On My Recent Trip to Europe

I was in Germany and Italy last week on a business trip. Was it hectic? No, far from it. We had just one meeting per day and the rest of the day was spent on travel, finding the hotel we were booked in and exploring for right places to eat for survival. All this, of course, takes a physical and mental toll.

Between the two countries Germany & Italy – the latter is easily the more likeable. In Italy, Indians would certainly feel at home. They are warm, friendly, chatty, and very lively people. In general, one finds lots of similarities between Indians and Italians. At times they are so noisy chatting, joking, laughing, giggling like school kids that it becomes difficult to conduct meetings. At one point of time,  the convener of our technical meeting had to intervene to bring them back to sanity. He said jokingly: “Our organization has a guideline for conducting meetings. Do not ever attempt to conduct a meeting if you find two Italians sitting side by side”. They got the message and it seemed to work at least for that session!

In Italy I travelled to Rome, Naples and Milan on business. I did not have the luxury of time to do any sight-seeing. However, only in Rome, we found time one evening to visit the famous Coliseum(pronounced as collaseo in Italian)which is part of ancient Roman ruins. This was constructed by Roman Engineers in the 1st century AD and is famous for its intricate engineering structure . It’s basically an amphitheatre built for the purpose of entertainment to Roman emperors and the public. Here are some pics of the place:






Can you see in the 4th picture above how wonderfully the stones are stabilized below the roof? The stones were set without mortar. They were held together and stabilized by an interesting interlocking mechanism.

The coliseum had a huge arena where the gladiators would play dangerous sports with wild animals like elephants, baby lions, leopards, rhinoceros etc. Battles & hunts were staged on the arena. The arena covered the elaborate underground structures where the animals were caged. The animals and the gladiators would get on to the arena from the tunnels underground before the show began. Criminals condemned to death were also thrown into the arena naked and without arms as the wild animals would literally tear them to pieces. The theatre had a capacity to seat  close to 80,000 spectators. (The coliseum, today, is a major tourist attraction in Rome. The last two pictures above are not part of coliseum. They are part of ancient ruins surrounding Coliseum).

On the last day of my trip, we went to Naples to meet a customer. We finished our business meeting in the morning and had plenty of time for lunch. In Naples do as the local Neapolitans do, right? What do they do? Eat pizzas – Neapolitan Pizzas, as they are called in Naples, are perhaps the most authentic. We managed to find one of the top 10 pizza places in Naples – Sorbillo Pizzeria. Pizza making is no ordinary art, as you would know. I believe the pizza making dough is prepared a day before to make sure the yeast does its job of making it fluffy overnight. This ensures the pizza is soft and light when cooked in special wood burning oven. For sure that place stood up to its reputation. That was easily the best Pizza experience I had. The soft Pizza base with the melted & mouth-watering mozzarella cheese on top and the special toppings of green peppers, onions, black olives – all made it a special experience. It was smooth, tasty and quite sumptuous. If you take one such pizza for lunch, you don’t need any other meal for the rest of the day. Sure, it packs a lot of calories. But who cares, especially when you are hungry and you know the place is famous for pizzas.

I must make a special mention of Italian coffee too. The coffee I got in Italy was far superior to that in Germany or the famous filter coffee we get back in India. Everything about the coffee was perfect. The aroma, the taste, the appearance of smooth, thick & shiny foam added up to one of the finest  experiences with coffee. Note that there should be no visible bubbles as one sees in a typical south indian coffee. It’s a combination of technique and coffee formulation, I suppose. I would rank Italian coffee among the best in the world. So, coffee lovers, if ever you get an opportunity to taste Italian coffee, do not miss it.

My idea of a perfect day would be a traditional South Indian breakfast with Italian coffee and for lunch a super sized Neapolitan pizza . One can then skip dinner or have some simple soup and go to bed.

Published in: on June 25, 2017 at 10:56 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. sir, I am a regular reader of your blog. with reference to “Can you see in the 4th picture …stones were set without mortar. ..together and ..interlocking mechanism.”
    I have read that Kallanai dam too has such interlocking done between stones so that they donot get washed away when water reaches the dam.

    • Yes, I also heard about it. Must visit sometime.

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