Something very strange happened to me last night. If any of my few loyal readers is a psychiatric, psychologist, paranormologist, lawyer or any other kind of professional who ordinarily deals with mad people, I would appreciate hearing from you with any advice you might have.
I went to bed, but couldn’t sleep. I turned the radio on, and they said things like: “There are some rumors the Germans are merely biding their time waiting to bail out Spain and Italy on their own terms. That could be very painful” or “Europe feels vulnerable and threatened by China’s rapidly growing economy”…
They were scary news, but the radio gave me a great idea: What if I make a short trip to Italy next weekend? I’d have a great time and I’d take some nice pictures for my Covetotop blog … Yes! What a great idea!
Excited, I got up from my bed and started planning my next weekend. I’ll go to Italy the way I always go to Italy: driving my little car, with my suitcase and my reliable Brompton (British folding bicycle) in the trunk.
Getting to Italy from Covetotop’s headquarters in l’Empordà, driving non-stop, takes five or six hours. It’s a long ride, but it’s well worth the effort. The only problem is crossing Southeastern France. I mean it’s very difficult to pass by Provence or the French Riviera and resist the temptation of stopping here and there to enjoy a good meal or a relaxing stroll by the sea. Nevertheless, I took the strong resolution of driving non-stop to Italy.
I even opened my MacBook and began to draft a post about that future trip to Italy, but I fell asleep over the keyboard.
And then I had a dream. A dream of Italy.
It all began under a heavenly light. I was running from reality to the realm of dreams through a long corridor …
At the end of the corridor I came across a very old door. I thought: “How can it be possible? This is the original bronze door of the Temple of Romulus, built in the 4th century AD. Hence this must be Rome! Great!”
Notwithstanding my unbelievable arrival to Rome, my first thought was: “I wanna drink the best cappuccino of the world!”
So, I asked to a Roman senator and to some Roman soldiers where could I drink the best cappuccino of the world. They argued for a while among them before answering my question:
– We don’t know. You’d better ask the wise elephant with the tall obelisk.
– Gratias vobis ego –I responded to them.
And I wandered through the Roman streets, alleys, piazze and piazzette trying to find a wise elephant with a tall obelisk.
I was about to quit my search when, at the turn of a dark corner, I exclaimed:
The wise elephant with the tall obelisk was just in front of me. He turned its head to me and said:
– It is supposed that you blog to improve your English. That expression is not correct. You must say “I got you”.
No doubt. He was the wise elephant and he did have a tall obelisk on his back. We had a brief conversation:
– May I make you a question, oh wise elephant?
– Where can I drink the best cappuccino of the world?
– In La Tazza d’Oro, Via degli Orfani 84, 00186 Roma.
– Thank you! And where is that, oh wise elephant?
– Those are two questions.
– Oh wise elephant, please …
Then I stayed in awe. The wise elephant raised his trunk, pointed back at an ancient building and told me:
– Sure. Go straight ahead and take the second turning on the right. Then go down the street until you see the Pantheon’s gate. Turn right at the piazza and La Tazza d’Oro is on the left, in Via degli Orfani. You can’t miss it.
– Thank you, oh wise elephant!
– Ciao, oh Covetotop!
I followed the wise elephant’s indications and reached La Tazza d’Oro, where I asked for one cup of the best cappuccino of the world. Here it is:
But I couldn’t see the cappuccino’s price on the ticket. It appeared blurred out. I asked the waiter what happened and he replied:
– There are some rumors the Germans are merely biding their time waiting to bail out Spain and Italy on their own terms. That could be very painful.
– What a coincidence! I heard exactly that on my radio last night! -I said.
– Consequently, as a preventive measure, we don’t accept payments in Euros any more -said the waiter with a very serious voice.
– And how can I pay this cappuccino?
– You have to wash 10.000 dirty cups.
– What? That’s too much!
– We are about to be bailed out by the Germans. You have to pay!
I felt embarrassed. I always pay my bills and never ask for credit, because I never buy what I cannot afford. But 10.000 dirty cups to wash wasn’t a fair price. So, in my frenzy to flee the danger, I sprang through a big and mysterious hole on the roof crying good-bye to the waiter …
It was such a strong spring, that I overpassed the city of Rome and flew over the beautiful Tuscany …
My flight began to slow down at Pisa, where I hit a beautiful tower with my head and damaged it seriously …
… and, finally, I landed on Piazza della Signoria, Florence, where a daunting group of Renaissance soldiers where waiting for me banging their drums …
– What a beautiful place! -I exclaimed.
