Thursday, January 10, 2013
In my previous blog I wrote about how my trip to Scotland became very much a trip about dining and puddings and how much food I could try. About ten months later we went to Italy, after 3 days in Spain and a couple of days in Provence. I know we are very lucky. I was, for the first time in my adult life, NOT a food tourist. As a background I had been to Italy four times before so I know my way around an Italian menu.
What a difference 10 months of serious Sparking makes! This time, I did not research or think about restaurants. We asked for advice from the hotel workers and we would simply try restautants that did not look too "turistico" (they have a lot of giveaways). An average Italian restaurant can be exquisite without being costly. I walked all over Rome. It seems as if walking is better than the hassle of a taxi or the overcrowded bus or the limited Metro (limited because you don't want a subway getting into the spaces and places of Roman ancient ruins).
We would stop and eat. The typical Italian menu has at least four to six courses. I eschewed the bread. I would order the spinach, asparagus, or tomatoes. My husband and I would share a pasta dish--and we avoided the creamy sauces. We ordered a lot of fish and little fowl. We ordered enough for one very stout person and I ate about 40% and my husband about 60%. Then the kicker---he often got desserts, being justifiably enamoured of Italian gelati and other confections. I had: one bite of one piece of tiramisu once and one bite of ice cream once. Tasty but too sweet, I thought.
I returned home and while I had not lost any weight, I had not gained any. My Roman Redemption was knowing that food should be sampled sparingly and that the entire point of the trip was art, artifacts, fascinating churches and cathedrals and the luxuriousness of The Vatican. I travelled to travel and not to eat. The eating was incidental -- about as significant as fueling a car. And yes, Italian food is fantastic.
So I am pleased and proud that I now know how to travel and not make food the centerpiece of the journey! That, my friends, was my Roman Redemption. I had been a bit fearful that I would become a food maniac, but it did not happen.