A Travellerspoint blog

Adventures in Eataly

“Uno piccolo coppetta per favor"

sunny

“Wow! I didn’t expect to see you,” I gushed as it brushed past me and went to the other table.
“What are you doing here?” I asked coyly.
“I didn’t know you were from up this way. I mean, I figured you came from somewhere nearby but this is…an unexpected surprise…
…You look good.
…You look really good”, I say, unable to tear my eyes away.

A huge dollop of Genovese basil pesto oozes down from the piece of toasted bruschetta. The fluro green oil is pooling at the bottom and the toasted, oily, garlicy bread is lapping it up.

“You are looking really good. I don’t mean to ramble but I mean it’s just so nice to see you. I have always adored you and now you are here, and its been such an unexpected, serendipitous surprise”.

My God that looks delicious. There were other accompaniments to the dish but I was focussed on that glorious green pesto dollop.

I sit there smiling, overwhelmed with happiness to see my old friend, one of my great loves right in front of me. While this is playing out in my head I realise I am still staring at the people at the table nearby (well their lunch). I don’t mean to, but this is a game changer. I had no idea this handsome little character was going to be on offer.

Delicious fresh basil pesto, one of my reasons for living and as it turns out, which I cannot believe I didn’t research fully up until this point, a regional speciality of Liguria.

It’s no secret that I love food and in particular Italian food. Italian food and the mediterranean diet of fresh, delicious ingredients really is a major drawcard for returning to one of my favourite countries in the world. It has beautiful sights, stunning landscapes, interesting history, friendly people, good weather and delicious food. The best thing about Italy is food is a shared passion, it is expected that you dine out and eat several courses and to talk about your meals. It enriches your travel experience ten fold. In my early 20s it was about the cheap lunch of bread and cheese, then as I got older I visited the occasional restaurant as a treat and sought out regional specialities especially cheap and easy street food. Now I have a steady income, this trip to Italy was going to be even more delicious. This trip was going to have a dusting of truffle salt and a “hell I’ll have an entree as well” attitude because ‘treat yo self’.

I was ready to do Italy. I packed my active wear, which remained the only clean item I returned with, and I packed my snacktive wear, which I put on daily to ensure I was comfortable to take on several courses. Good snacktive wear provides flexibility because sometimes it is imperative to push meals close together so as to not miss a good opportunity so elastic waists or free fall skirts. Obviously you also have to be mindful of keeping the colours dark to avoid a splash of the old pomodoro sauce or an equally disastrous chocolate gelato drip. There’s no time for washing clothes on holidays.

Moments after touching down into Roma, I hit the streets and soon found myself ordering a panino, a Roman street food staple and finding a curb side location looking at the Roman Forum to eat it. I sat at street level because I may have an income now but I am still a gypsy hobo at heart. My sandwich had roasted eggplant and buffalo mozzarella swimming in a tomato sauce. I looked at the hot and sweaty faces of the tourists walking by with their white runners and maps, I gazed on at the relics of ancient Rome and really just took a load off and enjoyed my sandwich. Now this is a travel experience, being ushered around the colosseum in 40 degree heat is worth doing but snacking while taking in the sights and sounds of the city is a much more preferable task.

When I say I love Italian food, really it cannot be categorised so broadly. It is highly regionalised, sure you can go anywhere and get a pizza and pasta but there is a whole world to explore when you get specific about flavours, styles and specialities. Pizza though a Napoli special is found everywhere, they vary in quality but are rarely disappointing. They can be made to about 75cm in diameter and sold by the giant slice or are just your regular family-sized 8 slicer for one. Sharing pizza is only required when you want to order more than one thing (which by the way is always). Getting one pizza as a meal to share is a waste of an eating opportunity and your clean snacktive wear. Small eaters need not apply - holiday elsewhere. Pizza is kept simple with a few combinations of tomato, mozzarella and insert other ingredient (mushroom, meat, eggplant, fresh tomato, a giant dollop of pesto - all are deliciously simple). The dough needs to be light and crunchy, thin enough that it bubbles a little and can be folded and eaten in one go should you be in a hurry to catch a train or get to dessert. I am also partial to a calzone, pizzas less-cute cousin, it’s really just a pizza folded in half to become a giant fun pocket that bursts with steam and shrinks down to size oozing its delicious cheesy innards all over your plate.

Speaking of innards, a Florentine speciality is Lamperetto, a tripe sandwich. I gave that a miss but all good restaurants will serve the regional specialities. If it’s not in season you won’t find it on a good menu, a good italian menu is handwritten and changes all the time. It bugs me to see people sitting at terrible tourist traps in the main piazza, paying top dollar for mediocre food. I guess perhaps its just me not wanting to waste a meal on something not mouth wateringly delicious. Do a little research its always worth it then you can make an educated decision to avoid eating gizzards despite it looking delicious served in a fresh bread roll with tomato sauce like a meatball sub.

My last Italian snackcursion was to Sicily, where desserts and seafood reign supreme. In the North you are in ravioli and risotto country, colder climates require more sustainable food. Minestones and bean soups are all wonderfully delicious and hearty Tuscan specialties. The North is also fungi territory where mushrooms and truffles reign supreme. Adding a little truffle salt to your meal is mind blowing. Obviously i’m more financially stable at the moment but i’m not a millionaire, I can’t be owning €15 salt so I use the free stuff when it is on offer then salt heavily to get the most out of it. Thirsty work, but worth it.

As you move through Italy you can see the pasta preference change from strands of varying thicknesses to odd little twists, blobs and whoziwhatsits. All pasta, all delicious but changing constantly. The street food, or rather, the snack food of choice also changes in each region. While I survived on arancini in Sicily and panino in Rome in Liguria the street snack of choice is a focaccia, something I never realised was anymore than a bastardised Australian thing. I knew they baked the bread but it comes with an array of delicious baked on toppings that you can buy by the slice or the gram like a pizza. Another familiar face popped up on the menus in the North west, my old friend bruschetta. A range of toasted breads with all sorts of fresh toppings, tomato, basil, mozzarella and often a few slivers of anchovies.

