“Voyage de noces?” An Air France agent apparently thought we looked like newlyweds, I guess you could say this is indeed sort of a slightly delayed honeymoon! We decided to drop everything and run off to Italy for a couple of weeks for the following reasons:
- Long overdue visit to my cousin Ty who has lived in Rome for the past year;
- Much anticipated visit to Riccardo’s extended family, especially those who couldn’t be at our wedding in Montreal (bonus: his parents are here too);
- Reconnaissance mission for future, perhaps longer, visits; and
- Why the hell not?
We’ve been in Italy for about three hours and coincidentally, that’s also about the amount of time we’ve slept in the past few days. In fact, Riccardo is so exhausted he’s taking a nap (unheard of for him) and I’m passing the time writing this.
I’ll backtrack for a minute and explain the sleeplessness: On Friday, Riccardo accompanied me to Toronto where I attended an event and we met up later at Odd Seoul for what turned into sort of a late night. On Saturday morning, we stopped at my cousin Audrey’s place for a quick game of Scattergories and then for lunch at a random hakka (Indo-Chinese) restaurant in Scarberia, before heading back to Montreal. Once home, instead of taking it easy and packing for our trip the next day, we just changed our clothes and headed out for dinner at L’Orignal – it was our last night in Montreal with our pals Sarah and Oren who are moving to New Orleans while we’re away (sniff, sniff). At four AM, they and a few others accompanied us home for a nightcap and to “help us pack”. Needless to say, another late night – but no matter, we figured; we’d have plenty of time to sleep on the plane.
That didn’t happen, thanks to one evil baby three rows up. We landed in Paris for our layover at 5am local time, feeling the tiniest bit cracked out but excited to be in France just long enough to find a croissant. Classic French IDGAF-ness was on full display, with an inexplicable and maddeningly inefficient security checkpoint and a bafflingly slow-moving croissant vendor whose t-shirt read “Take some time yourself”. Indeed. Any chance of sleep on the two-hour flight from Paris to Rome was marred by the incessant chatter of an irritating little kid behind us. But still, we kept smiling – Roma awaited. We found our way to the Leonardo Express train and texted my cousin to come get us at the Termini downtown. Unfortunately, a communication breakdown prevented us from reaching him and we spent a few puzzled minutes trying to figure out how to get to his place without an address. Luckily, he soon surfaced and brought us back to his palatial apartment, serving us some cheese and sopressa before heading back to work.
My first impressions of Rome, having only passed through once before, are that stereotypes are alive and well here. Grimy ruins, stylish girls on Vespas, caffes on every corner, groups of dudes eating gelato at the fountain. Social norms we value in Canada seem non-existent here – for example, excusing oneself, or ceding the right of way. As I write this, I’m serenaded by the almost-nonstop cacophony of card horns blaring in the distance.
As soon as Riccardo wakes up, we’ll meet up with Ty again for Roman pasta and a proper introduction to this enigmatic and impossibly charming city.
Shall leave you with a funny Italian song from the 70s that Riccardo likes, and a couple more photos from my phone.