When I first got to Europe, thirty or so years ago, travelled around a bit, it was a blast trying to communicate. In Paris no one spoke English. Same for Madrid. Amsterdam and Stockholm were great w/ English. Germany was at best so-so. As of our arrival in Bianca, Calabrian, I’m reminded of those days. In fact. We’ve only been here a day and I can here in the tone and cadence of shop clerks and even the campsite receptionist the old adage: no English, no German, you must speaka Italiano. Then the receptionist takes out her phone, speaks into it in Italien and when she’s done she points it’s speaker at us and all we hear is a garbled message in German. We tried to recommend the DeepL app but she stuck with the google machine. After a bit of babel laughter here and there all is well. We got our campsite spot. The grocery clerk, along with some fresh eggplant, a few bottles of wine and some olive oil, actually used a few German words and the tabacchi dealer, a wonderful old geezer, blathered to me nonstop about god knows what while I tried to buy some Marlboros. The good news is, like way back when, all that one needs to get by is to (be able to) pay, smile and say at least ciao or grazi. That’s fun ain’t it? Also. My better half managed in her life to learn a second, third and fourth language. That helps too.
Then again. This is yet another moment where I regret not learning a third or fourth language. Yeah. It took me too long to learn German. And it was very painful.