In Tuscany you couldn’t go far without snacksidentally consuming meats and cheeses. Italy makes what seems like a million different processed, smoked and cured meat products. Giant legs and salami type things of various colours, shapes and fat content. You can actually just buy slices of lard if that’s your favourite part. Then there are your cheeses to accompany it, usually hard cheeses like pecorino or parmigiano, any quiet, unassuming cheese that is not going to take the focus away from the meat. There’s no room for a showy, decadent soft cheese here. Admire the platter on arrival then dig in, grab a bit of crusty bread or a dried cracker and just pile that bad boy up with a meat, cheese, meat combination of your choosing then just throw it in. Throw it in and chew, chew, chew, don't focus on the strings of fat that are getting stuck in your teeth or the giant speckle of white fat you just ate. Florence loves meat and I love seeing legs of animals hanging from the ceiling, I find it fascinatingly gross yet rather whimsical. The Florentines also favour a focaccia as their daily ‘on the move’ snack. Theirs is made with no salt because a million moons ago because they didn’t want to pay a salt tax to Pisa so it’s deliciously oily instead. Soft but crunchy around the edges. Specialist sandwich shops will slice you some cured meats and make you a delicious sandwich with a variety of sandwich cremes; spreads made from truffle, eggplant, olive or artichoke. Like a delicious tapenade to soak up what part of the bread the oil hasn’t.

There are a million delicious dining options to discuss but the most important piece of advice however with restaurant dining is to ensure you are travelling and dining with a fellow snacker. A person who also thinks a post-siesta, pre dinner salami and cheese platter is a top idea. A good food companion will go on this food adventure with you and won’t order a salad or suggest you just get a pizza to share. You want the type of person who always says yes to an entree and always agrees that if you both order two mutually agreed upon dishes and split them then you get to eat more delicious things and never feel like you are missing out.

Finally, undoubtedly one of the best parts about any European summer holiday is gelato. There’s hundred of flavours, all gloriously piled up in a rainbow of colours. Gelato as I learned is made with more milk than cream which is why is melts faster than you can eat it and it is why proper artesian gelato has a runny, almost sticky consistency that they have to plop onto the cone. This also allows one to claim it healthier than ice-cream and therefore just plain healthy. The best place for gelato is Italy, the home of gelato is generally attributed to Florence but some don’t agree with that. While I would never discriminate, I tend to lean towards a sorbetto, the fruit flavoured gelato usually made with the finest seasonal fruits. As a connoisseur I can share some of the tips of the trade. A good gelateria will keep its product under the counter in little silver canisters like the treasure it is. Hidden away from prying eyes. They will also have rotating flavours and sell out because they will be making what is in season and making it every day. Good gelato will also not be vibrant in colour if they are making it properly because a banana isn’t yellow. While all gelato is delicious, refreshing and cool on what is always a scorching hot day in any Italian city, if you are going to do it, do it properly. You won’t regret seeking out store made, artisan gelato. You may pay a little more for your ‘piccolo coppetta’ but it will always be worth it. Earlier this year I rode my bicycle to work and I said for every time I rode I could have two gelato in Italy. I lied to others and to myself because I had 17 gelato in 17 days and rode my bicycle once. It was imperative that I have a gelato every day because once you start there’s no point being a quitter (that’s for team sports when you realise sitting at home is more fun that sitting on the bench). I tried my best not to repeat a flavour so it could be considered a science, historical and cultural experiment as well a weight-gaining exercise. Limoncello, green apple, pomegranate, apricot and melon were some of my favourites while some of the more unusually delicious flavours I consumed were basil and lemon, chocolate pear, ricotta and Chianti red wine. It is important to remember that if you get a small cone or cup, it’s perfectly legitimate to eat one every day. Haters gonna hate.

Throw in a food tour where I sampled too many different flavours of cantucci (biscotti) then purchased an extra kilo, ate countless pieces of assorted meats and drank wine then did a pizza and gelato making class i’ve ensured everyday in Italy had a delicious melting buffalo mozzarella moment served with a sprig of fresh basil.

With a heavy heart, a croissant with Nutella in one hand and an espresso in the other, I prepared to leave Italy. At immigration I received my certificate for sustaining Italian agriculture and one for my dedication to the consumption of carbohydrates. I lamented how having Nutella croissants is frowned upon as a breakfast item at home as I dipped that puppy into my coffee. Then thought how that also is probably frowned upon.

I guess the detox starts Monday?
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Posted by The Tipsy Gipsy 03:31 Archived in Italy Tagged food travel italy pizza pasta gelato pesto the_tipsy_gipsy Comments (0)

Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves

Curb side Clairvoyance

sunny

It all escalated quickly, he had captured my imagination and before long I was standing in an alleyway next to a MAC Cosmetics store in Milano having my palm read by a flamboyant Italian gypsy.
Sergio stopped as we were looking at some plastic streamers that had been tied to a subway grate and were fluttering in the wind from below street level.
“It’s just paper and plastic but in New Orleans it's even better,” he says coming up behind us.
Within moments he was asking us where we were from and he tells us he is going to Australia later in the year, then just casually mentions that he reads palms. He also says, “meow” and swipes like a cat. He was loving life and loving the energy we were putting out. He asks what we were doing in Milano then told me that he knows I will be at a house on a lake. I explained that I had just returned from Lake Como and we both gushed, he meowed and I thrust my hand out, palm up in his direction. He had a quick look at my palm and offered me a bargain deal to have it read. In between screams, meows and cheers he grabbed me by the hand and pulled me down to a side street like an excited teenage girl.

In amongst the hustle and bustle of the city, with people walking along on one of Milano’s main thoroughfares leading to the Duomo, Sergio has my hand and the three of us are huddled together around my palm. He studies it for a moment, runs his finger along some of the creases then starts telling me about my big spirit. This is now the third time in three weeks that someone has commented on my spirit. He says I have a big strong spirit and I am being protected by my grandmother. It made me smile to think that she is with me on the journey especially having just hiked up a hill looking for her great grandparents. He says her spirit came into me when I held her hand just before she died. She protects me and will protect me for the next 8 years. It seems my strong spirit, protected by my Nan, makes me an unstoppable force that nothing can contend with. He even suggested my friend beside me needs to stay close as I will protect her as well.

Maybe the poet was right, I have some archangel qualities.

I have always been interested in the supernatural, astrology and fortune telling. After a bad day at work my go to plan is to throw it all in and go to psychic school and learn to hone my skill. Sergio read my palm for over 30 minutes, scribbling dates with a Texta on my hand as well as pointing out and circling things, covering my hand in an array of markings that needed time to soak in and I wasn’t permitted to wash off until 4pm that day.

He told me about a bunch of things, some interesting, some confusing. He told me when I would die, that I would live in two places and have a dual passport (finally!). I would have 2 children, one a girl, evident from the ‘cuca’ your hand makes on the side which he fell about laughing when he said it. He then reminded us he’s not into them. He talked a million miles a minute, spitting with most syllables and scribbled dates on my hand, it was hard to keep track of it all.

