Food and wine were foremost on our minds when we arrived. We were hungry, and thirsty, having been awake since 4 AM, without breakfast, and travelling via Milan to Naples on a connecting flight. The whole journey was over ten hours long.
As it was Jo’s birthday, and I had arranged for a bottle of Prosecco in the room. The wine was there in an ice bucket, along with two champagne glasses.
We drank with glee, looking out onto the waves, and though the sky was not bright blue, we felt as if we had reached the land of the gods.
Joanne ordered a plate of cold cuts and tomatoes. The girl at the desk, Veronica, arrived soon afterwards with a tray of prosciutto ham, fresh salami, melt in your mouth mozzarella, gigantic, sweet flavoured tomato, olive oil, and fresh Italian pana (bread). We took the food onto the terrace and devoured it.
A strange thing happened. Jo told me a story about a nun, Sister Kosmos. This nun had given the family shelter when all the hotels in Rome were full. The convent was a kind of last hope, providing bed-and-breakfast when all else fails. Somehow, this struck me as funny. I imagined a shrewd, wheeler dealer nun, with a sideline in hotel accommodation.
As I chuckled to myself, the glass slipped out of my hand and exploded on the floor. I looked down at the shiny, ceramic tiles. Splinters everywhere.
I was speechless, and then astonished, because the shards of glass had travelled due North, South, East and West, the full range of the nautical compass, including twenty feet onto the terrace outside. A small splinter had even lodged itself into the door frame. Another was wedged in the door jamb. None of it went near Jo, or I.
This struck me as peculiar. That the glass should have leapt so high into the air, somersaulting over the bed, (there were even fragments on the pillow), then arriving promptly on the opposite corner of the room.
I began to wonder. Is this an omen? Should I connect it with the storm clouds? Or is it simply, (quotation marks) one of those things?
In the end I opted for a kind of jubilant abandon, much like the Greek practice of smashing plates at weddings, a ‘sign of good fortune’, signifying a break with the past.
- Basil, tomato and fresh Mozzarella salad (kouzounaskitchen.wordpress.com)
- London’s Life Goddess’ Greek Mission (eu.greekreporter.com)