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The biggest mistake on my first Italy bike trip

Be careful what you ask for. The first time I tried to tour Italy by bicycle, I needed to buy a pump.

I was just starting to become fluent in Italian, and I was a little bit overconfident. I knew that pompa means a large pump, such as a water pump or a gas pump. Since I wanted a small, portable bicycle pump I added the Italian suffix, ino, which means little.

I got some strange stares when I walked into a bike shop and asked for a pompino. Nobody would answer my questions or help me. At the second place I went to, the owner told me I was disgusting and threw me out.

Finally, someone explained to me that pompino is a vulgar slang word for a specific sexual act. As I said, be careful what you ask for.

This happened almost ten years ago, but I thought about it today because of a Monty Python video where a Hungarian tourist finds himself in a similar situation. This has nothing at all to do with biking across Italy, but check it out:

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