He mentioned many things that rang true. We would gush, shout and ‘meow’ when he got something right, or mentioned something that was a regular topic of thought. Some was advice about protecting myself and my energy, some was factual information such as I need to get my eyes checked before April because I need glasses (it’s okay, at 65 I will get Lasik surgery). Some readings were given with the intention of being preventative, or giving forewarning about the future such as the fact that if I marry the Australian man that comes into my life between 2018-2022 we will divorce. Though he is an architect or engineer and will seem like a good choice. He isn't.

He kept saying he loved our spirit and enjoyed telling us both that we are strong independent women and we should be fussy because straight men are stupid and most are not worth our time.

He said I am a wanderer and I can look after myself. Then he said he can too, laughed and tapped his jacket pocket,
“I carry a razor, baaaaaaa!”, he screeches. “You need to look after yourself!”.
“Meow!”

I could have stayed and talked to him for hours. At one stage a couple, most likely tourists were staring at us from inside the MAC store. They were either highly amused with our urban palm reading or concerned for my welfare. He kept wrapping it up but would find something else he wanted to share or wanted to know if I had any other questions. He said I will work by helping people, but will only ever work to do what I want to do. I knew that, I was kind of hoping he would tell me to follow the psychic school dream or my other ‘go to’ escape job, peanut butter farmer. He reminded us that he is telling us everything he sees because he likes our energy and friendliness. Our reading was quite in-depth, some good things, some strangely detailed problems. He was going to need a few more euros for his trouble, he said as he meowed and swiped at me playfully.

We parted ways and he gave us both a talisman. Mine a Swiss Franc that I need to put 7 grains of sea salt, a lock of my hair and a petal of a red rose on, wrap tight and store in between some books. If I ever lose it, or spend it, it will bring bad luck he said, then cackled like an evil Disney queen. I felt overwhelmed with responsibility.

He kissed us on the cheek a few times, touched my boob and told me if he wasn’t gay he would have had my babies. As a single gay man his only expense is his lifestyle, and he then pulled his shirt up and showed me his waxed stomach. He said he does the occasional palm reading to make a little cash to spend on eyeliners.

“Remember, only you can change your destiny," he said once he was done.

With a thousand more meow’s, ciao’s and animated gestures he bounced off down the street, his suit jack flung over one shoulder and we returned to the street in a daze, looking at our hands covered in Texta. Going over every detail of our futures so we wouldn’t forget anything. We then sat down by the entrance to an old Milanese castle and recapped and laughed about all the things coming our way in the next 20 years, good, bad and confusing. Also the fact that we just spent the past hour with a gypsy getting our fortunes read on the streets of Milano.

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Posted by The Tipsy Gipsy 20:48 Archived in Italy Tagged italy friends milan fortune_telling the_tipsy_gipsy gypsies Comments (0)

Desperately Seeking Nonna

Hiking in the Shadows of my Forefathers

sunny

In the 1850s my great, great grandfather decided that the rolling green orchards and vineyards of the valley near Sondrio, with the Swiss alps towering above was no longer the place he wanted or needed to call home. He packed up and left the little village of Bianzone forever. He left behind his parents and sisters, the beginnings of a career in the church and hit the road. The road led to a flat, hot and dry Victoria, Australia.

I have always loved Italy, it is a country I never tire of. I love the people, the landscape, the weather, the food and the general attitude to life here which is chill out, it is what it is. When is my bus coming? When it comes. I have always desperately wanted a Nonna. My friend at college used to go home to her Italian-Australian family and come back with pre-packed food. They would pick fruit from their orchard and cook pizzas in their garden pizza oven. To me, it sounded like the ideal way to spend your time. Plus a tiny Italian Nonna to cook for you, speak to you in Italian and constantly try to fatten you up. I want a Nonna to take me to the market and teach me how to cook old family recipes.

I just really want a Nonna.

My Italian adventures had taken me to the eastern shore of Lago di Como. To the north, you can see the beginning of the alps and not much further along is the border to Switzerland. At the top of the lake a valley leads to Tirano, one of the final Italian towns before the Swiss Border. It is green with sharp inclines up the valley walls where little towns have been plonked, their green orchards and vineyards cascading down. The tall, stone churches sit precariously on the edges. Every town is a vertical hike up from the valley floor. The weather is temperate in many parts of the valley. Bianzone, a small town of 1,250 sits on the eastern side, getting the winter sun making it a popular place once for people to spend their winters.
What brings me to Bianzone is I am on an adventure to find a Nonna, either my own great, great, great Nonna or a vague relative that’s willing to adopt. The town of Bianzone sits well above its train station on the valley floor. I begin the walk, with its steady incline towards the town centre. A lot of newer houses have been built resembling a little Swiss mountain town. When my great grandfather left in the 1850s there was a mass exodus from this valley, probably a few bad harvest seasons, no work and no prospects meant a lot of men from the area made their way across the world, a great many to Australia. The town would have died off and the houses on the valley floor are evident of newer development. As you meander through orchards growing different apple varieties, the occasional man or woman working hard in their fields, the streets climb up to the town centre. A mixture of old dilapidated buildings, some that have been left to rot others that don’t look much different but are still lived in. A few newer places peppered around. The older houses are made of stone so don't really go anywhere, their wooden structures start to rot away but the main structure of the house remains. You can tell some of these were poorer houses, they looked like they were made by gluing together a bunch of stones of various shapes and sizes. The all have a garden on a severe slope where there are vegetables, fruit trees and vines growing. It appears it was very much a town where people survived on these small farms, growing what they needed and perhaps selling the excess. Where they worked hard on the land for very little reward. The town climbs up, digs itself into the side of the mountains. The poorer people lived higher.

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I passed a cemetery on my way up the incline and went in to look for names. There were Marantelli’s there, the name of my great grandfather as well as a few other names from my family tree many generations ago but I needed an older cemetery. There is not a lot of information to be had about small villages in Italy when you don’t speak the language and the town has very few reasons to have visitors apart from cyclists cutting through the valley. My parents had visited a few years before and managed to get a lift to the old cemetery from a priest. I knew it was very high into the mountain above my head. I had also read that there was a poor area of Bianzone called Bratta. To reach it was a road that went for several kilometres up, doing hairpin cross backs as it climbs.

The weather was warming up, I reached the town centre and knew that Bratta was about 5km above the town. I filled up my drink bottle from the town fountain and dunked my head. Was I really going to try and do this? I am not fit and there was not really anyone around to assist in any way, medically, emotionally or otherwise. I stood in the town square a minute contemplating my options. I wish I had more time, I was on a schedule because the train doesn't come through regularly. I had a few hours. I wished I had a car or a vespa. I wished I knew more Italian or had arranged to meet someone.

