Mozzarella and Tomatoes 4 : The good, the bad and the ugly

Somehow, the best moments on a trip are the ones that aren’t planned. Their were little lacunes in our strict scheme where we ahd the greatest time. I mean, seeing all those wonderful places was great too, but the spontaneous actions of oneness are different. They aren’t planned.
For example, one guy bought 6 bottles of wine and a few of our group sat together in front of the hotel and we drank all the wine together. We didn’t even have to pay the wine. It was very cosy. I like the feeling of oneness, and that moment had that feeling, also because there were only a few people of the eighty people on the trip. And just because we were all on the same trip, we could just talk to anyone. As soon as you have something in common, you may talk. Weird, but true. Me like.
There were a lot of Belgian and above all Flemish schools over there, and when we met another group at the metrostation, we started to sing our very beautiful, high-quality song ‘It’s silent on the other side’. Soon to be followed by the song ‘Hookers’, with these lyrics:
And so on.
We were each standing on our own platform and screaming that at each other. It’s a Flemish sign or recognition, you know.
In another metro station, we also sang our Belgian hymn together. I mean, we have our real hymn and the hymn that is played at the Olympic Games. But our real hymn is like this (repeat every sentence in your head because that is how it goes):
Everywhere we go
People want to know
Where we come from
Where we go
So we tell them
We’re from Belgium
Pretty pretty Belgium
And if they can’t hear us
We sing a little louder
(Repeat louder)

If you hear people singing this, it’s quite obvious where they’re from, right?

But there were bad moments too. The first of April here, is the day of practical jokes. But our first of April was full of things going really wrong. It started with one pregnant teacher being nauseous. She immediately returned to the hotel. Minus one leader. Later that day, another teacher fell of a stone and his shoulder was dislocated. Another teacher accompagnied him to the hospital. Exit two more teachers. And then someone’s wallet had disappeared. The wallet with all the money, with the ID and stuff.
That evening, we would take the metro and train back home together. (I wouldn’t have done it alone anyway) But we missed the last train and we had to walk home, which took us 45 minutes. We had been walking all day long, we were all fed up an,d then we had to walk… Two girls and I played word games and we made it, but still. It was midnight and we were walking there… God.

Further on there were some pathetic drunk people and stuff, but after all, this was a great trip with lots of memories to talk and laugh about. You never forget this kind of trips, you know. They are so amazing and all. I had a great time.

Mozzarella and Tomatoes 3: Mozzarella and Tomatoes

Today, you’ll find out why I named this series of posts Mozzarella and Tomatoes. Very obvious because that was the main food in Italy… It was well organised: the lunch was up to ourselves, but in the evenings we always ate together with the group in a sort of restaurant specially for groups.
If you want a cheap and quick lunch, you always end up eating pizza somehow. Once we ate something different, namely pasta (gnocchi gratinated with gorgonzola – good). That’s the most specatular it got. As a vegetarian (fake vegetarian, to be honest) I always ate Margherita (tomato sauce, mozzarella). Hurray. But that’s just my own fault, I know. In the restaurants we always had three dishes: first pasta with tomato sauce, then meat with vegetables (one kind at a time, never a combination) and dessert afterwards. Luckily I’d had the option to order veggie dishes, but when you are in Italy and you say ‘I’m vegetarian’, they look at you like ‘WTF’ (but in Italian then, their English wasn’t too good) and then they bring you a dish with mozzarella and tomato, or the same vegetables as the ‘normal’ people and a globe of mozzarella.
So I ate mozzarella twice a day in the beginning! Later on, we got pizza with fries for lunch. Bizarre combination for us… But the fries were good. That evening, we got fries at the restaurant too. And veggie me got it combined with a slice of Emmental cheese… To continue the bizarre combinations, I guess. The next day, I got the same dish (fries, cheese) plus beans. Somehow, originality seems to be hard.

I don’t think that Italians understand vegetarians. But most people don’t really get it anyway. I was happy that I didn’t have to eat meat, but I asked my mother not to give me mozzarella or tomato when I got home. (She was kind enough to give me something else.)(Which I can’t remember now because I was so sleepy back then. Exhausted.)

But ice cream in Italy is definitley good! Our ‘leaders’ bought us ice cream twice. *Omnomnomnom* They even have kiwi ice cream, and white chocolate. For me, lemon and melon are THE Italian ice cream tastes, but I like to try different ones everytime, so I also tasted that white chocolate, passion fruit,… aaaand that’s it, I think. O, and pistachio of course. And mint and chocolate. Very good. Very good.

So when you leave for Italy, be prepared and don’t eat pasta, pizza, mozzarella or tomatoes three weeks before you go.
Just a hint.


Off for Italy

My dears, as I have told you, I’ll be gone for more or less ten days. Keep calm, breathe deeply, because I will return.

I’m off for Italy, where the sun shines, and we’ll see all the great stuff and we’ll be sleeping too little and we’ll get wine for free at dinner. Can you imagine anything better? (Just say ‘no’).

But it does mean that you’ll have to wait for my return. You still have each other though :). Have fun!

What to take with you to Italy

Last post, I told you about the horror of not finding clothes and shoes, but I didn’t give you any context, which I should have done so that you could understand why that was even more frutrating than normally. So here’s the one and only context:

I’m leaving for Italy in a week and we’ll be staying there for eight days.

Now that changes some things, ain’t it? When you’re on a holiday in a warm country for eight days, you have to take quite a lot of stuff with you. I mean, T-shirts, pants, skirts for when it’s really hot and so on. Good shoes that you can wear all day long without feeling the urge to die straight away. I have these golden sneakers (but not of the big sneaker kind, more subtle), but I already have them for four years (can you imagine? they just keep on fitting, while I grew like 10 cm!) and my mother has a veto. I don’t really have dresses or skirts, by the way, that fit these shoes. And ballerina’s all day long, only the idea hurts me already. Maybe sandals. If the weather is really good.

But, what else to take with you when traveling? I’ll give you a list of stuff I take with me anyway:

* a big bag, for all the following stuff
* an umbrella; Italy is known for rainy weather when all Belgian schools move over there
* a ballpoint.
* another (plastic) bag, because you never, ever know
* scissors. Never underestimate scissors. They always come in handy. My father once forgot his razor blades, and he could use my scissors instead. Or when you buy new clothes over there, you can at least remove the price tag and wear it right away.
* a scarf. Although surrounded by nude paintings and sculptors, the Italiens freak out when they notice that you wear shorts. Be a good catholic girl and cover yourself.
* some knowledge of Italian and French. It’s quite well known that Italians don’t get why you can’t talk their language.
* battery charges for your camera, mobile phone and iPod. We’ll be spending lots of time in a bus, so music is needed.
* patience. Eight days with people, all getting tired and annoying. Have patience with them. Spare them of your sharpest tongue. Just put on your iPod (so don’t forget the charger!)
* tissues. It’s not because it’s a warm country, that you cannot get a cold.
* Tic tacs. Get refreshed. (That is Tic Tac, right?)
* The Belgian Elle. Because for less money, you have the Flemish AND Dutch version, which you might need when everyone around you is bitching because they’re tired.
* all logic stuff. ID, money, blahblah
* playcards. We are card game fans.
* sunglasses. Duh.
* makeup. To cover up your inferiority complex. (Dear Google translate, why do you seem so unreliable sometimes?)
* it might souns silly, but nail clippers. (Do you know what I mean?) For when your nials grow long, or you break one.

With this list, you will have packed half of what you really need. Congratulations!