Out of all the languages that I have learned in the last few months,
Italian has been the hardest. On this trip alone, I have had to learn
two other romance languages including one that I have learned from early
childhood. Plus, I have never heard or learned Italian in my entire
life. Perhaps the most challenging thing is that the grammar rules are
similar to Spanish, but slightly different so that it is extremely easy
to get them mixed up.
The first port we stopped at was Bermuda. Being a British colony, they
spoke English. No challenge. Then we spent six weeks in the Azores,
which is a Portuguese colony, so they speak Portuguese. That was not the
hardest thing because it was different enough from Spanish that you
couldn't mix up their rules of grammar. This is a major difference
between Portuguese and Italian.
In Gibraltar the people spoke English except for some, who lived right
across the border in Spain. When we cruised the coast of Spain, we
didn't do much speaking, but I've always learned Spanish as a second
language. Italian is very different in this respect. During the time
we've been here, I've learned some basic Italian, such as the rules of
pronunciation and grammar. By the time we leave Italia, I hope to be
conversant in this language.