I don’t think we have ever before been invited to lunch by friends accompanied by the advice “Perhaps you should bring your passports in case there is a control at the border”.
It’s not that there is anything particularly special about crossing a border, but the concept of doing so for lunch is not one that is familiar to most from our continent which actually doesn’t have a border that can be crossed even if one wanted to, unless one counts perhaps popping down to Tweed Heads from Coolangatta. In that event, even in the most authentic ethnic restaurant there is nothing to fear with regards to communication. There is nothing that can’t be solved by simply pointing at the menu and ordering “a number seven with lychees”.
Here though we were speaking in English with our Danish family in Germany in an Italian Restaurant with the exception of ourselves, all of our company able to seamlessly switch to any or all of those tongues without so much as a blink or a stutter. Even when Birgit without thinking addressed our Italian waiter in English, he having already greeted us in Danish, read the menu in Italian and translated it to German, simply ignored the apparent stumble and replied in the only language we truly understand.
We must try harder!
One thing we could understand in any languages was that it was a seriously good day to be sitting over a long lunch snug indoors, looking out over the not so cheery harbour, for once with no thought at all of wanting to join those sailing happily out to sea with their umpteen layers of wet and cold weather gear.