Ever had an Eat Pray Love moment when you just want to disappear and discover yourself? I had one of those moments and decided on Rome as the city where I would attempt to find me. My first solo trip abroad just happened to be in one of the most romantic cities in the world; I certainly don’t do things by halves but the only love affair I had on that memorable trip was with Italy. It was one of the best decisions I ever made but really, did I think I’d get by with my little how to speak Italian hand book and not even read it before I set off on my adventure? Actually it made for more fun!
After landing in Italy, I spent at least twenty minutes trying to muster up the courage to hail a taxi. Luckily, a girl I met on the plane asked me if I wanted a lift….phew was my first thought, what am I doing she’s a stranger was my second and my third thought came to me when I saw my mode of transport was a mini…blimey, it’s the Italian job!!
Well, what a city! The Sistine Chapel is stunning but be ready for the neck ache from looking up at the beautiful art work on its ceiling for too long. Eating an ice cream whilst sitting by the Trevi Fountain is a must (I did that twice) and oh the Colloseum! When you first see it, it takes your breath away and once you are inside there is an overwhelming feeling that Maximus Decimus Meridius is about to appear and charge across on his trusty steed; but Russell Crowe was nowhere to be seen yet I felt his presence and every other gladiator that fought in this ghostly arena.
As you already know, I didn’t bother to read the handbook so ordering food was an experience. I endeavored to order what I thought was Carbonara from the menu. The word ‘Crema’ in my native language of Greek is associated with savoury food, however not so in Italy. The waiter and I totally got our wires crossed and shortly after attempting to order a pasta extravaganza I was presented with a dessert covered with lashings of cream. My heart sank and anyone who knows me well will tell you that I don’t have a sweet tooth; I wasn’t having a bellissmo momento!
Seated on the table next to me were ‘The Golden Girls’ all the way from the USA with matching baseball caps and glitzy tracksuits. These three, kind warm-hearted American dolls offered to share their food with me. They called me honey with an accent that could only have come from the ‘Deep South’…fiddle e dee!!! I felt like Scarlett O’Hara from my favourite film ‘Gone with the wind’. The hard times behind me and hope finally in sight her famous quote from the film came to mind as my stomach rumbled…loudly:
“As God is my witness, as God is my witness they’re not going to lick me. I’m going to live through this and when it’s all over, I’ll never be hungry again. No nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again”.