Traveling to Italy from Costa Rica is no small feat. Depending on your airport layover it can take anywhere from 14 – 24 hours. On this particular occasion, the journey lasted 16 hours with a stop in Madrid. The first part of my trip itinerary was a bit hectic. One night in Turin, 8 hours of train travel to Foggia then 4 days and 3 nights learning the ways of southern Italy, Osara di Puglia to be exact, with my friend Peppe Zullo.
My first evening in Turin I enjoyed a simple meal at a place called Il Pirata. The quaint restaurant boasted a lack of buccaneer decor but a widely varied menu. After tomini elettrici (fresh goat cheese with pepper flakes) and pizza 4 stagioni (cheese, prosciutto, olives and artichokes), I walked off the calories chuckling to myself about a classic old joke about vegetables that choked Artie.
Train travel can be quite fun…if you know what you are doing. For all you future train travelers here are a few tips:– arrive 20 minutes early to confirm your train and platform
– check for your train number, not the name – double check that your stop is on the list
– try to be the first on the train so you can find a good spot for your luggage
– pack a snack, train food carts are pricey
– be open-minded, you never know if you will be in the same car with snorers, telephone users, talkers or unexpected animals
Osara di Puglia is a quaint tiny Italian town. It is the Italy everyone imagines the whole country to be. Small shop owners greet customers by name, people are honest, family traditions are old, drivers wait patiently behind those who forget to pull over to greet a friend, quality is appreciated and there is no shortage of people offering free life advice.
Beautiful landscapes are lavishly adorned with century old olive trees. Mornings are so quiet you can hear the air brushing lightly through the trees as if to say: “time to wake up sleepy birds”. The air fills your lungs encouraging energy to course through your body and open your pores to the wonderful uncensored nature and untainted culture that surrounds you.
Osara di Puglia in one word is magical. Peppe Zullo in one word is unique. I will tell you more about him later on. For now, sift through a few pictures and dream of the sun-kissed tomatoes, shady fruit orchards and the star-studded night skies of Osara.
Until next time dear readers….