I watched an old lady walk down the steep road.
“Ciao,” we exchanged. She then walked into the pasticceria and came out with one dinner roll on a serviette.
Nonna is that you?
She went up the hill and reappeared on the balcony above the shop to hang out some blankets from the window.

A once in a lifetime opportunity, I started walking. The incline was high. The sun was hot, as it turns out it was pushing 38c which I didn't find out until much later, after I had hiked a mountain.

After a couple of unnecessary kilometres I saw a sign to Bratta. I looked above me and couldn't see very much. I started the trail. Hoping that someone would recognise that this isn’t the body of a hiker or professional alpine walker and give me a lift. There wasn’t a soul around in this sleepy, sleepy town. I walked but within minutes there was a fork in the road, one path weaved up between some houses, the other was a main road on the other side of a small river.
I chose the track. I walked up, the incline was high and I stopped regularly to catch my breath. The poor houses around me made me feel I was taking the right path. I sat for a bit under a canopy of vines. I picked a blackberry from a vine. I trudged on. I was hot, bright red, hot and sweating profusely, hot. I also really had no idea where I was going, I was hoping for the best. I continued on and found a little sign that said Bratta 2km. The paths were now getting smaller and I felt I was on the right track until the track stopped.

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There were houses to my right. A paddock ahead. A mule track up the side of a mountain to my left. I walked up the drive way and it appeared to go in a house. I could see a German shepherd running freely which led me to investigate no further.
To the left the trail went up the grassy hill, a track cut into a mountain. At the top of the path looked like a power pole and a clearing of some description. Possibly a town? I thought if it was only 2km away that was a good bet. 2km up is further than your think.
I turned and started climbing up. And I mean up, like running up a playground slide type of angle. Given the altitude of this path, I was also climbing closer to the sun and I suddenly realised it was incredibly hot. I was incredibly worn out, hot and sweaty. What if I have a heart attack on a mule path on the side of a mountain in rural Italy? No one knows where I am. I drank water and stopped every few metres waiting for imminent disaster. There was a road above me and a clearing of some description ahead. I was still happy with my choice, it would be the perfect place for a hill top cemetery and everything would pan out and my efforts would be rewarded. I was wrong. As the rounded the last corner I saw a butt. A naked human butt. I froze then stood puffing against the mountain wall. I had seen 5 people for the day and there was a man ahead on a middle-of-nowhere mountain path. Semi-naked. I hoped it meant civilisation was ahead but it also freaked me out to be alone on a mountain path in the middle of literally no where and seeing another person. I waited in the sun and caught my breath. Leaning around the bend every few minutes to see if he had finished his business.
Once the crouching human butthole left, I had a burst of energy to the top of the path and the clearing ahead. In my mind there was a little town edge. Why else have a path? At the end of a path was a small, stone cottage amongst steep vineyard. A shack that clearly had no plumbing as the top of the path was his toilet. The shack was in the middle of nowhere on the side of the mountain. The path down to his house from above was so steep, like they had just poured some concrete from the road and let it slide down. I was going to need to go up there. I couldn't go back down the path. I could continue to trespass on what was clearly someones property. I sat on the ledge outside the old man’s house for a few minutes then did a metre at a time up the Gladiator-esque travellator driveway. It took some time to complete the 30m driveway. Vineyards were beside me and above me. Behind me the old stone shack dangled on the side of the mountain with a back drop of tall snow capped alps merging into a bright blue sky. Below it drops away to the valley. It was a beautiful sight and I was now quite high up, the train station was visible in the far distance below. What the hell am I doing? Why am I climbing a mountain? I am not mountain climbing fit?

I took a few selfies to get an idea of whether I looked as terrible as I felt. I looked worse.
I got to the top of old Guissepe’s path and was at the road. I felt good that my shortcut at least followed the road and that technically, hopefully, I was in some way up towards my destination. There was not a sign, car or person in sight. I sat on the side railing on the road’s hairpin turn and considered my options. Looking up for any clues that I could be vaguely going the right way or was in any way close.

It was a gamble. I also knew the further I got from the station the longer I needed to get back. I was nearly at the turning point. If I couldn’t find my Nonna in the next 30 minutes I had to turn around. Surely by now i’ve done the 2km since the last sign to Bratta. I looked up the road, straining to see any sign of life. Imagine if I came all this way, then walked all this way only to give up and it was around the next bend?

I decided I would go the last half an hour and see what happens. I headed up the road and again, I mean up. A steady incline up and then back around, hairpin turns probably make for a longer 2km. Around two more bends I found another old, stone house. I think these would have been reminiscent of what my family lived in. It had lot of open areas, it would be freezing in the winter and a few small plots of vegetables, vines and apple trees. I walked passed hoping to see someone and hoping I had the courage to ask “dov’e Bratta” and to have the old person say, “around the next bend” or “get on my mule, i’ll take you”.

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I got to the next bend where the road seemed even more vertical and the trees ahead seemed even more dense. Almost rain forest-like. I sat at the bend under a tree. I looked at the pathetic map I had and thought, horrified “…what if i’m not even on the right mountain?” There were two paths up from Bianzone. I looked out over the valley. I could see the stone top of old man shitter’s house below me. I’m no mathematician but I was several kilometres above town at this point. It actually didn’t look like I could go much higher along this path. The area just above me looked like a nice, cool shaded location that would be great for a cemetery. I mean if I was going to build one, this would be the spot. I decided one more bend but it turned to dense forest. My clock was nearing 1:30pm, my train was at 2:30pm. Part of me was looking forward to going down the hill and I felt I really deserved it after going up it for so long. I stood at the bend in the road and made the decision that i’d buggered up, I had no idea where I was, I had to get the train and I was miles from the station.

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“Sorry Nonna. Sorry Pappa,” I said out loud, because at this point I was possibly delirious.

I felt sad I never found them, sad that I had hiked a god damn mountain and not found them. But I also felt content in that, if I found them it was going to be a fluke and I had seen a lot of this little town. I vowed to come back with a Vespa or a small Fiat for driving on mule paths and I would find them.

I started down the mountain following the road. It didn’t seem to take that long to be back towards a little village. With a small bit of hope I hoped it was Bratta and I had overshot it. It wasn’t. I went back over the little river and hoped by vaguely heading down I would get back to town. I came down a path from the left and came to another fork in the road I saw a sign pointing to Bratta.

The road to Bratta headed off to the right. I stood in the middle of the small mountain road and looked behind me at the mountain I had just came down. I could see the shitting man’s house. I could see the reflecting strips someone had put up to scare away birds from their orchards. I could see the last house, the turning point shack was up there as well.

