Pensieri di Viaggio (Travel Thoughts): On Dining Alone At A Hotel

linguine

 

So, here’s the thing: it’s fine. Do you kind of wonder if people may think it’s, let’s say, an open invitation? A little. Do you care? Not really. After two easy nights of grabbing pizza with a friend, and cooking dinner at home, I found myself alone and decided it was time to formally dine out. Of course, I’ve been getting cappuccino and sandwiches solo by day, but dinner at a pricey ristorante is a different story. Wanting to treat myself for no apparent reason (Hmm, maybe I should make one up? Best gelato eater? Most likely to go broke? Sure, that deserves a reward.) I splurged and went to Hotel Savoy. Now, a hotel was probably not the best choice in hindsight, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. Great reviews, close to my apartment, and people must eat there alone all the time, right? Plus, I had passed it earlier in the day and knew I could find my way home in the dark…after some vino. I marched in confidently enough, requested a table (Host: “Two?” Me: “No, uno.” Host: questionable smile), and sat down on the patio, overlooking the Piazza Della Repubblica. I tucked my purse under my seat thinking, I’m not going to be one of those annoying people relying on their iPhone for company. But, then, when the extra place setting at my table was swiftly cleared, and my wide-grinning waiter came to take my order, I suddenly felt it. A pang of embarrassment. Is he laughing at me and my solo-ness? My American-ness? Or is he just a happy person? At any rate, he convinced me to order l’antipasto, il primo, and too many glasses of vino. Being alone makes you feel obligated to order more than you want. As if you’re occupying such valuable space that you had better make it worth their while. My meal was delicious though. Salmon crudo over fresh asparagus lightly dressed with olive oil, salt, and herbs. Linguine with clams perfectly al dente. And, even though I said no, grazie to dessert, a plate of almond cookies and honey pecans arrived at my table with compliments. I received some other compliments as well. Sitting by yourself on the edge of the Piazza leads to quite a few winks and stares from men in too-short shorts and too-tight jeans. The kind of stares where you avert your eyes but, just when you think it’s safe to look back, you realize they’re still staring and now you’ve unintentionally made eye contact. The kind where you suddenly find yourself thinking, maybe that guy from Houston sitting one table over will pretend to be my father or something and I can make a run for it. Harmless, hilarious stares. In the end, I had a beautiful night out. Summer evenings in Florence are magical. You feel like you’re on a film set, with pink skies, street musicians, and children launching these little light toys into the sky that look like fireworks. Surrounded by sculptures and the hourly ringing of church bells, you just have to smile and think, maybe the waiter was just happy. I mean, I would be if I lived here. -A-

piazza della repubblica

pink sky

2 Responses to “Pensieri di Viaggio (Travel Thoughts): On Dining Alone At A Hotel”

  1. Marianne

    Such a beautiful picture you paint! Embrace the time spent. Watch, listen, repeat. -M

    Reply
  2. Sarah

    Your writing makes me feel like I was sitting at the next table! Love it, friend:)

    Reply

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