So, I set out for a lake adventure on this sunny Spring day in Italy – getting an “open ticket” on the ferry, allowing me to stop in one of six towns on Lake Como, including Bellagio. 

I realize once I am on the boat that wherever I start – I would have about a two-hour wait until the next ferry departure because it was lunchtime. That’s okay – I am going to need something to eat anyway. 

I make my first visit at Lenno – walk along the waterfront. See a few tourist places – and head up the hill to find the center (il centro) of the tiny little town. And a restaurant not for tourists – which, of course, I don’t regard myself as — but a place to eat for the townsfolk. 

I stop at a post office and buy some stamps (francobolli) for my postcards (cartoline). I ask the dude behind the counter – in Italian (of course: hey, I’m no stinkin’ tourist!!!) (which is ridiculous because I am. But I digress). 

Where can I find a restaurant, I inquire. Oh, we have hundreds of restaurants, tanti (many). 10 kilometri. 

I know enough to know I am not walking 10 kilometers to find a non-tourist restaurant. Pizza would be fine. At this point. Tic toc – lunchtime is almost over. My ferry departure is closer. AND I needed a toilette!

I return to the restaurant I’d  rejected. Order a nice salad and a glass of vino bianco and ask the waitress. Scusi. Dov’è il centro?  Oh madame, she answers: here! This is il centro!!

Ha! Serves me right. 

Lunch was perfect, by the way. 

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When I found myself alone (got disconnected from my peeps after looking for a cash machine – more on this misadventure on Ruling Woman) — I went looking to get me some Czech food. 

I ended up at a little off-the-path (but not too much, had to get back to the hotel to meet the group – and I didn’t want to get lost again. It was bad enough I got split from my group). And ordered a potato soup that the menu described “in bread”. No suspense — you can see the picture. But I thought it was a mistranslation – and I think the waiter was laughing under his breath when I asked for bread on the side. You know, thereto.  (see fish note)

I am told it is rather typical Bohemian. And it. Was. Delicious. Just what I wanted. 

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It is not entirely unusual to see a seagull in Rome. It is, after all, not that far from the coastline – and there is a river runs through it, but this fella made me laugh. He was one of two gulls sitting atop a delivery van. Look closely at the sign behind: Pescheria. Fish Store. Ha!

Definitely “Right place, right time.”

It was one of my favorite moments (among many) on this beautiful sunny fall day. Apparently there is an expression here in Italy: Roma Ottobre. Rome October. Just as we laud the beautiful autumns in New York, so, too, do the Italians their autonno.

For lunch on una bella giornata – a beautiful day – I purchase a prosciutto sandwich on pizza bianca from my favorite forno in the Campo de’ Fiori.  What apparently makes it a specialty of Rome is the inclusion of fichi – figs.

Prosciutto & Fichi Panino

It was incredibly rich. And memorable. Just like the cittá for which it had been deemed a specialitá.

Funny. As I sat on the bench of the Palazzo Farnese to eat my ham and fig sandwich, a pigeon shat upon the British man next to me. It is probably time to go before it happens to me. Although, knowing the Italians, it is most likely a sign of good luck!

It was an international polyglot of women:  an American from Manhattan,  a former New Yorker who lives in Roma,  a Parisian who has called Rome home for over 20 years,  and my Finnish friend who lives in Italy by way of Brooklyn and Amsterdam.

We met for lunch – local local – at a trattoria in Trastevere called Augusto.  No menu.  Just cute waiters who rattled off the pastas of your dreams:  arrabbiatta,  cacio e pepe, melanzane.  The four of us split 2 pastas two ways.  Followed by a secondo (2nd course, the “meat” course) that I shall not soon forget.  You’re just lucky that I took the picture of the dish before I’d devoured this Brasato (braised) Veal with Potatoes.  Fall-apart tenderness with monumental, yet simple, flavors — redolent of rosemary.  And, a basket of bread with the perfect balance of crusty and chewy!

The four of us regaled one another with our childhood experiences of soaking up the juices with bread.  From “no-no” to “hidden scoops” to “of course you can’t let the sauce go to waste!”

Dolce:  a Tiramisu that was still trembling from the tender touches in the kitchen. Four forks,  four mouths.  Devoured.

Along with the spoken menu, the check — il conto — written and calculated on the paper covered with oil, crumbs and escaped driblets of sauce.

Here I am, in the land of the Danes now, staying with my friend, the priest.  He lives in the center of beautiful Copenhagen.

Upon my arrival from Gatwick, 90 minutes from the land of mushy peas and crisps, I am greeted with a lunch, Danish style.  It came with instructions.  Thank God.  An appropriate thought, when lunching with a man of the cloth.  I recognized most of the ingredients of our repast.  It was in the design of the eating, I found fascination.

On that table was smoked salmon, some kind of sliced pork with swirls of parsley and pepper, dense dark bread, a sweeter type bread with golden raisins, cheese, tomatoes (that would be toe-MAH-toes), cucumbers, sliced sweet pickles and a bottle of Italian beer.

Now the instructions.

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