I then looked up to the right and could see the outline of another winding road with hairpin turns. I strained my eyes looking into the dense trees of the valley walls for any sign of a town. I wondered if I had time? Should I go up that path? I didn’t have time. If I missed the train I would be in Bianzone until 6pm, then most likely not be able to get back to Sondrio, then Vernazza then Olcio. It had been a long journey to find my Nonna. It hadn’t been successful.

I took a deep breath and headed back down the hill. Looking back intermittently at the two hills side by side. The stupid, dumb trick hill and the one I was meant to be up. Even so I couldn't see Bratta. As I made the descent through town on the road I meant to have been going up, I saw the start of the mule track I took up the hill in the distance. I saw the dead end houses. This ‘correct’ road didn't seem to attach to that dreaded fork in my path. So I felt better that there was no logical reason to avoid the mistake I made, I would have needed to cut through the houses and I would never have thought to do that.

I continued down and came to a little bend that took me back over the river. I stopped and stared at a makeshift track over the running mountain stream. I had started walking up this road earlier and decided that it looked too fancy this way for a poor village, and had cut back across the little path and went up a smaller street on the other side.

Oh I could see where I had gone wrong and where I could have gone so right.

I sighed as I thought about what could have been as I came back past the original sign. The one that said Bratta pointing right with no information regarding the fork in the road 2 minutes later or the fork in the road 10 minutes later.

I was getting back towards town. It was somewhat annoying how quickly I was back to town when I had literally slogged my guts out getting up. How I didn't vomit, or have a heart attack is anyones guess. As I was descending I started to realise how hot I was and how much I had over exerted myself. I went back past the tap I had filled my bottles up at earlier and filled them up again. Sticking my head under.

I hightailed it to the train station, picking streets that went down the hill in the vague direction of the station. As I got to the valley floor and was walking towards the station I looked back at Bianzone above me. The hill I was on, I could see the few markers I passed amongst the dense greenery. On the other mountain I could see the indentation of a road and the further away I got I think I could see a tall building at the top. A church spire? It was probably Bratta. I was disappointed but it was also at least twice, possibly more, the distance higher up the hill than where I got. I don't think I ever would have made it anyway.

I’ll be back. I looked back and thought once more about my great grandfather and how he left this beautiful, but challenging place. Most likely because he had enough of this walking up hills nonsense. He took that risk to cross the world on a new adventure to have a better life. He left his family behind. My great, great, great Nonna and Papa, Maria and Johannes stayed behind and tilled the soil here, growing apples until they dropped.

Martino went to Australia and became Martin. Marantelli became Telley and he completely assimilated into life in country Victoria in Australia. He married and had what was an Australian family, completely gentrified only he continued to have orchards and vines as he had grown up around. My family lost it’s italian heritage in every way, no language. No Nonna’s, no tomato sauce making day. The only throwback being that my grandmother was named Marie after my great great great Nonna, Maria. My middle name followed suit.

I waited at the sleepy train station. Every orange-yellow cement box train station across the country looks the same. Always graffitied despite no evidence of any young bored teenagers. I sat on the bench and looked at the green field ahead of me and up to the blue sky. There was still snow on the tops of the mountains as it was only the beginning of the summer. There were orchards and vineyards. It was beautiful. Martino probably sat here and looked at these for the last time all those years ago.

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So I never found my great, great, great Nonna nor did I find some kind of vague relative Nonna I could claim. So I am still in the market and am taking enquiries. It was a day that didn’t quite go to plan but it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to walk in the shoes of my ancestors. To see the area that they called home for generations.

Perhaps it explains in some way my love of this country. It’s in my blood. Alpine hiking however, not in my blood, that was weeded out.

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Posted by The Tipsy Gipsy 13:23 Archived in Italy Tagged hiking italy alpine ancestors bianzone sondrio australian-italian geneaology Comments (0)

My Beautiful Soul

Making train friends.

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Looking back it’s hard to say how exactly both my energy and I fit on to the train carriage. I boarded my train bound for Sondrio, a journey of about 2 hours in which I was looking forward to looking out of the window and playing with my broken camera lens in case two solid hours of fiddling could fix it.

I entered the first carriage of the regional train and saw a man looking at me. I ignored him and went to find the conductor. After walking several carriages down to no avail, I figured I would park myself back in the first carriage to help my case when I get in trouble for fare evading.

I sat down and started looking out the window. A few minutes later the man comes over and starts speaking to me in Italian. ‘You speak Italian?” he asks. I say, “no” in which he replies that I can, he “believes in me, he believes I can”.
“Righto”, I think, I zip up my bag and sit up straight ready to see how this is going to pan out.

He sits next to me but motions that he is not going to touch me or bother me.

He asks me to repeat a bunch of Italian. Thanks to several months of using an Italian app, I can parle a little Italiano so I was repeating after him something along the lines of “Io sono fotografo" (I am a photographer) as I had my camera. He started showing me some pictures on his phone, he explained that he is a poet and showed me some of his drawings and verses. He shared a few of his best lines, something about how “a woman is stopped inside her bag”. He asked me if I understood and judging from my blank expression, said it three more times pointing to my bag each time. Thankfully his phone soon went flat.

He then parked opposite me and continued to talk to me in a mixture of Italian and English. He was picking up on my vibes and it was blowing his mind. He went to leave but then came back and started singing to me, “blue eyes, blue e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-yyyyyyes,” he sang but he would pronounce the e-e-e-e-e-e like he was letting off a round of bullets. “Blue e-e-e-e-e-e-e-eyes” He was singing right in my face. He wanted me to pay attention to his vibrato. He did it again and pointed it out, “blue e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-eyes”. He seemed to think he was nailing it.

“Blue e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-eyes,” he continued to sing, staring into my eyes and getting close to my face.

I wondered if there was another verse?

I have one of those faces, and evidently one of those energies that attracts odd people. There is something about my aura and something about my face that really puts crazy people at ease. It usually makes for an interesting tale.

He assured me again he won’t touch me and he won’t bother me but he was hanging around and wanted to say something it seems. So he sat back down and told me in a mixture of English and Italian about how big my energy and soul is. He was overcome with it. He could feel it soon as I got on the train. He talked at me at length about my soul. How he was attracted to it, not like a man and woman. He was “49. Old” he would say but regardless my soul was throwing out all sorts of vibes and this guy was tripping on it. He didn’t know what to do. He couldn’t leave. He just kept saying something about my soul and talking in Italian. He was flipping his lid and the song really wasn’t getting across everything he wanted to tell me.

