Tis Returns to Italy! Day 86: Sometimes It’s the Little Things
On Day 86, I had a delightfully simple day wandering around Trieste.
This morning I faced the morning, knowing these last couple of days were going to be tougher than I thought. It has been such an amazing ride I dread it ending. I knew this sounded spoiled and selfish as many people will never have this opportunity or even the chance to come to Italy. So I put my big girl panties on and headed out to relive some of my favorite things about Italy. At the top of my list was pizza and an “un caffè” moment.
Top Rated Pizza in Trieste
After falling in love with the linguine puttanesca at Ristorante Bianco, I learned it was known as one of the top restaurants for pizza in Trieste. The restaurant had been recognized by Gambero Rosso, the Italian authority on good wine and food. For lunch, I decided to give their pizza a try. I ordered the Diavola, which is a red sauce pizza with fior di latte and spicy salami. This is my favorite combo so I use it as the point of comparison when trying new pizzerias in Italy.
Let’s just say I was not impressed. For a pizza with spicy salami, it was fairly bland tasting. Perhaps my expectations were too high after eating pizza in Naples, the pizza capital of the world, for the previous week.
The Perfect “Un Caffè” Moment
After my disappointing pizza, I wandered by the waterfront. While it wasn’t terribly cold, after wandering for a bit I needed to warm up. I searched for the perfect bar to have an espresso, or “caffè”. I have grown incredibly fond of the Italian tradition of popping in for a quick coffee at random points during the day. During my trip, I started calling these caffeine stops my “un caffè moments”, which is what Italians say when they order an espresso. While this habit did nothing to help my insomnia, nonetheless, it was a fun way to blend into Italian culture.
The Rules of Engagement
Whenever I go in for my “un caffè moment”, I try my very best to appear Italian. Following these strict rules to give me the best chance of assimilating:
- Walk confidently toward the counter and say only two words: “un caffè”. Do not make small talk or try to meet the people around you. Not talking to the people around me is VERY difficult for me.
- You MUST stand at the bar. No self-respecting Italian would sit at a table while having their espresso.
- Resist the urge to look around – only steal glances when people are not watching.
- Do not do anything at the bar while you are drinking your espresso. No reading, no staring at your phone. Just focus on enjoying the moment with your espresso.
- No lingering. Italians are in and out fairly quickly.
When I follow all of these rules, I usually get treated like a local. They speak to me in Italian which always makes me happy. Today was a success! I found a caffè that was hidden under scaffolding and walked in purposefully. When the bartender walked over, I said the two magic words, “Un caffè”.
A Successful Cultural Assimilation!
In a moment the bartender returned with my espresso. It was very difficult to follow the “don’t look around” rule as this place was full of character. But I stayed “in character”, and was rewarded by the bartender assuming I was a local and only speaking to me in Italian. In order to get a good look around the place, I went to the bathroom after paying for my espresso. This is a good way to follow the rules and still give you a chance to have a look around!
After trying out the food at the pub that was so busy last night, I finished out my evening with my favorite local white wine at my regular wine bar. It was another wonderfully simple day in my favorite country!