When I was in Puglia last month the Italian took me to a picturesque seaside town called Trani. It was your typical Saturday night and everyone was out, young and old. This made it slightly difficult to park, but the Italian professionally navigated up onto the pavement like everyone else and so I left the car hoping for no parking ticket.
Trani was bustling with a catwalk set up on the main open square, I even spotted a nun aiming for front row. We weren’t interested in the bikini show on display (at least I wasn’t), we were hungry. Gallo was our goal for the night, a seafood restaurant, which I have to say, offered one of the best meals I’ve had this year. The inside, with its stone vaults, feels like an upmarket wine cellar. Indeed, there is no shortage of good wines and there didn’t seem to be a shortage of upmarket people either. Although, the children’s Fendi shoes and Burberry jumpers felt vulgar. I much preferred the low-key bachelor party dinner next to us.
Raw seafood is a speciality in Puglia, so we ate what the Italian’s dad calls ‘sushi from Bari’: sea urchins, red prawns, salmon and swordfish. Then the Italian went overboard and suddenly 4 dishes appeared, each more elaborate than the next. It was exciting to see what they would bring us next, it created an anticipation that sometimes didn’t live up to the actual taste. The lobster spaghetti was the centrepiece, although by this time I was pretty full of food and wine. There was no way I could force down dessert.
Instead, we wandered around town, through alleys and streets, looking at the dressed-up Italian teens that were trying to impress each other. The Italian suddenly had flasbacks from his own vespa-fuelled youth. It’s fascinating to see that a town is so alive by night and that even little kids are included at midnight dinners. In Sweden, they would’ve been put to bed by 6pm. By December this town will be a lot quieter and now is the time to really savour those balmy summer nights. No wonder no one looks like they want to go back home.
By the time we got back to the car it was standing there without parking ticket and with a sigh of relief we could turn back to Bari. I feel asleep on the motorway and suddenly felt like those kids who are deceptively active one minute and the next minute falls asleep, mouth wide open.