Nordies meet Italians; it’s another culture shock

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We “Nordies,” as we are known to our separated brethren, don’t make it easy for foreigners to understand us.

We “Nordies,” as we are known to our separated brethren, don’t make it easy for foreigners to understand us. In addition to our unique accent we have our confusing, if slightly humorous, expressions.

I was away in Italy with fellow “Nordies”. That was good craic.

When a waiter asked one of the oldest members of our group what he’d like from an Italian menu, the man, looked briefly perplexed. Then he hit on a plan. “Ask the bride,” he announced, deferring to his wife!

Apparently one of the most entertaining things about Italy, apart from stylish women in killer heels riding motorbikes, is that people say buon giorno to each other. Strangely, they don’t say good morning very often. It was great craic altogether for us Nordies to greet each other with a loud buon giorno. Little amuses the innocent, as they say.

Still, translation difficulties cut both ways.

The little ‘train’ that runs tourists around the streets of Riva del Garda promised “C’e bello” (it’s beautiful). In the English translation that somehow became, “It’s funny”. This we must see, we thought and coughed up our €2. The funniest thing about it was the way it careered around corners faster than a real train from Derry. That’s Italians for you!

But, it was an educational trip. One Belfast lady was flabbergasted to discover that Italy used to have a King. King Victor Emmanuel was succeeded by his son Umberto for just a month in 1946 before the country became a republic. Imagine a country getting rid of royals! Now that is amazing!