22 January 2013


I just realized I forgot to post the pictures from Bari.  After our trip to Calabria and Acri, we drove over the "arch of the foot" that is the Italian boot.  The drive reminded me a bit like long drives in the States.  However, while in the States you often pass miles and miles of corn and soybeans, in Italy you pass miles and miles of olive groves and vineyards.  With the olive trees, they'll often cover the ground with nets, shake the trees (I assume), and catch the ripened leaves in the netting.

Bari is a town on the Adriatic, and is a very ancient city.  Among its ancient buildings, there is a castle originally built by the Normans who invaded Italy in the 10th century or so.  Around the same time, Italian sailors went to Greece.  While there, they took (i.e., stole) the relics of St. Nicholas (the one from whom we have the story of Santa Claus).  They brought them into the city and built a great Church around them.  At some point the Basilica of St. Nicholas was given over to the care of the Italian Dominicans.  It is now where they maintain a school in ecumenism.

The Church remains a major pilgrimage site for Italians, and especially for the Orthodox.  Although, when we were there in early January, it was rather quiet.  In fact the entire old section was very quiet, and mostly closed.