Carol Forster column


One of the things I love about Barletta that brings it close to my heart is the way Barlettani welcome people from other cultures. They epitomize friendly.

I had the perfect experience of this last night when I visited my old school to discuss business with ace manager, Rossana Colucci, who runs the international ‘Westminster College’.

Unpredictable best defines an unfolding evening, which somewhat surprisingly felt like a strange compelling Russian film.

After chatting with students and teachers in the school, and drinking a stylish green tea, Rossana invited a Swiss teacher, Anna, and I to go for a meal nearby.

Well, I was expecting to visit one of the many delicious Italian restaurants in the town, but to my surprise, we went to a really ambient and cosy Greek restaurant with a very kind host, where I enjoyed a chilli pizza made specially to appeal to my ‘Penne all’arrabiata’ leaning.

We decided to mainly speak English for the evening, although Italian was spoken which I enjoyed following as best I could, if a little rusty after time away.

Rossana and I discussed old times and Anna impressed with her ability to speak so many languages and her philosophies on life.

Our Greek host chatted amiably with us about life.

It was lovely.

I was already enjoying myself immensely in this snug den with these intelligent people, when the evening took a very surreal turn.

In walked the larger than life Nicola to join us, with his beautiful bouncy black dog.

Russian and extremely amusing, he told us his tales, complete with hilarious sound effects, and had us all in stitches, whilst his dog observed the table with a hungry eye and enjoyed some tasty titbits here and there.

In one corner a group of men were playing cards, and we sat awhile enjoying each others’ company whilst I reflected on how hospitable these people are.

How great it was that we folk, all from different cultures, could eat together and share a sense of humour, laughing over the ironies of life.

A beautiful moment that should inspire us all.