There was nothing else to do at this point. My energy was evidently getting bigger and bigger and drowning this poor fellow, as I sat stiller and stiller on a rattling old, graffitied train carriage. Tired, quiet and now somewhat amused. He couldn't take it any longer, he clasped my hand in his and closed his eyes. I was looking on with a smile but also wishing I had a camera. He stayed there like that for some time. His eyes were shut tight and his lips were quivering like he was draining all my energy with a spell. Think the curse Severus Snape is doing when Harry falls off his broom during his first quidditch match. He was holding my hand like the way an old lady would pray to a statue. They pray so emotionally and passionately their lips quiver. They care so much. It was like that, but instead of the Madonna and some candles, it was an overweight, sweaty Australian girl standing there like a lump while someone mumbled verses at her feet.

So if you can picture the scene, i’m sitting on a train, my backpack on my lap with a man crouched beside me holding my hand with both of his, mumbling in italian, his lips quivering and his eyes shut tight. I am looking all around the train carriage trying not to laugh. Or to catch someones eye and be like “shhesh, this guy ey”. His mumbling started to turn English intermittently “you beautiful women”, he would say. Staring at my face. “No, you are. You beautiful women”. If he said it three times he said it 300 hundred. Again, he is holding my hand, I am looking at the ceiling awkwardly.
“You beautiful women, You beautiful women. You beautiful women," he would repeat.

I’m not sure he has blinked in 20 minutes.

“…ah thanks," I say.

“nooo, no you. are. beautiful women”.

He kept reminding me he wasn’t talking about sex, though he is a man, he is a poet and love is not for this world. I am a beautiful women and my soul is blowing the roof off this carriage.

He tries again to explain it all. I am like the big woman, (rude, not that way) which I think i’ve heard the translation before, being like the Madonna. Big, as in almighty. He means spiritually I am very big. He then goes back to old faithful, “You beautiful women” he says again, insisting I repeat it back to him.

“You are beautiful women”.

If I didn’t repeat his mantra he stared even deeper into my eyes. So trying not to laugh I followed his mantra “I am a beautiful woman” I say, correcting his plurals. We would chant it together a few times then I threw a “io sono bella donna” in there - that one nearly blew his head off.

So there I am, barrelling down the railway into the region of my ancestors. Sitting in a carriage chanting “I am a beautiful woman” with a poet come cyclist who is holding my hand and staring at my face. Keep in mind I am wearing hiking shoes, 3/4 pants and a T-shirt. My hair is large and curly and I quite frankly look like a 60 year old cat lady on a day hike. I am not a beautiful women by any definition.

When he finally calmed down and stopped feeding on my energy, he also told me that I am an archangel. To which I said, “thanks”. He asked if I knew what it was to which he explained that me and my soul, we are not your run of the mill angel, or “white lady” as he called me first, I am an archangel, the powerful angels that make the other angels strong. They run shit in heaven is my guess. He scribbled the name Ulcia on some paper after repeating it several times. I’m not sure whether I am Ulcia or I need to look to Ulcia for guidance when I am unsure about my life choices. Ulcia is the archangel Uriel who according to Wikipedia has a flame in her(?) hand, is the angel of Sundays, poetry and the patron of the arts. Story checks out.

Eventually he gave me my hand back and with a few hundred more “you beautiful women” he caressed my cheek and then paid for my train ticket. He also wrote my mantra down on my notepad which I had taken out for some quick note taking when he went to chase the train conductor to buy my ticket. He soon returned with my ticket and another note scribbled in Italian on the back of a business card.

“io space il mondo sono bella come il mondo che e rotondo”

I plan the world is as beautiful as the world is round”

He kissed me on the cheek, and he got off with his bicycle and set off to cycle in the alps. Mountain cycling: A sure sign of being mentally unstable.

I guess I made his day. My soul and I went back to looking out the window.
Just saved myself €4,20 - cheers Ulcia.

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Posted by The Tipsy Gipsy 01:42 Archived in Italy Tagged train italy friends train_travel the_tipsy_gipsy 2016 Comments (0)

All Roads Lead to Rome

An Old Girl Needs to Nap

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Bleary eyed I wait patiently in immigration. My turn arrives, my Italian immigration official is talking to his colleague. I stand there awkwardly, I’ve approached the desk ‘to quickly’ and been reprimanded before. He reaches a hand for my passport, still continuing his conversation. He briefly glances at it and then tosses it back to me. Literally flinging it back on the counter with a careless toss.
I stand there. Is he done? Is he mad at me? Can I go?
I interpreted his grunt as ‘enter’ so with a bounce in my step I entered Italy. No stamp means no one knows i’m here, plus free travel through the EU. How perfectly reckless of him…hmmm how easy it would be to stay forever, eat gelato and be clothed exclusively in a floral housedress.

Suckers.

After 30 hours I arrived into Roma with the morning sun. Naturally I couldn't check in until 3pm so forgetting that I am no longer 23 I hit the pavements of Rome. A fantastic city that never ceases to amaze and inspire. The perfect mix of dirty garbage-filled metropolis and charming Italian cityscapes. And rocks. Lots of rocks. If you love old rocks that were once something, boy are you in for a treat. Also if you like sandwiches, they do those well. Rome is also an amazing city for map readers to lose their cool in. It’s intricate old streets are sometimes missing and it’s easy to get lost.

Despite functioning on 4 hours sleep, I just had to fill 8 hours until I could check in. So I set off feeling good about my chances of doing a quick round-a-bout of the sites to fill my time and refresh my memory. 8 hours, piece of cake! I admired the colosseum, laughed at the fools lining up by the hundreds to go inside. Within 40 minutes I had parked myself on a ledge underneath a temple ruin from thousands of years ago. From my floor level-bin adjacent location I looked over at the Roman Forum and ate a panini in the gutter. I thought about how glamorous travel can be and how I really don’t embody that in anyway. I was in the same clothes that I put on at my house at 8am Saturday and this was now the equivalent of 8pm Sunday. (EDIT: actually, my mum suggested that my choice of plane outfit looked disgraceful and so I stopped at Big W en route to the airport, bought an outfit and got changed in the back of the car).Either way, by this point the clothes were walking on their own and just carrying me along for the journey. My soft, winter feet got blisters immediately and my legs began to chafe. This began to chafe my nerves as I got further and further away from my hostel and the crappy bunk bed I was looking forward to lying on. I soon soldiered on. I’d been out for several hours and completed my itinerary. My hair, though clean upon departure was now greasy with the germs of 300 international travellers, its fine knotty strands perfect for capturing the germs and fart smells of others. I felt gross. Looked gross and was incredibly tired. The few selfies I took will serve of a reminder to just photograph scenery. A flea market that was less other people’s fun trash and more African migrants selling knock off sunglasses was the last straw, I decided for my own wellbeing I had to go back to the hostel and sleep, on the reception couch if need be.

