Thursday, January 20, 2011

Il cappuccino sul Confine (The cappuccino on the Border)

I’m on the border of two countries. One foot is placed perfectly in the pizza capital of the world, while the other is plopped into Austria. I am in a running position—on my way to Munich, where meat is their speciality and where my vocabulary goes as far as “Danke…” to mean thank you. I am leaving cappuccino paradise for three days, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy one last one for the road—one last one on the road.

The truth is that I am on a train, unsure of what country I am in at the present moment. I could still be at the tip top of Italy, but there are police men walking through each corridor asking for passports. This hints me that I may have already crossed into Austria—or that I was really standing between country lines. Either way—I don’t have a care in the world. The only thing sitting between me and the window to the unknown territory is a perfect last cappuccino for the road—a perfect last cappuccino on the road.

Before sneaking to the back cart to order my cappuccino I take in the scenery. The view is nice—snow filling the creases of the mountains that fold over like a fortune cookie along the tracks, and skylines outlined by rocks and the tops of trees. Rather than dreading this 4.5 hour train ride to Munich, Germany for my detour outside the country walls, I approach it like an amusement park—full of thrills…full of spins…full of loops—unexpected jars. It’s like I am on the famous train ride in Epcot…where without leaving the park, you visit every country on earth that you can imagine. This is the perfect opportunity for the last cappuccino that I will have for three days—for the last cappuccino I will have before I enter the world of meat lovers—(where, being a vegetarian, I may find no eats at all!).

“Prendo un cappuccino,” I say politely to the waitress in the restaurant cart. She looks at me funny. I take note that she’s not Italian. “A cappuccino, please,” I say. The train may or may not be in Italy anymore, but the language sure isn’t Italian. “Sure, a cappuccino,” she says.

“Where are you from?” I add.


“So you speak German?”

“And English…”

Immediately, I begin quizzing her in German—knowing full well that I won’t have a chance in Munich with the locals if I can’t spit a word—literally.

“How do I say thank you?” “And you are welcome?” “How about please?”

And how do you say “Can I please have a cappuccino?”

"Ein cappuccino bitte"

I laugh out loud. She clearly doesn’t understand why I am laughing. It’s okay. I still get pleasure out of it.

She foams milk onto the top of my espresso which is placed perfectly in a to go cup to take back to my seat: my cappuccino for the road…my cappuccino on the road…my cappuccino on the tracks…my cappuccino on the border.

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