I’ve recently come back from a 4 day trip with my mum and little sister to Bari in Southern Italy. Having had time to reflect on the experience I thought I’d share my confused insights with you – is it just me or does going on a family holiday when you’re over a certain age feel weird?!
The B&B – Corte Zeuli
Hands down the most immersive place I have ever stayed at. The 16th century rustic, dishevelled stone courtyard which leads into the apartment, houses a well from the 15th century, now a shrine to St Mary (there are a lot of shrines to her all over the old town in alcoves, windowsills). Apparently the water there was salty as it came from the sea and the poorer residents of the town would drink it, causing regular 3-monthly outbreaks of cholera in Bari. Our guest, Paola, chuckled sharing these personal history facts. She then led us up the stairs, through a spacious, tall, though slightly ominous hallway to her apartment. As any grandma’s place, it was full of random collections (local whistles, glass animal cupboard) and immediately felt very homely.
Rather than one continuous carpet, the floor was covered with a series of charming mis-matched little rugs and we headed up a separate windy staircase leading to our rooms. Paola proudly gave us a tour of each room – and trust me a tour was needed. The ceilings, with renovated art which was originally painted by a student of Caravaggio, were metres tall and gave off a noble-Italian-family version of Downton Abbey vibe.
Every night we would fall asleep to the smell of freshly baking cakes, a promise of a good breakfast in the morning. Honestly, when a breakfast makes you look forward to getting out of bed early on holiday – you know you’ve hit the jackpot. Freshly squeezed red orange juice mixed with strawberry, fresh coffee, cakes, a variety of fresh fruit arranged ornately on each of our plates with a background of piano music composed by Paola’s friend. Needless to say I felt like Lady Mary Crawley then… If you ever visit Bari – stay with Paola!
Your parents are back in charge and organise the daily routine
As promised – some things that made me feel weird about this holiday. All I had to do was get on a plane and follow wherever my mum led me – a now unusual sensation which made me regress back into being a teenager. Despite the fact if I had gone on this trip with my friends I’d have wanted to do the same stuff she wanted us to, suddenly because it was my mum telling me to go to a nearby seaside town – I didn’t want to anymore. WEIRD.
They pay for everything
From the flights and accomodation to dinners, ice creams and 50 cent postcards. I didn’t even carry my purse around. I realise my mum only knows me in a capacity of being her child so to her this seemed normal. For me, a university student who is responsible for everything to do with my own wellbeing it felt strange, even slightly guilty. But I wasn’t going to say no lol
Wine at dinner opens all sorts of cans of worms
A normal portion of wine we would receive at dinner would be a bottle for two – now that can get me comfortably tipsy and if I were back at my kitchen table at uni I would be leading a game of ‘Never have I ever’ already. Instead, I asked my mum if she’s reached menopause yet – BIG mistake.
Why do parents only take one picture when you ask them to take pics of you
Or take a 1 second video instead of a pic that can never be used again?!
I will add some of my favourite pictures from the trip – I hope they will encourage you to go, if not to Bari, then some other unexplored place! Ultimately I loved discovering new places with my family and while I did feel in limbo between being a child and my own person, I think that’s just a part of growing up in general. I would love to hear from you about your holiday experiences!