I warned Jeanne. I supposed that Mary would be ready to wow us with food and she did. Though it was after eight-thirty before we climbed another four flights to their apartment we were invited to sit down and having a “pocena d’sera” (a little evening meal). The afternoon meal is usually the biggest so when the “apperitivi” of “mozerella fresca, pane, olivi, salumi” and “picolo biscotti orrechiette” was put before us, I happily gobbled away. Mary didn’t join us and I could still hear banging away in the kitchen. Occasionally, I would look at my watch and try to guess when she might join us. This she did in about twenty minutes bearing a massive skillet of spaghetti immersed in a concoction I had never seen before in my life. Oreste proudly told us it was, “la specialita di Maria!” Our eyes bulged as we were handed large portions but once we took the first bite we continued to spoon away until every morsel was drug from the bottom of the pan.
Mary jumped up and ran to the kitchen and brought three more items to the table. Oh, no! We had only had the primi and now for seconda of something that I cannot describe as meatloaf though it was made in a similar way. It was far more delicate and crusted all around with toasty bread crumbs. When sliced. There was an interior of prochiutto and mozerella. I could taste the hint of onion, celery and so forth so it was flavored similar to a meatloaf. Then a “contorni” of peas and onion as well as oven roasted potatoes flavored with garlic and rosemary.
At ten we stumbled onto the street and made our way to our beds.
We did make it to Fisano about forty minutes from Bari. Coming to meet us were Maria and Oreste. After more traffic and time than expected they did arrive. After introducing Jeanne we jammed our luggage into their little blue car and drove the thirty minutes to hotel,
The Rococco, which looked fabulous on the internet but sorry to say, did not show off so good in real time. Upon arrival, I was unprofessionally informed by an unsmiling, youthful attendant who appeared to me as though he just came from his bed that we were not booked to stay in the hotel but in an apartment a short distance away. We all toted bags and followed him like ducklings to what he proposed to be “tuo centri metri” (200 meters – it was not). Then once there he opened the door to a stair case of five flights with no elevator. With huffing and puffing, up we went but once there, we had lots of nice space for seventy-five euro a night (with no prima colazioni – breakfast). Nevertheless, it was private, breezy and clean. We would spend three nights and except for the climb several times a day and two occasions when there was no hot water which they finally remedied on the last day, we had a good stay. Yes, we celebrated our forty-eighth anniversary in this little apartment.