Wednesday, June 01, 2022

The language barrier - or not, conversations with Gregorio

 Do you know what you call someone who only speaks one language?




We are SOO lucky that English is as universal as it is. We like to travel. We like to travel all over - not just in the United States or other English-speaking countries. We like to travel to Italy! They don't speak English there, but most anywhere in areas accommodating tourists, you will be able to get by. Add a little Google translate to the mix and you're good to go. But, that's not enough for real conversation.

In Northwest Sicily, by a town called Castellammare del Golfo, we found a B&B called Casale Ginisara. It was perfect. Just 5-10 minutes one way to the Hot Springs, and 5-10 minutes another way to the waterfront restaurants in Castellammare del Golfo. But the best part was the hotel manager, Gregorio. We had a lengthy conversation when we first arrived about visiting the hot springs. You see, there is a natural hot springs as well as a big pool and resort that uses the hot water. He thought we would enjoy the natural springs more, and told us all about it. We ended up taking the easy way and going to the resort. But, the point was that we could have real, complete conversations with Gregorio because he spoke such good English. He was born and bred Sicilian, but he worked in hotels for quite a while in London. His English was excellent and we took advantage. At breakfast the next morning, we talked about life in Italy compared to life in the US, politics, education, medical care, nothing was off limits. It made me realize how much the language barrier does affect us. I know that many of the people we've encountered in Italy were equally as friendly as Gregorio, but since we only speak English, it limited our conversations.

Conversations with Gregorio were such a treat! He also used an Android phone and was interested and receptive about information we had to share! We weren't just old American tourists, and he wasn't just the hotel manager, we were all interesting people with lots of knowledge and opinions to share. It was so fun!

Location, comfort, conversation ... Casale Ginisara checked all the boxes. I would love to go back and spend more time.

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