Non parlo Italiano!

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I am surprised at how many people in this area speak really excellent English. (Shame I can’t use it when I write!!!) Don’t know why I’m surprised because most Europeans seem to speak at least 2 languages, many can speak quite a few more. I constantly feel ignorant and sadly under-educated! I might not have literacy in any other language other than English, but a huge joy for me when travelling is to be surrounded by other languages, and therefore learning a few new words here and there. I think I may drive SAR up the wall with my constant repeating of Italian phrases, looking up word translations and listening to my new-fangled translation app! Every now and then I launch into an explanation of how to pronounce the letter ‘c’ when followed by an ‘e’ or an ‘i’, in Italian. I’m sure it’s what she’s come to Italy for! Anyways, one of my favourite phrases is “non parlo Italiano” , at which many shop keepers, baristas, ferry ticket men, etc launch into English! I guess this area has been visited by tourists from all over the world for many years, so it’s no wonder. I am glad they can speak English because it means we’ve had some wonderful conversations with many and varied people over the last week.( and I hope in the 12 weeks to come)
And now to my photo……I went into a shop yesterday (in Bellagio) to buy a little silver fishing boat charm for my new travel bracelet. SAR and I had checked out the jewellery shops and this one had the best prices. But what we didn’t know was that we’d have a wonderful conversation with a lovely couple who own the store, and that was priceless! Rosa Maria Vergottini is 75 and has lived in Bellagio all her life. The store that now belongs to her and her very smiley but quiet husband has been in her family since her grandfather established it many years ago. They live above the store, and she has lived there ALL HER LIFE! The history of the Lake, and the town , and the fishing boats, all accompanied with photos brought down from a shelf, was absolutely fascinating. Sadly, we had to leave so as to catch our ferry!
Previous to that wonderful experience, we had bought a coffee in one of the many bars along the lakeside and the man there told us his life story, including how he and his wife had visited Sydney on their honeymoon! He also talked about the different seasons in this popular place and how many of the large hotels close from November till March. (The staff go and work in St Moritz) As well as this great conversation, he only charged us the bar price for our coffee, even though we were sitting at a table! (1/2 price)
Of course, not everyone can speak English, and that leads to many interesting events too! Until we cracked the ‘code’ with buying bus tickets at the Tabac, we were charged something different each time! And lastly, the local plumber(he pointed out his house to me….at least I think that’s what he was saying!) came to visit on Wednesday to get the central heating system up and running. At first I thought , how will I know what to do? But with many hand signals, quick delving into my translating app, and lots of mistakes, we got there! All part of the fun. And I think I am gradually adding to my Italian vocabulary too!
In fact, I can order 2 cappuccinos like an expert, even with a ‘please’ . Ah, what joy! Buona Notte!

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