The sun burnt my skin, sour candy formed one of those strange bump things on my tongue, and even, just once or twice, a rogue glass-too-many hurt my head the next morning. Too much of a good thing can be, well, not so good. But I never thought I would tire of authentic Italian food, most certainly not in the Motherland. Well I did, and I feel shame.
On our last night in Tuscany we found a good rate at a throw-back upscale hotel. Marble aside, I decided that I’d had enough. We were tired of amazing pasta, pizza, and everything else that came with it (yes, wine).
“Let’s just run down to the bar and get a cheeseburger,” I said. My ears creased with excitement and she agreed.
The only problem is there was nobody at the bar.
We enquired at the reception and when I mimed hamburger to the barman, I thought he was going to convulse into a deep routed depression. Thankfully, a plain-dressed man overheard our attempt to bridge the gap between Italian machismo and my ill-advised hand gestures, and took matters into his own Italian talking hands.
He walked us to the empty bar.
“Sit, I order two cheeseburgers and send waiter.” Jackpot.
We sat, but not for long, before our waiter arrived with a look of discomfort and concern.
We wanted to eat in the bar. He wouldn’t let us and if his eye brows could talk, they would have told us we were nuts. A quick round of pantomiming ensued and before we knew it, he dragged us right past the nice pianist and into the white table clothed dining room.
Fine silver forks dropped and an awkward silence wafted eyes towards us.
“Why is everyone looking at us?”
I didn’t have an answer, until the cheeseburgers arrived. When our waiter lifted the silver lids off our plates, there was nothing but beef patties with melted cheese over them. My laughter instigated a game of chicken with my blush-reflex and before I knew it both sides lost. The blood gushed into my face and I failed to muffle my childish laugh.
We ate our overpriced burgers with knife, fork, and matching grins. Even in total discomfort (everyone continued to stare), our meal reminded us that we were exactly where we were supposed to be. No, not in that restaurant (it’s never good to be known as that “nice pianist,” by the way). We ran from too much of a good thing without realizing that such an effort was feeble. We were there together and the good thing we ran from had nothing to do with the food and wine, at all.