Three weeks in Italy and time for another installment of small, big, and bigger differences:
- some hotels have no shower curtains. None have washcloths, but all supply soap, shampoo and larger towels.
– riding the high-speed train between Venice and Florence and Florence and Rome involves several tunnels. Views are of the countryside are limited but going 250kph doesn’t seem all that fast.
– leg room in 2nd class On the trains is only 1 cm less. the only other difference is you don’t get complimentary beverages and airplane snacks.
– pecorino cheese in fresh, medium and old varieties with white wine and fruit sauce as an appetizer.
– soup served after a pasta course
– french fries served as a side vegetable in many restaurants (perhaps a concession to tourists)
Big and bigger
- everyone speaks some English with only a few exceptions, but all are good at communicating with us, often better than we are with them.
– people are polite. The only exceptions are crowding to get o
Past in lineup or on to the Vaporettos. One needs to develop a strong stance and hold your ground of ten other with push past you.today at the train station and old women sat on a bench beside us,lit up a smoke, and when I coughed, she immediately put it out.
– driving in cities is not for the freight-hearted. Most drivers, steer and text, centre lines and stop signs are only suggestions. Bus drivers, male and female turn corners and clear parked vehicles by inches and are quick to lean on the horn when drivers in front don’t pick up speed fast enough.
– There we very few traffic signals, most intersections particularly in the country, are controlled traffic circles which work exceedingly well. Cars seldom yield but everyone seems to get in and out unscathed.
– you an buy reserved train tickets in advance, but the seats you selected. may not be what you’re given. Seat numbering is a bit ad-hoc and not always sequential. Departure and arrival platforms are not posted often until 5–10 minutes before departure and you must validate your ticket in a machine or risk a 100 euro fine.
– many people smoke, but you don’t see litter on the streets. Garbage pickup and recycling are done daily in the cities.
– italians appear to be very tolerant of visitors, but I’ve gotten really tired of (mostly) Americans complaining about the way things are done in Italy. I’ve heard people gripe about the coffee, the size of the portions of food, the transportation systems, the way toilets work. To my mind,theItalians have much better systems for dealing with consumption, transportation, insane levels of visitation, diet, and life in general than any north american ones. One surprise is discovering how familiar Italian groceries and delicatessens are. Having lived in Vancouver for so long, there were few differences to be found here. Some new varieties of cheese and meets, and baked goods, but overall not that different that walking into a shop on commercial drive.
– red poppies that grow wild, like weeds, often in wheat fields.
–southern Italy is like another country, people look and act differently.
–pasta in the south is served with 5 or 6 times as much sauce as in Tuscany.
–lemons are the size of grapefruit.
- Posted from my iPad