First holidays on my own in Italy – part 1 (Arrival)
Did you ever had the feeling of being totally worn out?
It was last year September when I had the feeling the only thing I really need is silence, time for myself, lots of it.
This year was full of stupid bad stories and I was tired, soooo damn tired of everything.
I never went on holidays alone, it was always someone around me to share things with so I was a bit scared first of booking something just on my own.
What if I feel completely uncomfortable during the holidays or got homesick?
But the urge of relaxing and calming down was bigger than the little fear in the back of my mind. Not to over stress myself I decided to split my two weeks of holidays and start with a visit of family and friends, they can bring me back on track whenever I’m unsure, and for the second week I booked my first “just me” holidays.
I chose Italy as I’m loving the country.
When I was there for the first time I instantly fell in love with the landscape in Tuscany.
The food is one of my favorites and I’m also addicted to old buildings. But instead of looking for Rome or Milano I picked a small town in Calabria.
My aim was to relax and not to go from one big city to another and even if I like shopping so much, the need of silence was bigger.
Calabria in mid September meant still up to over 30°C and the sea was just a short walk away from the hotel.
Italy welcomed me with blue sky and lots of sunshine when I arrived in Lamezia Therme airport and the women from the travel agency was waiting for me to guide me to the bus driving tourists to their different destinations.
As I thought, there were so many German tourists, like the cliche with white socks in sandals, that I quickly turned my “I’m not German” mode on. After many travels I’m not too bad in pretending as I’m really almost running away when hearing my mother language in a foreign country. The last thing I wanna do is making friends somewhere. I have friends, thanks, and I’m fine just on my own. Even better than with groups of persons who order German food in Italy or expect everyone to talk German just because they are not able to adapt.
I sat down at the window and put music on my ears. It would be an one hour drive through Calabria and I just wanted to enjoy the view.
The music was not too loud, I was still able to hear people talking behind and in front of me and it proofed quickly that I wasn’t wrong with my assumptions.
“How dirty, did you see? They just put the garbage on the street. Plastic bottles, they need to put them extra in a separate trash can. This would never be possible at home.”
“Hey, there’s a German restaurant, remember the name so we may go there one day. Honey, our hotel has a German menu, I checked it upfront.
“It’s too hot here, I thought it’s around 25°C, hopefully it will cool down a bit during our stay.”
“Oh, did you see how the houses look like? Cannot imagine to live like they do. Awful.”
“Each car has big scratches, the decision to fly was the right, not that ours got damaged here.”
You wanna more, I still have many sentences in my portfolio.
I know that not everyone is like that but honestly, most of the tourists are annoying me wherever I have been.
I experienced the same in Hungary, Greece, Malta, UK, Spain,…
Maybe it’s me, sensing it, but in the end I try my best everywhere to get out of sight very quickly before I’m getting mad.
When we stopped in front of my hotel two women were leaving the bus together with me. I was the first at the reception for checking in and the receptionist was directly talking English so I communicated with her that way until I got my room keys.
The bad thing of traveling alone was the time of breakfast and dinner. I skipped lunch as I didn’t want to stay near the hotel each day to be in time for lunch. But there were still the mornings and evenings where I had a singe table just for me. And I was the only person there traveling alone. It felt strange the first evening, I had the feeling as if everyone is watching me. And not only watching, also like feeling sorry for me, sitting there so lonely.
Not to feel to uncomfortable myself I started to analyze the people around me.
The couple in the room next to me was, who thought it, from Germany and the wife said hello to me when I first stepped out on my balcony. They had a table on the other side of the room and she was smiling from time to time, saying cheers across the room. He just turned once to see to whom she cheered and then they were talking to each other like couples do when eating outside.
Next to me were the two women I had on the bus. They were also saying cheers in a nice but unsure way. They were talking a bit but nothing really interesting, just about the trip itself, that it seems to be a nice spot they chose and what to plan for the next days. The rest was only looking and from the different expressions on their faces you could start to assume their thoughts.
The young couple with the baby, he was staring from time to time whereas it was for me like he’s dreaming about something completely not related to me, I was just sitting in the same direction. She was looking at him as if she was jealous not realizing the situation at all. Maybe he was just tired, and she not feeling comfortable after giving birth with her own look, who knows but I wasn’t the reason for the silence between them while eating.
An old American couple where both were chatting as if there’s no tomorrow, where you saw they are not listening to what the other one is saying. Two people living in separate worlds but still a couple. They seemed as if they arranged and it was OK for them.
There was another old couple in a completely different style. She was only serving her husband, not saying anything without being asked. From time to time you saw in her face thoughts running but before she was starting to talk she held herself back with a sad face. He was only ordering, can you give, could you go and ask, will you bring, not even a please.
Interesting but also scary, how would I be one day? What I saw there was nothing I would love for my life.
After we finished dinner and just had our drinks left in front of us my room neighbor was waving me over to join her and her husband. She told me it’s hard to see someone sitting there alone although I was not looking sad or unhappy.
A nice gesture and it was ok. I wanted to travel alone but that doesn’t meant to avoid each human contact.
The two women who arrived with me were more than surprised and stopped on their way to leave the dinner. “Are you German? We just heard you during check-in and we’re both sure you must be from UK or US, what an awesome English you are talking.”
Not too bad as compliment because it was proofing that I really can pretend to be anything but German if I want to.
The first day was coming to an end and the first hurdles like eating my dinner alone were taken. I was tired in a good way and just sat for one hour on my balcony, reading Paulo Coelho’s ‘Warrior of light’, listening to the chirping of crickets, enjoying the sounds and smell of Italy.