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I obviously then got horribly lost.

I was off my own map. I couldn't navigate myself because as far as the city of Rome was concerned I was not longer in an area worth being in. Hey, you bastards I thought all roads lead to Rome?

Recalculating. Recalculating.

So my slow stroll turned to a trudge. I trudged on. Stopping to sit at every large stone, butt-level building ledge or bench I passed. Getting lost is part of good exploring,, only doing it when you are having trouble putting one foot in front of the other is particularly traumatic. I followed my nose compass, which is well developed especially as I get older and my nose seems to be growing rapidly. So I trudged on in a vague ‘thataway’ direction, my patience wearing thin and hoping my body too may wear a little thinner from all this walking. I trudged down dead end streets. Suburban streets. Past weddings at local churches. Through urine soaked alley ways. Up annoyingly steep hills. Past housewives hanging out in crappy inner city parks that are in desperate need of a mow. Occasionally wondering why in life traffic lights make me anxious but I very little fear of being alone in small back alleys in foreign cities. Stopping regularly to sit, rest a minute and hope a street I was on reappeared on my map. Cursing how flea markets are like cat nip to me. I was so misled. I was also chronically dehydrated despite the copious amount of water I was drinking. A result of the high sodium level in their water or the 20 hours on a plane or a combination of both. Still I trudged on. And I mean trudged. One step at a time. Exhausted. Too exhausted to cross the streets safely. I had to summon all my energy to remember to look in the right direction and double check in case I was hallucinating. Where the hell am i? Where the hell is that giant-ass colosseum? My aim was three-fold. I made myself the promise that if I could find a metro I would take a train back. I just had to find a metro. As that wasn’t happening at all, I needed to get myself back inside what the tourism centre of Rome deems ‘map worthy’. Or thirdly, get high up and work out where I am. I walked on following my nose compass. I was getting higher and the street I was on was either going to be a dead end or have a nice, educational view.
As I approached the end of the street there was an open gate and I saw people sitting in the shade. I saw a free Roman drink tap. Was this real? It was like an oasis. I literally stumbled into an oasis; a rose garden with park benches and flowing water. I entered and considered putting my feet into the fountain to cool them down. And also maybe sitting in it to sooth my chaffed legs. I was high up, in a rose garden overlooking the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. I collapsed onto a park bench and contemplated just staying there the night or at least taking a power nap there to give me the energy to keep going because right below me was Circus Maximus, the ancient roman chariot race track, the bottom of my map and the location of the Metro Station I was looking for. Proof, I was significantly below the map.

I laid on a park bench in the sun briefly then psyched myself up and made a beeline for the Metro. The red M was glimmering in the distance. Funnily on a street I was on before but diverted off from because I decided it was safer to head back towards the river so I could follow it if I needed to/throw myself in out of misery. I had €2 in my pocket, bought a ticket and went in. Much to my severe disappointment the trains were going the wrong way. I needed to go across the street. The army man with the huge automatic rifle told me so. He also thought my ticket would let me out and back in across the road. With one last energy burst I crossed the street and got denied entry. I needed a new ticket. I was “displeased” which I showed by swearing and angrily feeding my ticket into the gates and having it return it to me 20 times. I guess hoping to trick it. I had no more coins. I could only find notes which the ticket machine obviously also kept spitting back out at me. Finally, I found another €2 in my pocket. I was on the home straight. Naturally there were no seats so I had to carefully stand so gypsies wouldn't steal my stuff and focus on keeping myself upright. Hoping that the chaffing, blisters and fat sore feet I had given myself within 4 hours of arriving wouldn’t put too much of a dampener on my holiday. My legs ached. My eyes were stinging for lack of being closed. Everything felt heavy. I was tempted to lean on a strong looking person. In what was in all likelihood, a unconscious walk to the hostel and I soon checked in, washed the stench of long haul air travel off me and laid down. I slept. With washed but unbrushed hair I slept so soundly I had a lot of trouble waking up. One alarm went of. Then another. Then another. By then my hair was dry and sitting straight up but I wasn’t. I kept trying to psych myself up. I lay there with my phone checking out some social media to adjust to the idea of being awake like I do every morning but kept falling asleep and dropping my phone.

This is perhaps part of travel in your early thirties compared to travel in your early twenties. Soon I was awake enough to get up and leave before I fell back asleep so I went out again in a haze of zinc powder to watch tourists taking selfies and posing while throwing coins into the Trevi Fountain. I considered finding a hill to climb to get some nice pictures of Rome in a golden, afternoon setting sun glow but then remembered how much I enjoy sleeping and how old and unfit I am and decided to head back via some cheese and salami. (Too tired to dine out, that’s how tired I was) I was in bed by 9. How things have changed? I listened to the girls in the hostel recount their week to their parents via Skype. I remembered fondly how busy and carefree the gypsy life was. Checking in with home and rattling off a bunch of places you’ve been, how you’ve caught a cold, how much you need some new clothes and about the great beaches you saw and the cool people you met. It’s nice. I wish it was still me but alas I have a job now and a greater than ever desire to sit down and rest. So I retired for the night. Ready to start a new day of old spinster lady travel. Sitting down at famous sites. Taking photos of food and stray cats. So my dear friends and readers, the Tipsy Gipsy is on the road again, but i’m not walking far... also what’s for lunch? Whose got an Aspirin I’m gonna get DVT on this 4 hour train journey? €3 for coffee that’s outrageous!

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Posted by The Tipsy Gipsy 22:37 Archived in Italy Tagged italy rome the_tipsy_gipsy Comments (2)

Cruisin' for a Bruisin'

Sailing the South Pacific

Euphoria is in the air. The faint smell of Red Door and sunscreen lingers. “Nan is that you?”
It was a sunny Queensland day. I am standing on the ship’s deck, music is playing, people are excitedly milling about and waving goodbye to Brisbane as we slowly cruise down the river towards the open sea.
The ship lets off a few toots as we pass under the bridge, people are dead set loving it, I mean a bridge, and we are under it!
I take another sip of my drink as I survey my surroundings, question my choices and watch on as people wave at the bridge.

Suddenly the music gets louder and a group of people congregate right in front of me and start doing a choreographed dance routine much to everyone’s delight.
Oh for the love of god.
I take another sip and let a few expletives fly.
People are cheering, clapping, waving, people are dancing with smiles that would make the Cheshire cat feel inadequate. Are they even blinking?

