05 January 2010
All Roads Lead to Rome
So, after just returning from Italy, here are my general impressions (it will take me a few days/weeks to unpack all of the notable moments). First of all, Italy is ridiculously expensive. Most meals were over 10 euros (and that is not a fancy feast by any means), and if it gives you any idea, a meal from McDonald's was around 7. Then to top it off, we ate at a restaurant that didn't serve tap water, (One of my traveling buddies actually questioned them on this: "You don't have a tap?!" That's right, we were sensitive travelers.) so, we just didn't have anything to drink. I don't think they were very impressed at our economic ways. At another restaurant we were charged for bread (at 4 euros a pop) in addition to a service fee.
However, in all of this eating, I did solve one big mystery. How do the Italians not get fat if they are eating pasta ALL the time? (And, I have to admit that I did underestimate the amount of pasta they actually eat. I don't know what kind of restaurants I expected to find, but there were literally 90% Italian restaurants and probably 10% Chinese. I literally had pasta or pizza for every non-breakfast meal of my visit.) Well, it is directly related to the economic issues previously discussed. Not only is the food remarkably expensive, but you don't get much for your money. The pasta that is on the menu (for 10 plus Euros) is intended to be a first course! So if you really eat Italian size, you will spend 30 euros (or significantly more) for two small courses. Imagine my surprise when my 12 euro serving of cuatro formaggio gnocchi came and it was about half a cup. It was at that moment that I definitely missed America.
Speaking of America, we certainly have quite the reputation. When my Australian travel mates, shunned a con-artist, I mean tour-seller, she shouted after us, passive aggressively, that we didn't have to be "rude Americans". Clearly, she was Canadian, because she was a smidge bitter. (Any Canadians who are reading this, that is just a JOKE.)