Lesson #5: They Created the World

I just spent the last eighteen days traveling with Italians, ten days with three Italians and the following eight with my usual Italian accessory. Of course I have learned much more about the world in these last eighteen days then I have in my entire life. Of course…

Upon arrival in Alicante, all was well, but when we moved on to Mallorca, things started to take a bit of a turn. I should have known what was coming really. See, Lorenzo and I wanted to plan a trip to celebrate that all-too-amazing Italian tradition known as ferie or in English ‘you worked hard all year so get out of here and take a vacation, if you don’t, good luck cause everything in this city is closed’. That’s a rough translation.

Anyway, so his best friend wanted to plan something together with us and his girlfriend and we agreed. He was very insistent on seeing Mallorca, but since I had never heard of it I was leaning more toward something I wanted to see, like Portugal. Beautiful photos persuaded me and we booked our round-about trip to Mallorca. Later when Lorenzo and I talked about it, he told me that Palma is one of the famous Italian vacation spots, along with Mykonos, Ibiza, Pag and Amsterdam. We arrived to find the only nightclub in Palma, Tito’s, lit and thriving full of happy Italians singing “Tu Vuo Fa l’Americano” which is also the only song I think I heard in the last eighteen days. We sat at a streetside bar to enjoy the giant glasses of Sangria and were greeted in Italian. This confused me, I thought we were in Spain.

This began transforming even more as we browsed the museums of Madrid. I really apologize for my lack of culture here, but I don’t know a lot about art history. Excuse me but I didn’t grow up in the city known for having started the Renaissance. We were walking, much too slowly, through the Reina Sofia, and as I started blankly from sculpture to painting Lorenzo started with his commentary of who was who and why they were famous. He would often stop, inquiring if I knew this already, when I answered no he shockingly continued. After two and a half floors we made our way out and sat outside to wait for our friends. He went into a huge lecture about how he studied all the art in school and how could I not even know what Picasso’s Guernica was. Sorry, we really didn’t study that at my high school.

That night we were more or less pestered for some “real food” aka the Italian restaurant across from our hostel. We said no, of course. The day Lorenzo’s friends returned to Italy they made a point to let him know they had eaten at Pomodoro Rosso and how amazing it was. It must be a god-forsaken crime in Italy to go so long without Italian food, I really don’t know how they survived.

The famous "Italian" Clerigos Tower

We walked by a number of Italian restaurants throughout our trip, passing them all up of course, they were full of devoted Italians. We ate at a couple of Indian places in Portugal and Spain and there were no Indians in them. Italians must be the only people to travel to foreign lands and swarm to restaurants specializing in their home cuisine. This was all nicely rounded out with a conversation, which I won’t detail, about where is the best place in the world to be nourished back to health and taken care of. You can guess where that place apparently is.

On the last leg of our journey, there was the ultimate statement. At this point it was just me and Lorenzo, we were traipsing through Porto on a rather gloomy day. We passed the famous Clerigos Tower and I proudly stated my knowledge that the architect was Italian. Lorenzo’s response?

“Of course he was. Didn’t you know Italians created the world?”

“I thought that was God.”

“No, it was Guido, it has all just been a big misunderstanding.”

That’s about all I have to say about that.