Mint tea to warm up your heart, French fries as main dish for the “child-me”, pizza with spicy salami and red wine on the beach, sushi as if in abstinence crisis, Indian restaurant in Spain, fried fish in Marrakech and hot chay with mandasi.
And then do you ask me why I love solo meals?
Eating at the restaurant is a recurring theme among solo travellers groups and these lines intend to be a praise of it. It has not always been the case and, to be sincere, in the past, it made me sad to see someone sat at the table alone.
Then sushi after pizzeria, eating house after stall, I found my dimension.
And now I like it.
I like the freedom of being able to choose “by instinct” where to eat by preferring small eating houses, bars that use organic and Km 0 products or employ disadvantaged personnel.
I like paying only for what I eat because I am penny-pinching and I detest going Dutch.
I like taking all the time I want, as at the cinema, where I love standing up after credit titles.
I like taking inspiration from other clients or from passers-by, about whom I embellish stories and scribble a great deal: I put my copybook near the fork and set the table as if I were a bit at home
I make up tales starting from a look exchanged among guests, couple’s crossed feet under the table, a red jacket from which the ochre-coloured paper of a letter sticks out and I am free to put in writing everything coming into my mind because there is no teacher evaluating the essay, there is no reader either, there are only me and my mind, which empties by letting thoughts spin round and by painting convoluted things.
But most of all …
I adore having a date with mysel
And, maybe even more, getting ready: shower, cream, dress and lipstick.
Red lipstick, in these cases, is a must.
It is that touch saying: “Yes, I am beautiful and take care of me “, saying “Yes, tonight I am going out with a special person”.
Memories of solo meals are more vivid than other travel moments and I am realizing it only now that I am writing about it still smiling while thinking of the monkey that stole my bread on the beach of Diani or of when I stroke up a friendship with an Italian waitress in Valencia, who had the following sentence tattooed on her arm “If you don’t like where you are, you can always move. You are not a tree“.
I realized that alone (if you want) you make friends and you pick up (even too much) easily, but also that people have other things to do than judging me because I am alone and, in any case, when I feel fine, I don’t worry about what others think.
When I am alone, I usually come back home on foot to digest food and reflections, even when thewalk is very long.
In Algeciras, during Ramadan, I was the only Italian woman among Maghrebine men and this made me feel at the same time challenged and at home because a part of me detests that world and a part of me belongs to that world.
Alone I was always able to try only one thing at a time, but I tasted it.
Alone it is really rare that I feel alone.
Well, so, what are you in the mood for tonight?
Enjoy your meal!