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Italy, Again

We’ve been in Italy for over a month and I still have not gotten used to the siesta times.

This is my second time visiting this country, (with an 8 year age difference) but this trip has been much different from my last. I was alone and touring at my own pace as a full on tourist, and spent only over a week in total on my “European tour”. This time, I’ve come much closer to the real experience of living here. We’ve spent 5 weeks touring just Italy alone. And there are still some things I haven’t gotten used to.

Being up in the hills for the last 2 weeks, away from busy cities, hasn’t helped me get any better at coping during the 13:00-17:00 timeframe. This is usually when we manage to make it outside after trying to have slow mornings where we take our time, have breakfast, do some housekeeping, and plan the day (and if I’m very lucky, maybe even do some yoga and/or meditation).

Every time we had a day off in Farnese, though, we seemed to get to the town during midday. And every time everything was closed. We’d walk around aimlessly with nothing else to do except our laundry, and wonder why we hadn’t come earlier or later. In the best case, the weather was pleasant and maybe we could enter the lake for a volcanic swim. In the worst case, the wind chill was stifling and we’d hurry to get the laundry out to feel a bit of warmth and maybe even layer up.

The same thing happens in the cities. Every time I walk around in the middle of the day and catch myself thinking “wow this place is dead”, I check the time and it’s siesta time. The streets are empty. The shops are mostly all closed (except a few bars if the city is big enough) and it makes you want to turn around and go back home immediately. Italy, it seems, doesn’t really wake up until evening when it’s time for aperitifs.

And by then, I’m usually ready to start winding down for bed.

It’s already difficult for me to eat past sunset, let alone at 9 pm. But I’ve done it many times since being here, and thankfully it doesn’t mess up my sleep too much—except waking up to pee more often. It just means I wake up later and get the day started later and then end up in the siesta cycle again and again. Wanting lunch too late, or dinner too early.

Speaking of eating, I want to talk about the food. My father and brother unlucky are big lovers of pasta and Italian food in general. Me, I can’t say I am or ever have been. But I wonder if, after a month here, they would still happily sit down at a ristorante, open the menu,  and excitedly order yet another penne.

It took me like one week to be tired of the food.

Even bread, which is my weakness doesn’t appeal to me like it used to. (Maybe this has been my remedy all along). I feel like if I see another pizzette or focaccia or pasta pomodoro on my plate I’m going to flip the table. After I leave here, I don’t want to see any Italian food for a long time.

I wonder if anyone in the world feels this way about rice?

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