ITALIA Day 4: Bari by the Mare

Buona serra! I’m back for another tall tale. Well, maybe not so much. Today was mostly a travel/get acquainted with a new place day, as we bid farewall to our beloved Roma and flew to Bari, a port city on the Adriatic Sea in the “heel of the boot”. This is where we will begin the second leg of our adventure, our biking trip through the Puglia region. Funny aside/Italy protip: whatever time it says your plane’s leaving at, add about 1 hour to that. Mi dispiace; I don’t mean to disrespect…you guys know I have nothing but LOVE for Italy and all its people. 🙂

Anyway, we arrived at the Grandhotel Leon d’Oro here in Bari at about 3:30. Honestly, this is one of the coolest little hotels I’ve ever seen! Sorta has a modern Scandinavian vibe to it with a sprinkle of old-world Italian charm. Take a look:

Space pod shower
Space pod shower

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We also got to walk around the city a little bit. As it has been in most of Southern Italy for the past few days, it was about 60 degrees Fahrenheit and raining. Eh, can’t complain. I’m freaking in Italy. And hey, the ocean even gave us the pleasure of a little rainbow today!:

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Pretty cool building found in the city...how would you describe the architectural style?

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Okay, so it has a gritty side…but I don’t hate it.

Finally, we had, I kid you not, the MEAL OF OUR LIVES at a restaurant called Ai 2 Ghiottoni. It’s funny, because we thought that with the dishes upon dishes we were accumulating seemingly out of thin air, we would be charged some gratuitous amount characteristic of dopey, easily-swindled Americans. We could not have been more wrong. This, I must say, was the highlight of our day. Definitely the highlight of our food journey! See photos and my review below!

REVIEW – Ai 2 Ghiottoni

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ambiance – Classical, white tablecloths, definitely nice. Pre-opera dining destination for large, Italian families and affluent couples. Has fresh fish and meat on display at the front…and one HECK of a dessert table. (5/5)

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We were the first people here when the restaurant open at 7:30. LOLNOOBS

food – Best. Food. Ever. Seriously. We tried about a million different antipasti, mostly made of fish and vegetables, and had a plate full of shrimp, squid, and white fish cooked fresh for us. Best seafood I’ve ever had, period. Overall, it was spectacular and the city of Bari is worth a trip just to eat here. (5+/5)

service – At first, we weren’t sure. Admittedly, our servers were a bit pushy, and our hearts were dropping a bit with each new plate that came. We thought, “This is gonna be like a solid 500€, just watch”. As the next criterion would reveal, boy – were we in for a shock…(5/5)

cost – Don’t let the “$$$$” fool you. We had an unbelievably, astoundingly extravagant meal in a beautiful setting for 117€. Total. That included about 10 different types of appetizers, an enormous plate of fresh fish, a large salad, and, I kid you not, about 7 different desserts. While it was no pauper’s pittance, we were about as shocked by the reasonableness of the price as one could be. ($$$$/$$$$)

Needless to say, I’m happy to have fueled up so heartily. After all, we meet our biking group tomorrow and have our 15-mile “warm up” ride (pfft – I know, right?) to our next destination, the Il Melograno near the town of Monopoli (lololol). The exciteys are getting crazy. Alas, it is time for a calming episode of Futurama to close the day.

Thought of the Day: Family is EVERYTHING. Whether you’re born with them or “make” them, make sure you tell your family you love them at least once a day.

-H

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