Bari, Italy in Late November

Every year late November, my travel companion and I go away for a few days. Over the years, we have been to Mallorca, Malta, Tallinn/Estonia, and Thessaloniki/Macedonia. This year, it took us to Bari in Apulia, a region at the heel of Italy’s boot.

We got very lucky with the weather – sunshine, blue skies and an average temp of 20°C for three days.

My first view from the balcony of my B&B in the old town of Bari.

Old town of Bari

The houses in the old town are quite narrow and usually have three floors with a rooftop terrace. As one of the locals explained to us, the bottom serves as the kitchen and the place to eat. The upstairs is for sleeping and bathrooms. These houses have no living rooms, as we know it. The ‘living’ is done mostly outside. You are only inside to eat, sleep, and shower. Not to live there.

We passed many of these homes with their front door open. I often saw a grandmother sitting there, the TV was on, people kept going in and out.

This was my room at the B&B ‘Bella Bari’. As each floor only had one room, I basically had the whole (small) floor to myself. It made for a fairly spacious bedroom and bathroom.

This was the view from our rooftop terrace. Initially, we had plans of sitting up there every night with some wine. But when you get lost walking around the old town, walk all day, we had no more energy left to climb to the top terrace (terraces on the 4th and 5th floor). This photo was taken shortly after we had arrived.

View over Bari Old Town

This square separates the Old Town from the new town.

Square between Old Town and new town Bari

The lights installed around the Old Town emit a special warmth and glow. The wine helps too, but the camera doesn’t lie (as my husband likes to remind me 🙂 )

Our first day there was well spent. We got lost a few times, walked and laughed a lot, and managed to stop here and there for some refreshments. When going to Bari Old Town, wear good and sturdy shoes.

Did I mention Primitivo is an excellent wine..?

A Winter Day in Oberursel

In late January, I had the chance to visit the old part of town in snowy weather. My walk took me from the market square through the Strackgasse, and then back to the U-Bahn station.

Oberursel Market Square

At the market square, next to the restaurant Marktweib, you find one of the 40+ fountains of Oberursel.

This must be one of the most photographed views of Oberursel.

Oberursel and St. Ursula Church

The Strackgasse, leading from the market square back into the Vorstadt (commercial area), was rather quiet on that Wednesday morning around 10 o’clock.

Strackgasse in Oberursel

The half-timbered houses (German: das Fachwerkhaus) are maintained in very good condition.

Strackgasse in Oberursel

When we first arrived in Oberursel in 1995, we were meant to stay for two years… 24 years later, we are happy to stay longer.

September Notes from Istanbul: Old Greek Quarter

We stayed at a friend’s place in Fatih, which was only a ten-minute-walk from the old Greek quarter of Istanbul. Some parts are really run down, while some buildings show a lot of potential for a revival. We walked around there in the morning hours, and hardly anybody was around.

Istanbul-Greek quarter -1

View down to the water.

Istanbul - Greek quarter

Some buildings need love and funds.

Istanbul-Greek quarter corner house

This building showed more life, and we ended up talking to the residents, Turkish-Greek-Germans who live in Rosenheim/Germany during the year.

Istanbul - Greek quarter -2

Old and New - in Istanbul

Istanbul-GQ up the street

With few people living in that part of the Greek quarter, it also lacked shops and restaurants. The few working people I saw were rebuilding homes. This is a good start.

Biarritz and Bayonne

These little tents are quite useful on a hot day at the beach (euro 9,70 for the day rental).

At the beach in Biarritz

There are many good restaurants in Biarritz, among them the Restaurant Des Terrasses, where they serve mussels for appetizer.

Another view overlooking the ocean just before sunset.

Just about 15 km northeast of Biarritz lies the city of Bayonne, which is also the cultural capital of the northern Pays Basque. We spent a couple of hours walking around the historic center, lined with shops, restaurants, bars, and a Subway Restaurant (our children were ecstatic at this point!)

Cathédrale Sainte-Marie, a.k.a. Notre-Dame-de-Bayonne

Half-timbered houses, traditionally with red or green shutters in the Basque style, face each other separated only by a narrow alley.

Bayonne Basque style houses

There are still many other towns to explore around here.

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Oberursel Altstadt

As dusk was setting, we were on our way to the guest house/restaurant Zum Schwanen. As always, we have to approach this Altstadt area on foot as there is no parking out front any of these buildings.

Oberursel Altstadt

View from the Marktplatz towards St. Ursula Kirche with the guest house Zum Hirsch (to the deer) on the left.

Gasthaus "Zum Schwanen" in Oberursel

 

Weathervanes in Oberursel

The church tower carries a weather vane, which is typically the Wetterhahn (German: rooster). This neighboring house has one sitting on the roof top, but I would hope this is only for decorative purposes and put up by the owner himself.

The old saying jemandem den roten Hahn aufs Dach setzen (to place the red rooster on s.o.’s roof) means this person wishes to burn down the house. Usually someone else’s.

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