Addendum to Italy 2006

This should be my final entry about my trip to Italy last year. I realized that I had forgotten to post two of my favorite incidents there.

From reading my previous entries, you might have noticed that the old centers of the cities of Italy tend to have very narrow streets. I remember joking to myself an American would be foolish to try to drive a large vehicle, such as a Hummer down these streets.

I thought I was joking until I took this photograph. When I saw the Hummer coming down the street and a bus turning to go anti-parallel to the Hummer, I knew people would probably not believe me unless I captured it on film. The two vehicles paused for a few moments because the street was not wide enough for both of them. The Hummer soon backed into an empty parking space to let the bus pass. I do not know the nationality of the Hummer drive, but as you can see, the Hummer has European Union licence plates.

Another unusual international close encounter occurred when several participants in the conference, myself included, went out for dinner a cozy local restaurant. It had great atmosphere; the inside was decorated to appear as the it had been carved out of solid rock. When our waiter presented our menus, which were written only in Italian, he said, “Capito Italiano,” which means “do you understand Italian?” We all shook our heads or said “no.” He then asked, “Parlez vous français,” which means, “Do you speak French?” Two members of our group, one of whom was born in France, replied, “Oui.” The waiter then read us the menu (it was fairly short), translating from Italian to French; the two francophones then interpreted from French into English for the rest or us.

The food was all very good, especially the roast potatoes. I had rabbit for the first time, and it did not have much flavor, but it did have an unusually chewy texture.

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