Monday, November 08, 2004

A not-so-sperta moment.

I was watching The Third Man this weekend with my husband and recalled my own trip to Vienna at the age of sixteen. We were on a school trip. It was cleverly called the "3 Vs"--Verona, Venice and Vienna. Highlights included: an attempted flirtation with Italian soldiers at a piazza called Bra; the revelation that our teacher and leader was a manic-depressive (hilarious one minute! about to abandon us in despair the next!); another revelation that old ladies only wash their hair once a week, when they get a "set"; that I enjoy processed meat spread for breakfast; that I don't know what my shoe size is European-style.

I had been to Europe once before, I considered myself worldly, sophisticated (sperta). We all went to the famous ferris wheel in Vienna (I caught a glimpse of it in The Third Man before I fell asleep), and in the bus along the way I kept seeing signs for "Praha." "What a neat word," I thought. "Must be German for ferris wheel."

It wasn't until I went to Praha five years later that I realized that I was not sperta.

I am going to Rome in a few weeks: stay tuned for the story about the time I thought "Pisa" meant "supermarket."