Friday, October 13, 2006

A very nice evening

Yesterday's evening turned to be one of the nicest in quite a long while, considering the times when Susanne is not with me. Having finished at the pool (another 50 legs, but this time my shoulders are crying so much that I shall skip today's round) I headed home, changed quickly and headed to pick up Liesbeth. Then, we headed towards Piazza Trilussa, arriving a few minutes late and finding Dalma already waiting for us.

Now, Dalma is one of my half dozen hungarian friends I've met over the years thro ELSA (one of the exceptional sides of that association is the kind of people you can meet and lasting relationships you can build). She was studying as an Erasmus student in Naples a few years ago and we met at one of the ELSA National Council Meetings, sometimes in 2001 I think. We sort of lost track of each other until I met her again in Budapest, in 2004, and since then we have more kept in touch, even because, in the meanwhile, for one of those intricate chain reactions of life, she ended up becoming the girlfriend of one of my best ELSA friends, Valerio.

Anyway, she was waiting for us, together with her parents, and I had already booked at my favourite restaurant, so after a quick exchange of pleasantries and update on the people missing, we headed for dinner. The usual warm welcome from the restaurants' owners and waiters (after all, I end up there about a dozen times a year) and we sat in this table that, not knowing what kind of temperature we would had found, I had asked to be prepared inside, but close to the window.

At the moment of placing the order, I finally could hear again fluent, uninterrupted hungarian as Dalma translated the various dishes to her parents and they exchanged comments back and forth. Now, I must say, hungarian is very special to my ear, for a number of reasons dating back five years. Ok, one reason, really. Anyway, it might be harsh and at time the typical intonation makes it sound as chant, but nevertheless whenever I hear it my heart grows warmer.

Order placed, everything followed with flawless precision. Drinks arrived within 2 minutes, mixed bruschettas arrived within 5 and the main courses, despite being of three different kinds (pasta, flesh and fish) arrived within 2 minutes one from the other. As the dinner was moving towards the desserts, I turned myself in a taxi driver, a not so unusual thing. Valerio had finally arrived at the train station, late obviously, and I jumped on my scooter to pick him up and deliver it to the group. As I got back, less than 45 minutes later, I made the acquaintance of an hungarian friend of Dalma and her italian boyfriend, we had dessert and then it was time to take a tired Liesbeth home. Half a hour later, I was back again to the restaurant, in time for a round of drinks offered by the restaurant's owner and chef-in-chief.

As we finally decided to leave, definitely overfed and possibly slightly overdrunk, we headed for a long walk encompassing Trastevere, Campo dei Fiori and Sant'Andrea della Valle, all the time reminiscing episodes of our ELSA life, things I had totally forgotten and that once upon a time had became little myths, like when Valerio and me disappeared from a meeting to be found hours later in the company of 6 estonian girls. Things I hadn't thought about for years and definitely made me smile.

At Largo Argentina we finally parted ways and it was a wise thing, given I ended up in bed at 2.30 am, which means I'm today with less than 5 hours of sleep with a very very long day to face. But the end of it, if everything will go well, will surely make me forget my total tiredness. Next stop, Mainz.

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