Places I’d Rather Be – Pogliano a Mare, Italy

Pogliano a Mare in black, white and blue

Arriving in Bari, Italy, the majority of passengers on our ship loaded themselves onto tour buses and were shipped off to Alberbello, a World Heritage site famous for it’s conical-shaped buildings called “trullo”.  A group of co-workers and I, meanwhile, took a sunny stroll along the shore front and into the main town in search of stiff shots of espresso, a wickedly strong bottle of cough-medicine for me, and a plan of action for the day.

The tourist information centre in town advised against our bizarrely unfounded idea that we could find ourselves a vineyard to get sozzled in for the afternoon, and instead pointed us in the direction of the train station and Pogliano a Mare a mere 30 minute train ride away.  So we took their advice and hopped aboard the train.

There’s something comfortingly familiar about the trains in Europe – they clatter along at a fair pace, the only air provided by open windows and doors.  It was wonderfully at odds with the comparatively smooth and frigidly-cooled Tokyo commuter trains.  I enjoyed watching the dusty and graffitied train lines weave through the town and then out into the umber-coloured, cactus-strewn countryside lined with olive groves and poly-tunnels.  Despite living on a ship and waking up to the ocean everyday, that first glimpse of the sea out beyond the Italian coast was a cerulean kick to the gut which had me spinning back to my childhood excitement about going to the seaside.

Arriving at the station, we made our way in the direction of the old town and eventually found our way to the coast, where we stood atop cliffs that rose high above the azure sea, pock-marked with grottos and caves.  Pogliano a Mare, surprisingly enough, is where this photo was taken:

Image from LATimes.com

Being used to the 24/7 bustle and convenience back home in Tokyo, being in Europe felt like a permanent Sunday in that nothing ever seemed to be open.  Alas, we were unable to locate the Hotel Grotta Palazzese (where the above photo was taken), but did find a small restaurant which overlooked the sea.  As sea-birds and swallows launched themselves from the cliffs onto the winds which repeatedly  pushed them safely home again, we sat munching on delicious chips, pizza, and huge carafes of wine for a ridiculously affordable amount of money.

My friend, Ky, and I spent much of Europe experimenting with layers in Photoshop,
coming up with selectively-coloured black and white images.

After a long lunch, and a little too much wine for an afternoon we wandered through the narrow, medieval streets of the old town, playing hide and seek with the tiny alleyways and crumbling doorways,  before hitting the beach to soak up the sun, smoke our shisha, and eat gelato.

Grafitti at Pogliano station

Eventually we had to go back to the ship.  While waiting at the station I was admiring the graffiti, and even captured a very cool-looking guy reclining on the opposite platform.  When I look very closely at this image, I realize that he seems to be looking right into my lens.  And I thought I was being subtle.

My cool dude at the station

A lot of these photos have been put through Photoshop.  My good friend Kyle and I were talking about layering and selective-colouring of images.  Black and white was much the theme for Pogliano a Mare.

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