Saturday 10:30 AM, Italy.
I’ve been running errands all morning so it’s time for a well deserved coffee and breakfast. “Where should I go?” I don’t feel like having anything sweet for breakfast and I want good coffee. (OK, you cannot really get bad coffee in Italy but still there are small differences.) “Coffee o’clock has a nice variety of sweet and savoury pastries and sandwiches and the coffee is good. I know I should support local businesses but… It’s been a tiring week…”

Finally, I’m in Coffee O’clock. The crowd is insane. Italians, like coffee zombies are swirling around and I can make no sense of what’s happening whatsoever. That’s kind of normal here so I make my way to the counter and order a sandwich and a cappuccino. People are leaving and it’s a bit more peaceful now. While I’m waiting for my coffee another wave of customers arrive. Everyone gets their coffee before me so I’m becoming a bit impatient. I’m trying to find out what happened to my coffee but it’s impossible to get their attention. Finally, the guy I ordered my cappuccino from tells me that it’s on the way but next time I should pay before I order when it’s busy.

I think I’ll never get the Italian system. Whenever I try to pay in advance (or right after I got my coffee) they stare at me like I was an alien. I guess I am… Same with queuing. There are no lines, people scatter around an area and somehow they know who’s in the “queue” and who comes after who.

Anyway, got my coffee and sandwich. Found a spot, sat down and consumed my breakfast. Time to pay. And the girl knows what I had, although she served at least 30 people after me. Magic? Or some kind of Italian super power?


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