Travels with Jessica: On Not Speaking Italian

Later the desk clerk finds us on the grounds and says our room is ready, and I’m tempted to crawl into bed but the thing to do is to get on local time right away, no matter how brutally tired you are, so I turn away from the bed and say to Jessica, “Let’s get some lunch!”

The castle’s restaurant opens when someone wants something to eat, a quirk I’ve never experienced before but I’m starting to think that a lot of the not-quite-eight-million dollars Giorgio had me pay for this trip went to the castle owners.

The menu is in Italian and the waiter, who sneaks up on us in the way of all good waiters, speaks just enough English to ask, “Still or sparkling water?” and to understand the answer, but when it comes to the complex menu, he is baffled and so describes the items using different Italian phrases than the ones on the menu, as if I will understand that better. Which makes me happy, because that is exactly what I do when confronted with a language barrier. You don’t understand these English words? How about these other English words?

Jess understands the words fagiolo and scampi from reading the guide books, and beans and shrimp are her two favorite food groups, so she gets that, and I say, “the fish,” because it’s the only thing I recognize and it is terrific. You really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu in Italy.

A few of my favorite things

LESSONS IN MAGIC
A CERTAIN KIND OF MAGIC
THE IMPROBABLE ADVENTURES OF A MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN
DOJO WISDOM FOR WRITERS

2 Comments

  1. so happy you guys made it to Italy! xx

  2. We were there for 13 days and did not have a single bad meal, anywhere. It was really remarkable.

    And they were always asking us “Gas or no gas?” about the water, which my teenage son found hysterical.

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