Tuesday, July 7, 2009


St. Ambrose is accredited with this famous line in 387 A.D., and the Trinca kids have been suffering on vacations ever since. It is Dad’s strong belief that when on vacation, the family should try to get as good a sense of the local culture as possible. Which means no tour buses or flag waving tour guides (and don’t even get’em started on cruises!); It means eating at local restaurants and learning enough words in the local language to at least be able to say hello, order food, ride local transportation, and ask where the bathroom is located.

So, in Rome we rented an apartment for the week in a middle class neighborhood just outside the tourist zone. Which meant that about half the time the answer to our “parla inglese?” was “no, I speak Italian.” At which time, dad would begin stumbling through his Rosetta Stone Italian. The problem was often when the ol’ brain began searching for a particular word in Italian what would come out instead would the Japanese word. You can imagine the confusion – which was only compounded if dad had drunk a few glasses of wine (most of the time).

We all became quite skilled at moving around the city by the Roman subway and, of course, by taxis. The buses remained a mystery, however. So, in those areas not served by metro, the Trinca clan experienced what it was like to be a Roman centurion on a forced march down the via Appia.

Meal times were always an adventure as we wondered through our neighborhood looking for somewhere where the locals ate. Usually, we were rewarded with an excellent meal. In fact, the only time we were overcharged for a lousy meal was in the tourist area, but even there we had some good meals and were generally treated kindly by the locals. Favorite food discoveries: Shelby found out that tomatoes were not so bad when they have real buffalo mozzarella loaded on them; Mom might have even gain a pound on the trip from daily multiple scoops of her favorite gelato Рcr̬me caramel; Mason, one word Рbeer; Harrison ate spaghetti until it ran out of his ears; and dad loved it all. But, most of all he loved hearing the family saying Buon giorno or ordering corneti, per favore, and saying grazie by the end of the week.

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