While travelling to Europe in 2002, my family had met an Italian painter at a restaurant in Rome by chance.
The open-air restaurant is in a corner of Plazza di Sant’Ignazio where is between Pantheon and Pontana di Trevi. In the evening, a martial brass band had a concert in the square. It was a wonderful evening.
A restaurant employee ushered us to a table from where we could get a clear view of the concert stage.
However, my family encountered a problem after having seats. My wife and daughters, who like rice and Kimchi, were fed up with bread and steak as soon as they arrived at Europe. They were nagging me to take them to a Korean restaurant at every meal.
When they were in trouble making a choice, an old couple who had just come to the restaurant had seats next table and ordered readily. As soon as they ordered, many dishes came out with lightning speed. The number of dishes was roughly 10. Our eyes widened at the dishes, because it was Korean style of food serving.
Various kinds of food were also Korean style. Stir-fried eggplant, green pepper boiled in a little salty sauce, mushrooms seasoned with vinegar and other condiments …. Without pasta and pizza, I almost mistook the dishes for Korean food.
The old man smiled sweetly and told “It is authentic Italian cuisine. If you want to enjoy Italian flavor, order it without hesitation.”
As soon as he told us, I ordered the same food. Wow! It was really delicious as the man said. What a great dinner!
Before finishing the meal the man asked me where we were from. We talked about Korea, World Cup soccer in the year, and tourist attractions in Italy. And he ordered the restaurant owner to bring a drawing paper. After bringing the paper, the owner gave me a tip that he was a famous painter in Italy.
The painter had drawn four cats -my family- sightseeing Rome with fountain pen and told me that wrote our names above the each cats. I entered the name on the drawing.
It must be one of the best gifts in my life.
The drawing hangs on the wall of my room now. It always conjures up the memory of the evening. It was a really wonderful evening.
I send my best wishes to the nameless Italian painter.
It’s been a long time since I took a long-distance travel. Whenever I make a trip plan, my wicked job puts a spoke in the wheel.
After taking the last intercontinental airplane in 2004, I should be satisfied with two-or-three day trips to Japan, and half of them were work-related. Not that Japan isn't already a hip chick. Japan is one of my favorite destinations as ever. However the temptation of Europe, U.S.A., South America and Africa is too strong for me to be gratified with Japan.
Many trips I took when I was a junior left me with unforgettable memories… the fresh smell of the sea at La Jolla Cove in California, the delightful laughter and the delicious dishes in a ristorante at Piazza di Sant'Ignazio in Rome, the fine white wine and folk song at a village in Rüdesheim am Rhein, the great spectacle of Victoria Falls at Livingstone, the beautiful girls and god-blessed scenery in Rio de Janeiro, the unbelievable wild penguin parade at Phillip Island in south Australia,….
On the first day of January I made a New Year's resolution to take a long journey overseas this year. It’s so easy to break as usual. However I will do my best to keep my resolve as much as I can, before regretting.
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