|It's unbelievable how smooth our travels went. Plane left on time. Transferred in Munich. Arrived in Bari. No problems with luggage or even our car rental. I kept waiting for something to go wrong but maybe that's not the kind of trip we are going to have. We seem to be on course to have a wonderful time. And it only got better. My mother is our driver and I am the guide. We got to the hotel without even fighting- kinda scary! The Palace Bari is perfect. A quaint little hotel, more than comfortable. When we check in we meet Mimma at the front desk. Oh Mimma. How to describe Mimma? She should certainly be a Saturday Night Live character! I am so entertained by her I couldn't possibly put it into words. In fact, I have tried multiple times to take a video of her -Not very successful yet but I will try again! Very nice and surely out of her mind! It's no wonder she and aunt toni get along so well! Once settled in we ask Mimma for some pointers. What to see in Bari and most importantly where to eat. We want to have a light lunch but we end up at Vini e Cucini. This is about the time I realize I really should have tried to learn some Italian before I came here! We sit down, seem to order something, although none of us have any idea what since we never saw a menu. Then the food comes out. First an antipasti with cheeses and prosciutto, a bowl of olives, bruschetta, and of course a vat of wine!Then pasta fagiole, (which after one bite I felt that this place was home) rice with potatoes and mussels, and some sort of chicory and fava beans dish. Already that was too much! But it just kept coming! Next came the platter of seafood- the best fried calamari we ever had, 2 kinds of shrimp and octopus - all amazing. As if we hadn't eaten enough they brought us a BASKET of fruit and then creme filled zepola. We had to high tail it out of there because I'm pretty sure if we wouldn't have gotten up they would have just continued to bring us more food! Ridiculously stuffed we left and wandered around Bari then back to the hotel. Only to leave a few hours later for dinner!! This time our new BFF Mimma sent us to Cianna Cianne. Here is where we met Pepe and continued to eat ourselves into comas. Again, no menus-they just kept bringing us food! First mozzarella with alici, chick peas with barley and mussels, escarole and lentils, mini calzones, fried polenta, stuffed mussels (that no one ate except Cathy!), frittata, and a dish of cappicola. Those were our appetizers...I'm sick just thinking about it... For our MAIN course we all had orecchiette dishes, aunt Toni and Cathy with brasciole (horse meat?) moms with broccoli rabe and mine with seafood. Oh and one for us all to share - giant orecchiette with ragu (which was amazing). Next they brought us some Zeppole St. Giuseppe. Pepe and his son Giuseppe were wonderfully welcoming and made us feel very much at home! Before we left we drank lemoncello with them and took some cookies for the road. Pepe even gave us his cell # to call if we need anything and "he will arrive!". We stumbled back to our hotel.