But the drummers’ boss shouted:
– We know you! You are Covetotop! You did not pay your cappuccino in Rome! We are going to behead you!
I tried to escape, but came across with this horrifying criminal:
I panicked and run away as fast as I could through the beautiful Tuscan slopes. The frightening hordes came after me banging their drums.
– What a terrible situation. I’m running across Italy on bare foot and wearing this ridiculous pajama. If I only had my loyal Brompton folding bicycle! –I thought.
I ran so fast that I escaped from my noisy followers and stopped by the beautiful town of Verona. In its Piazza dei Signori I ran into the great poet Dante, who spoke to me as follows:
– Where are you going, ludicrous Covetotop?
I was amazed. The great Dante Alighieri was talking to me.
– Oh great poet Dante! –I told the great poet Dante- A gang of crazy drummers want to behead me because I didn’t pay the cappuccino I drank at La Tazza d’Oro, in Rome. I could escape from them if I only had my loyal Brompton folding bicycle!
– Here you have it, my fellow blogger!
– Great! I’m flattered! Thank you very much, oh great poet Dante!
And I flew away on my folding bicycle.
Riding my bicycle, I crossed the beautiful bridge of Bassano del Grappa, designed by Andrea Palladio in 1569 …
I crossed the stunning city of Vicenza …
I stopped by Lucca to listen a wonderful Puccini’s opera …
And I stopped by Mantova just to eat something, because I was very hungry, but two beautiful Renaissance girls stared at me smiling. They no doubt recognized me.
Five minutes later, all the villagers of Mantova knew that Covetotop was there. One more time, I had to run away as fast as I could.
Exhausted, I reached the city of Parma, where I came across another beautiful girl who was dangerously exposed to the phantom of Mao Tse Tung.
– Ey, beautiful girl! Beware of China! I heard on my radio last night that “Europe feels vulnerable and threatened by China’s rapidly growing economy!” – I told her.
– Don’t worry! We Europeans are strong people and our economies too! – She responded while flexing her muscles.
But the phantom of Mao Tse Tung got out of the poster behind the girl and ate her just in front of me. I panicked and tried to escape, but the crazy drummers from Florence and the waiter of La Tazza d’Oro finally found me and cut the other side of the street.
There was only one exit left: the Cathedral. I entered in this sacred space and prayed for help while contemplating the incredible fresco of the Assumption, by Antonio da Correggio, in the dome.
The crazy soldiers were banging their drums in the street. Mao Tse Tung was screaming out there. The waiter claimed his bill. I was about to surrender, when my prayers produced an extraordinary result: a big storm was sweeping through the streets of Parma. Suddenly, I saw an amazing lightning, heard a resounding thunder and found a hidden door just in front of me. I opened the door and disappeared into a secret hallway. What I found at the other end of the hallway was amazing …
– Lake Cuomo! –I cried.
Yes. I ended up in Villa Carlotta, facing the lake. The crazy drummers and company lost their prey, but I was very hungry and wanted to go home.
When the storm passed away and the sky was clear and blue, I looked for a boat seaworthy enough to handle open water. But I only got a little dinghy:
I was so desperate, that I just stepped aboard the dinghy and began to row.
– I must be mad. This is a lake, and a lake won’t take me home -I thought.
But, after just a little rowing, I realized this wasn’t a lake any longer.
– I know this lovely Italian port! It is Portofino, hence this is the Mediterranean sea! I only have to row in a straight line from this point and I’ll be at home very soon!
But I was really hungry and had to stop my frantic navigation by Monaco just to eat something. As I had very little money in my pocket, and taking into account that Monte Carlo is a very expensive city, I ate a simple chicken crepe with tomato sauce and drank a little bottle of mineral water at one of the yacht club bars.
Then, I asked for the bill …
– One million Euros, monsieur – said the waiter.
– What? One million Euros for a chicken crepe and a bottle of mineral water? -I said, almost dismayed.
– I’m sorry. You’re right, monsieur. I forgot the mineral water. The bill amounts to two million Euros. Now pay it, please.
I was really angry, embarrassed and depressed. I wanted to run away one more time, but I couldn’t. A strong hand grasping my shoulder kept me stuck to the chair.
When I turned back my head, I saw him: Mao Tse Tung. And, accompanying him, there were the crazy drummers, the waiter of La Tazza d’Oro, Perseus and the head of Medusa.
All of them shouted at once:
Then I woke up.
I was at home.
And this post was ready to publish.