By Michael Kinney
In my adult life, I have prided myself on the ability to travel anywhere unknown and be able to adapt. Whether it was to a small town in Alabama or smack dab in the middle of Times Square in New York City, I’ve found a way to adjust to the surroundings.
But my I may have met my match on my first night in Italy. All it took was finding out that Italians don’t offer tea at their restaurants. That simple fact blew my mind and I quickly realized this was going to be a trip like no other.
In my mind tea was a refreshment that crossed all international borders. And I was looking forward to cooling down with a glass after spending the past 24 hours in airplanes and airports making treck from Oklahoma to Rome, Italy.
But when I stepped into Il Timone on Singita Miracle Beach, just outside Rome, I soon not part of menu. I think the waitress even laughed at me when I asked, but since I don’t speak Italian, it was hard to tell for sure.
Yet, the small, seafood restaurant made up for the oversight in other ways. Il Timone a favorite of many locals who spend a few hours chatting and conversing at the beach before getting down to the business of enjoying huge dinner.
Along with not drinking tea, I found out that Italians take their meals seriously. Not only do they look to fully enjoy each meal, long conversations are expected to take place every night.
According to the residents and visitors I spoke to, dinner starts after 8 p.m. and may not end until midnight. Our main course consisted of octopus, clams drenched in broth, baby lobsters, shrimp, raw salmon and fried squid.
The food is so delicious, it’s understandable why they want to take their time.
Before I even made it to Il Timone, I spent a couple of hours at the beach watching my first sunset from inside Europe.
I wasn’t alone as bar owners on Singita make it a special event every night. With tables and blankets laid out in the sand, free pasta dished out and mood music coming out of the loud speakers, it makes for a very casual and chill atmosphere.
Once the sun sets, it’s just the start of a long night, even if you are suffering from major jet leg. The only thing that would have made it better would have been a large, cold glass of ice tea.