We landed in Bari on a Saturday in September, past dinner time. We had spent the day – the week even – in anticipation, thinking about our first meal in Puglia, perhaps outside on a terrace, with the air still balmy and the white wine well chilled. We both needed this weekend away so desperately. Not because of London per se – the weather had been particularly lovely lately. But we were restless and exhausted. We needed a few days of that lifestyle we both adore and miss so much: easy, slow and warm.
The little flat we had booked looked promising from the listing – bright, new and with a rooftop overlooking the roofs of Polignano. We had decided not to rent a car but to walk everywhere instead, so our host offered to pick us up at the airport. His name was Paolo.
We came back from what was supposed to be a relaxing weekend escapade to Paris but rather turned into a stressful couple of days. It was snowy. Very snowy indeed, making Paris all white and magical for a few hours, and then a complete disaster. A layer of dirty slushy was covering all the sidewalks and roads, from Rue de Rivoli to Place d’Italie, melting into muddy, ice-cold puddles.
Long queues awaited us at every step, from the ticket machine at Gare du Nord to the Starbucks in Boulevard de Strasbourg. Also, we somehow managed to get treated rudely by everybody: from the manager of the Vietnamese restaurant, who stripped the bowl still containing some delicious Pho from my hands; to the waiter at the wine bar near Canal Saint Martin, who almost killed me when I asked whether we could have the cheese and bread while we were waiting for our main (‘It will be a while’, he said, and well, I was starving).
Anyway, thumbs up for the Edward Hopper Exhibit, which was the main purpose of our trip, and for the out-of-this-world bread and pastry experience at Du Pain et Des Idées, a bakery (the bakery, the best bakery in Paris, and arguably in the world), near République, which was luckily right in front of our Airbnb. Also, for the many natural wines drank, and for a romantic stroll under a cotton-soft snow.