I arrived in Trani, Italy last night by train. My good friend Dave, who I am currently staying with, met me at Foggia where we traveled together to Trani. Dave and I met at Boeing where we both worked as simultaneous Japanese interpreters. Dave has since moved on to work full-time as a lean facilitator with the company’s Lean Enterprise Office. In the years since he and his family have been able to live in Japan and now Italy with the company’s commercial suppliers.
Trani is a seaport city situated along the Adriatic Sea in the region known as both Apulia and Puglia. It is a small city that is easily accessible by foot. I was able to walk most of it in about 5-hours including a bit of watching the local Department of Transportation poor asphalt on a new road. To be very specific, it was the road that connected the pier (which I was on) to the mainland and as such there was not much to do other than to wait. I eventually decided to climb over the breaker rocks on either side of the pier when I finally realized I was not that Italian after-all and my American need to move-on overwhelmed me.
I found my way to the Cathedral of Trani where I was kindly “swindled” out of 5 euro by an elderly gentleman. Upon arriving on the steps to the cathedral he came up to me speaking Italian. In whatever Italian I do not speak I indicated I was an American. He then gesticulated for me to follow him into the cathedral where he introduced me to the catacombs, the two alters in the lower portion, counted out the number of pillars in each area, directed me to the various fresco and gave me appropriate dates, brought me up to the main area and again showed me various aspects of the cathedral in all its glory. All of this spoken, of course, in what I can only surmise as a smattering of Italian, English and German. At the very end he turned to me asked for enough money to buy a espresso, which in his economics, is 5 euro. It may have been the most fun I have had in awhile and I must give credit for his enterprising tourist-oriented entrepreneurship.
Near to the cathedral is the Ghetto part of the town that dates back to well over 1000 years; much of the buildings remain unchanged from the medieval times. It is a wonderful stroll through small streets shared by pedestrians and motorists alike. However, nothing runs straight for long which makes navigating it a fun challenge. Across town along the shoreline is a monastery dating back from the 14th century. I enjoyed a bit of a rest in the shade of a building while teenagers blared an eclectic mix of Italian opera, Italian contemporary ballads, and American 80s music including Michael Jacksons’ Thriller. Of the latter a teenager even went so far as to turn up the radio when the song began; some things are stranger than fiction.
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