I spent only one morning and afternoon in Bari, which was really giving the city short shrift as it is both a bustling city center and the home of many lovely historic buildings. There’s quite a nice turn of the century area with wide grided streets and decorative balconies but I passed through it with an eye only for travel groceries and didn’t photograph it. The section of the city which captured my heart (and camera’s eye) was the old medieval quarter out toward the port. I’m such a sucker for the twisted tangle of narrow streets, bracing arches, stone work and old churches. The largest is that of the city’s patron saint, Nicholas. I was drawn in by its odd contrast of bare carved stone punctuated by sumptuous colored frescoes and painted wooden ceiling.
I almost passed by the castle museum which is functionally plain on the outside – maintaining its distance from the modern port and the old city alike with a deep but empty moat. Inside, however is a lovely little museum with a breathtaking collection of stone carving. The collection takes up only four rooms and has almost no ancillary text to explain the history of the pieces or their provenance Still the work speaks for itself and I spent long enough standing in front of many of the pieces to let the motion sensor activated lights turn off over my head more than a dozen times.
At the end of the day I collected a grocery bag of snackfood and sandwich materials, swung back past my hostel to pick up my pack and walked out to meet the ferry. Making my way on foot through the enormous asphalt parking/loading area of the ferry terminal was intimidating – an environment so clearly calculated for trucks can’t feel hospitable to people but once aboard the trip went very smoothly. At this time of year there were very few tourist passengers and I was able to stretch out across three airplane-type seats and sleep most of the night before settling in the cafe area to work on my laptop and occasionally stroll the deck during the morning. We stopped once in the night to drop off trucks at Igoumenitsa and then headed southward and inward to Patras. Then … GREECE!