out.

Instead of marching around in the midday sun in the hope of stumbling across something we decided to stop and have lunch.

Not far from the car was a restaurant cum wine bar called La Vineria di San Domenica.

One huge parasol cast much needed shade over its tables which were laid out on a little tiny square just off Via San Domenica.

The staff were very pleasant and attentive. A lady took our food order and a man took our wine order. I don't know if they were a couple but they worked well together, both clearly following their passions, one for the food the other for the wine.

We shared a bruschetta and they were incredibly delicious. They were more like crostini, small pieces of garlic laced bread simply topped with the ripest of tomatoes and a single basil leaf.

Not only did it taste good it was beautifully presented.

I then had an orrechiette con stracciatella di bufala which was sensational.The stracciatella was like the inside of a burrata and it was simply placed on top of the little round pasta shapes laced with an intense cherry tomato sauce. The flavours were immense.

It goes without saying that the wine that was chosen for us was also wonderful and not extortionate either.

"I wish were staying here tonight" I sighed.

We had discovered a little gem. Our last proper meal in Puglia was just perfect.

Sadly it was time to leave. We drove against our will back to the airport.

Just before returning the rental car we had to refuel it back up to a full tank. It sounded straightforward enough but because it was a Sunday the pumps were self-service only. To make matters more challenging the card payment option wasn't working. Thankfully there was an attendant helping people. He said the pumps accepted cash but didn't give any change. Yet again all I had on me was a 50 note and a 10 and I estimate we only needed about 30 to fill the tank. The dilema was should I just put the 50 in or should I drive off and find an ATM?

Two minutes later we were driving around following the pump attendant's directions trying to find the bancomat.

All this messing about was cranking up Julie's anxiety about the flight. The sooner we filled up the car with petrol, dropped it off at Europacar and got in the airport the better.

It took a while but eventually we were sat airside at the Peroni Bar enjoying another culinary delight in the form of a calzone.

It wasn't the rustic folded over pizza that we were familiar with but more of a thin crust pie. It was certainly a more refined calzone and in an airport cafe of all places. It was filled with some generic green veg and some tomato was utterly delicious. It had to be up there with the nicest airport food we've ever had.

Julie was certainly a little better having got through all the airport rigmarole and was holding it together pretty well.

There's always an air of melancholia to our time spent in airports. We hardly speak as Julie goes into Flight Safe mode focusing on just getting through the ordeal.

Today we felt even more miserable than ever as it was the end of such a beautiful holiday. Having lived the dream of a villa in Italy we were so sad to be leaving.

One thing is for sure though, we have found our special place and we will be back.

Back to the index >>>

ęCopyright 2000 - 2020