Friday, January 4, 2008

" Baba no, it's Babá " part 1

Preface: The title of this posting will make sense after about part 2 of this story... but it's just too long to write in one shot.

My mom is a teacher and my grandmother is a retired teacher which means they usually have summers off. Every year they plan a trip to some insanely beautiful place on God's green earth. Two summers ago was no exception. The only difference was that the planets aligned this time and I was able to somehow finagle my way along for the ride- which was no easy task considering that my department at work was really busy, I was short on disposable income, and I was really going to miss my husband, and I knew i'd love for him to see this magical place too.. I gave myself a "get a grip, life is too short and you may never have this opportunity again" pep talk and without batting another eyelash I marched my hiney into my boss' office to ask for the time off I needed. My mom's uncle retired from one of the major airlines and donated a buddy pass for me to use on my trip which meant I no longer needed to fork over beaucoup bucks for this trip, life was good for a split second, except I realized that the trip was in three days and I did not have a current passport. Suffice it to say that I was more than relieved to be on board the aircraft three days later.

We were headed to Rome, Italy. I could barely contain myself. We were also going to see Sorrento, and the Amalfi Coast. I had to pinch myself a few times a day to make sure I wasn't in some deep slumber where sugar plum fairies danced around and teleported me to one of the most spectacular places on Earth. Upon arriving we grabbed a cab and headed to the hotel. We all took a power nap, showered, changed and headed out to the Piazza Barberini where our shuttle bus dropped us off. I was in a trance. So many beautifully dressed people, so much history in the architecture, so much life in the air, such breathtaking views! I was in love with Rome. That night we walked around the town and decided to have dinner at a small tratoria located in one of the busier plazas in the town called the Piazza Navona. We were greeted by a friendly waiter who brought us bread and sparkling water. He disappeared for about half an hour and then took our order. I ordered the Penne with salmon; my mom ordered cannelloni and my grandmother ordered the lasagna. We took our time and had such great conversation. The restaurant we chose was perfect because it was located in one of the liveliest piazzas in the town. At about sunset, vendors lined the streets selling art, wines, crafts other curious goodies. There was a group of young people singing "Hey Jude". There was another group of street actors portraying drama in Italian right in the middle of the street. There was so much to see that I couldn't wait to finish dinner to explore what the city had to offer. Of course I had to learn that this was not America, and our waiter was not being instructed to bring us everything in a flash to allow other customers to sit at our spot. This was Italy- and boy was I glad to be there. The food arrived and it was delicious. The three of us laughed over great food, wine and atmosphere. It is a moment I will remember forever. We finished dinner and I learned that asking for cream for coffee is not that common in Italy. Because we speak Spanish, we can usually understand most of what is being said in Italian. However, the word for cream in Spanish is very different than the word in Italian. In Spanish it is said crema, in Italian it is said panna. After a few charades, hand signals and pictionary, the waiter understood what I meant. He came back with a whole bowl of fresh whipped cream- now this was panna!- Halleluiah!

We perused all sorts of things, but we made a stop at one of the artists in the center of the square. He had the most beautiful oil paintings of Italian landscapes. I mean this man was gifted. He was missing a few teeth, but where he lacked healthy gums and strong teeth, he made up for it in his art. My mom being a fan of sunflowers bought a gorgeous print which is now hanging beautifully in her home. We perused some more and returned to our hotel. We spent the following day in Rome and saw the sights. That evening we returned to the hotel showered, changed and went out to dinner in this restaurant someone from work had recommended. Apparently, it was kind of hidden but worth the hunt. It was called Nino's and was in an alley off of the famous Spanish Steps. To our surprise we found it pretty quickly. We walked inside and were offered a seat. Our waiter was quite a character. I don't remember his name, but he sort of looked like the Italian version of Robin Williams. He was kind of goofy, and kept insisting that we order the evening special for our appetizer, which was zucchini pie. Except he said it with an inflection in his voice that sounded like he was launching the words to another galaxy. It sounded like he said "Would you like the zooooochini piiiiiiiiiie? To his dismay none of us ordered the zoooochini piiiiiiiiiie. We each ordered a soup. I ordered the mushroom and my mom and grandmother ordered the white bean. I can almost taste it. Boy was that soup good! A few minutes later the waiter walked in with an order of zoooochini piiiiiiiiiie on the house. I must say that was the best zooooochini piiiiiiiie we ever had. After dinner we headed back to the hotel in Rome and prepared for our adventure in Sorrento the following day.

To be continued...

1 comment:

Adriana said...

I feel like just boarding a plane and heading for Italy right this moment! It was certainly one of my favorite trips. The fun and laughter we shared will never be forgotten. Hopefully, we can experience a similar trip soon!


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