I have a bad history with Italy. It started the first time I ever visited, when I accidentally walked down the wrong side of a mountain and had to find my way to the other side. I accept full responsibility for this, but Italy has punished me severely over the years for this mistake.
The next time I visited Italy, I spent 3 days trying to get the button-lift of doom across the border on my snowboard. I triumphantly made it without falling off and that very morning I had a nasty fall, which resulted in a bone bruise. What is a bone bruise, you may wonder? Well it's like when tempered safety glass shatters. It keeps its shape but is full of cracks. It's as painful as a broken ankle, but takes years to heal, and still hurts to this day.
You'd have thought I'd have learnt that Italy is best avoided by now, but I returned there once again a few years later for more punishment. I should have been suspicious when the customs dog decided it liked the smell of my ski bag. They held me at the airport for at least an hour while they opened everything in my packed bags and checked it for drugs, constantly asking if I'm sure I don't take drugs. Of course I don't take drugs, and if I wanted to smuggle them into Italy there are far easier ways (like by car, where there are no borders to cross, or by snowboard on the button lift of doom). Anyway, they finally let me go and I proceeded to my snowboarding holiday. A few days in, I said to my accompanying friends while navigating the Sella Ronda, that it's not really a holiday for me unless I have an adventure. 2 hours later I fell off the side of the piste and broke my back. I had to go to hospital, be flown home on a stretcher and wear a back brace for 2 months, and had 10 weeks away from work. It was quite painful, and I still have back pains from time to time as well as a twist in my hip.
Maybe I should have learnt my lesson at this point too, but no. I had to go to Rome for my birthday. No sooner had I arrived than I contracted some kind of evil Italian stomach bug. As soon as I ate or drank anything, within 5 minutes I had to run to the nearest toilet and what followed was some kind of nuclear reaction in my digestive tract. This would not have been so much of a problem were it not for the fact that no men's toilet in Rome is equipped with a toilet seat or toilet paper. I don't think I need to go into any more detail. Just as I started to feel better after 5 days, I went for a swim in the sea, and contracted an ear infection which upon my return to London, knocked me out for about 2 weeks. Great.
I really had learnt my lesson by this point. No more trips to Italy planned any time soon... but I still like Pizza and Pasta, and Ferraris. So I bought an Alfa Romeo. This lasted a short time but unfortunately I lent it to a friend and the engine blew up, and I had to scrap the car.
So at this point Italy had tried to destroy my limbs, my back, it had tried to destroy me from the inside out via my stomach, and it had tried to make my head explode. Now it was trying to destroy me financially.
But I still didn't give up. Following a trouble-free (ok, the only trouble was a train problem that forced us to take a taxi instead) week of skiing with a lovely Italian friend of mine, I decided I was ready to reconcile with Italy. As a result I am the proud owner of a Ducati Monster motorcycle. I really like this bike. It's brand new and until recently, was rather shiny. I was wary that Italy may return to haunt me but all was going well until day before yesterday, when in conjunction with a patch of sand in the road, I slipped over and fell. So now my shiny new Ducati which hasn't even been in for its first service yet is rather broken. I priced up original replacement parts for the bike and the total cost comes to around half the price of the bike, which is odd considering they are just ancillary components that are broken. Oh, and the first time I took it to the car wash they sprayed acid all over it, leaving nasty permanent marks all over the aluminium
So now begins my Monster customisation project. It's going to be cheaper for me to buy cool aftermarket bits than it is to buy original Ducati, and it will end up looking loads better.
After that I think I'll part exchange it for a BMW... The only thing the Germans ever did to me was break my watch, and they already repaired that for free.