This story happened over ten years ago, so I hope I get these details relatively right.
We had decided on pizza. After all, we were in Italy and there was a pizza stand around the corner from our hotel so why not? It was one of the few nights where dinner wasn’t prepared or planned for us, and it seemed like the best option. We liked to local it up.
Three friends and I headed out on our pizza getting adventure. You have to keep in mind that in this story, I’m 16 and have been traveling Europe for almost 3 weeks with a group of mostly high school students (wholesome Mormon high school students). We were all full of energy and pretty much excited about everything. That hasn’t much changed from how I am now, but imagine me shorter and thinner.
On this particular trip, our French teacher had arranged all of the hotels and stays for the entire vacation. They had all been pretty awesome (including a cruise of the Greek Isles) and most had a rustic “Je ne sais quoi” about them. This particular hotel was pretty close to the edge of rustic, bordering on old-and-scary. Maybe about a step away.
Not knowing where else to eat or go in the small town we were in, we decided we would get the pizza and whatever other supplies we needed for the night and hunker down with some good ol’ fashioned hanging out.
It was a perfect night and the sun was just setting as we headed down. The streets were practically empty, and I feel like we were the only people around. The town had a combination of old architecture and random new installations. A lot of Italy looks like another time and another place—that’s a lot of the charm.
In this particular city, a friend had spent her time videoing the locals and asking them questions about Italy and the small city we were in. One group of boys answered, “We want sex.”
…I’m not sure if they understood the question.
Anyway, we got to this small pizza stand about the size of my bedroom and ordered a large 5 cheese pizza. There were no seats anywhere near us, so we sat on the curb and waited. As I said, the streets were empty now and we were alone.
The pizza master had not said one word to us as we ordered. In fact, he wasn’t particularly friendly, but we hadn’t seen any other restaurants so we took it in stride.
When our food was finally ready, he clapped loudly to get our attention. Still, he said no words, just handed us the pizza and went back inside. We waited until he was out of earshot to laugh.
The pizza was definitely large; I could barely reach my arms to the end of it. So, we merrily skipped along back to our hotel.
The archaic elevator wasn’t large enough for all of us and the pizza, so instead of waiting for the next one, we all crowded in there and I held the pizza over our heads. My three companions were (are) much shorter than me so it was no sweat.
Well eventually it was a sweat, as the heat of the pizza rained down on us. It felt like a sauna. But, even though the machine moved slowly, we were only on the fourth floor so it wasn’t a problem. Until the elevator broke.
The lights went out and the elevator stopped moving. We were stuck. I was holding a giant, hot pizza over our heads and it was smothering us with heat. I think that’s when one of my companions began to shout and I began laughing uncontrollably. My arms were shaking and it was hot, but I had nowhere to put the pizza. So, I just kept laughing.
A few minutes later, we were rescued as the elevator was turned back on. It puttered to life and we made it to our room. The burst of cool air as the doors opened was an amazingly refreshing feeling.
The pizza was delicious, and covered in large plops of mozzarella. We ate on the balcony overlooking the coast, the ocean, and the beautiful sleepy city.
Next time though, I’ll take the stairs.