Adventures: Week 1: Bari, Italy

Tina Benias I am aware that generally a diary of any kind of adventure should typically be written day by day, however, mental disorganization is one of my key strengths, and rebelling against what should ‘typically’ be done comes a close second, so I’m going to muddle my way through week one and perhaps by the end of it I’ll have some kind of style happening. Let’s catch up.


It’s 1:26pm on Thursday the 27th of October and I am in Bari- Italy. I’ve just come out of the shower and my body is nursing both frostbite and scalding burns from the bi-polar shower which has now become my nemesis. This once nurturing feature of any home greeted me with false hospitality on my very first day here. I should have known that a shower requiring a tutorial, which Peppe quickly facilitated, should be met with exercised caution. Dying to get on with it, I ushered Peppe out of the bathroom and assured him that I was capable of operating a shower- I’ve done this before. I then peeled off my airplane clothes and prepared to wash away 28 hours of transit grime. I pulled back the shower curtain and pulled up the stiff leaver of the tap, remembering his instructions.

Pull up, hard turn all the way to the left for it to get hot and then regulate from there.

There I stood, naked and shivering with my hand dancing in and out of the stream of water, waiting for it to warm up.


I reevaluated the positioning of the tap and inched it as far as it could go towards hot.


Then, suddenly, like Mt Etna erupting, an explosion
of hot water surges out of the shower head, forcing the hanging shower rose to snake back towards the ceiling and my face.

Ok, I think, yes- now temper back the lever and it will be warm.

Nope- Freezing cold ice.

I start to muster-up the courage to duck dive under the handheld shower rose when suddenly Peppe knocks on the door to check if everything was ok. I concede defeat as I stand shivering while Peppe adjusts the lever to the perfect position.


So here I am, 7 days later and I still haven’t mastered the shower. Italy, however, I’m in to. I landed in Rome on Thursday the 20th of October and as a rolled my suitcase out of customs and into the passenger pickup area I was met with my beautiful boyfriend’s smiling face. 3 weeks apart felt like an eternity, and I ran towards him as any good actress would in your typical rom-com.


After spending 10 minutes clinging to each other in the middle of the airport we collected ourselves and drove the 4 hours from Rome to Bari giving us plenty of time to catch up on the weeks apart. I tried my first ‘Pocket Coffee’ which turns out to be a combination of my tIMG_0153_2wo favourite things- coffee and chocolate and learned that in Italy speed limits are just a suggestion.

We arrived in Bari just after sunset, and I, sweaty and muddled from my trip met Peppe’s parents for the first time. Not exactly how I would have liked to meet them, but they are lovely and we not phased by my swamp-rat-like appearance.

Dinner was every tourist’s dream, pizza margherita with a table of prosciutto di San Daniele (which is the best kind apparently) and fresh buffalo mozzarella and stracciatella bought from the cheese shop across the street- literally. It was heaven but in my trans-international sleepy state, I could only manage 3 pieces.
The weekend was a bit of a blur, even though I didn’t experience any jetlag, I still cant properly remember what we did. Friday was spent setting up my Italian life with the basics- getting an Italian sim card so I have internet and learning how to order coffee- which is obviously essential. It rained.




On Saturday I realised that none of my clothes suited the city. I know that it sounds ridiculous, but after being told by Peppe that I dress like an ‘Aussie’ I felt insecure about every single thing I brought. Even though the weather is warm everyone wears winter clothes. There is no crossover. If it’s winter you wear winter clothes, even if its 22 degrees. We were going out later that night and my high heels had open toes which were apparently a no-no because= summer. Because of this, I dragged Peppe on a 2-hour quest of the city to buy new boots because mine didn’t make the luggage weight limit. I ended up spending 150€ on a pair of Italian leather boots, which in the end I didn’t even wear. Insecurity makes you do crazy things.

Before we went to the club we went to Peppe’s friend’s restaurant to watch a soccer game. AC Milan vs someone, clearly I was paying attention. It’s a sports-themed restaurant, with every section decorated as a different sport. It’s pretty cool actually. The night ended with vodka and a Maccas run.


We were both pretty worse for wear on Sunday so we slept in and went out in the afternoon to meet Pep’s cousin and his wife for an afternoon drink.


On Monday we went to Polignano A Mare, a town about 30 mins from the city centre of Bari. This place is breathtaking. The old city is perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Adriatic Sea. It’s also home to the ‘most romantic restaurant’ in the world- Ristorante Grotta Palazzese, which I’m DYING to go to but unfortunately is only open from May to October. Next year.


Tuesday involved another wardrobe expansion from H&M followed by an afternoon gelati and photography walk at Torre A Mare, another seaside suburb of Bari.



Wednesday was all about food. Ok, yes, most days so far here in Italy have been centred around food, but today was molto-foodie.

We started our morning as we do most mornings, with a latte and biscuits- a typical Italian breakfast. Italy so far has been all about the carbs and as a barely recovering carb-phobe my weight isn’t doing so well. It then escalated with a walk through the old city of Bari.


Fichi D’India fruit, also known as the fruit of the prickly pear.

Then a walk deeper into the old city to find the best focaccia shop in Bari- Pacifico. It is a tradition in Bari to eat focaccia and drink Peroni Red on the Lungo Mare. Peroni Red is made here in the city. Later in the evening we went to the cheese shop across the street and bought prosciutto, salami, more mozzarella and fresh panzerotti and bread from the bakery.

Hello obesity!

So that’s week 1. A little muddled but I promise I’ll do better.



Tina Benias

Temporary resident of Bari

Member of carbaholics anonymous

Cheese fiend


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