I gave my friends a panicked look, noted the emergency exits and wondered how easy it is to deploy a life raft. Or do I just grab a piece of driftwood a la Rose and dive in?

Now that I’ve shifted out of my twenties I thought I needed a holiday that provided elevators, buffets and towel animals on my bed, preferably wearing my own sunglasses. So there I was, aboard a cruise ship bound for the South Pacific though I was suddenly feeling a strong pull towards a hostel, bed bugs, food poisoning and wearing the same socks multiple times. A cruise is a different travel experience to anything I’ve done in the past but I do like to collect unique travel stories and it did offer two valuable ingredients I require of any holiday, food (hello buffet) and people watching of epic proportions.

You see, a cruise is the chosen holiday of a lot of people incapable of other means of travel. People too fat, people on mobility walkers incapable I would of thought to leave the house, cashed up bogans, old people, families, your stock standard weirdos and anyone who can really get behind a hotel on the sea, buffets and non-stop entertainment. To epitomise the clientele, there was a middle-aged man with an epic, brown, wavy mullet who after an island stop, came back aboard with it braided into cornrows that Snoop Dogg would have admired.

Cruising is perfect for the over 65. You can eat, nap and sit in busy bars and order nothing. Even the risk of DVT is small. There’s something in the eyes of the old people on board that says ‘this is going to be the vacation of my dreams, don’t you dare ruin it’. They cut loose. They will waltz in the middle of the dance floor to the Black Eyed Peas in an epic display of “what of it?”
They will fill 5 dinner plates for lunch.
“What of it?”
They will tear up a themed night, hitting the buffet in their white sequinned ties, fun white bowler hats and clip in white hair extensions.
“What of it? I went through the depression bitches, now’s my time to shine”.
“Bring me all the jelly squares you have!!!”

They are genuinely impressed by everything a cruise has to offer. Not like us Gen Y dirt bags who hate on everything. Is that your dance routine? Well they butchered that song! What is wrong with his face? Do you put comedian down on your tax form? Stairs! Ahh the view is too bright and scenic! Where’s the hot one? Why do they keep playing the Black Eyed Peas?

There is so much on board entertainment it’s overwhelming. We ignored the frequent cruisers Facebook advice to BYO highlighter to plan your day. There’s shows, games, activities and gambling.
Bingo is like catnip for pensioners. It jackpotted and the prize was $7000 by the last day. The whole ship went to try their luck much like a gold rush boom. Old people with a pick and a pan attached to their walkers as they hiked to the theatre from the buffet. I sat at the back of the room with a packet of chips to watch the spectacular, hoping to see a knifing. I also made up a lot of my own bingo calls, in case my friend got his way and we had to stay aboard and join the entertainment crew. I fancy being the sardonic, bingo caller.
Number 72- duck about to be hit with a crowbar.
Number 80 – two zeros, one wearing a belt.

Obviously being dirt bag Gen Y’s we didn’t speak to many people at all, but we knew everyone by their nicknames. First it was a game of identifying the people who posted on the cruise Facebook wall. 10 points if you spot one. There were groups of young boys, groups of women getting wild as well as random individuals that continually crossed our path all of whom had a nickname. We amused ourselves no end with their backstories and scandalous gossip about their supposed trials and tribulations aboard the ship. We decided if anyone else was as ridiculous as us, they probably called us the sister wives. At least that is what we would have called any other group of one male and three females. Or maybe others actually find out people’s real names?
Doubt it.

Like all who like to over indulge I was worried I would gain 10kgs, fall overboard reaching for a taco and just be ignored by the Captain who would just assume I was a curious dugong.
Thankfully the buffet closed, of which we congratulated ourselves daily for not eating between our three course meals, or if we JUST had a sandwich and because we ALWAYS shared our chips.

My two most questionable efforts were leaving a bar for a toilet break and going to get a sneaky taco from the buffet, stopping by the lolly bar for a quick pick ’n’ mix then returning to the bar.
There was a buffet and a restaurant included on the cruise. On our last night we ate dinner at the buffet but had some time to fill and a post-dinner hankering for chicken wings to satiate. So we went to the restaurant and they seated us with three lovely ladies who went to high school together and were on their annual get together. Hello future.
We chatted and as the three of us ordered an entrée, main and desert between us it seemed necessary to explain, given the “we’re small eaters” thing clearly wouldn’t fly, that we were actually partaking in a favourite pastime of ours, the second dinner. We already ate.
Treat yo’self.

Our general excuse for questionable behaviours in over indulgence was treat yo’self. Second dinner? Treat yo’self. Martinis at 2pm? Treat yo’self. Another drink? Treat yo’self. Dessert? Treat yo’self. Two tacos and a burrito? Treat. Yo. Self!

We went to game shows and trivia competitions and there was a hell of a lot of events that we missed, much to my friend’s chagrin, because we were napping. Like the daily pilates class we were going to, or the ship gym’s opening hours of 9am-8pm. Good thing we packed the runners. Sometimes we were just propped up in the porthole looking for whales and asking each other random questions about the ocean that we will never know the answer to.
“There’s a lego building contest at 2? Family charades? Crafts at sea is quilling! There is a talk on easing foot pain? “
“Hmm, we are going to take a nap, then the taco shop opens at 6... so….”

Each night we filled our time by watching shows, musical theatre, comedy even a magician. Always questioning where our standards went. Or being thankful rather that we have them. We watched karaoke and sat through multiple Michael Buble renditions and repeat offenders that we judged with the forked tongue of Simon Cowell.
Clearly we could never actually participate.

I mean how could we even compete when a lady pelvic thrusted too hard and fell backwards during her rendition of ‘The Time Warp’? In a clear holiday highlight, a not so agile performer took to the stage and as she sang, “it was a peeellllvic thrrruuuusttttt” over she toppled. The music kept playing for a few seconds before people realised she wasn’t getting up. The medics came running, people weirdly continued to sing along and clap to the backing music. The lights were dimmed and several minutes later she was wheel chaired off the stage with her leg propped up, waving to her adoring crowd.

A women pelvic thrusted herself into an injury.
An injury.
With an overzealous pelvic thrust.
She had it strapped up for the rest of the trip.
A karaoke injury.
From a pelvic thrust.
Oh boy!
This whole experience was entirely too much for sarcastic, non-participating gen Y’s to handle.
Hashtag sail away.
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Posted by The Tipsy Gipsy 03:01 Archived in Vanuatu Tagged sea cruise vanuatu vila new_caledonia the_tipsy_gipsy school_holidays Comments (0)

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