Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Living in Italy: Walking and Biking
We're car-culture thoroughbreds. You would think that the thought of being car-less for 9 months would have been a scary one.
We were excited at the freedom of not having a car. (Freedom? What?) Yes. Gas. Parking. Registration. Traffic lights. Car seat.
The scarier thought for me is driving in Italy. Mike said it best when he pointed out, "The Italians don't slow down, they just stop." It's true. You step out on a crosswalk and the cars barrel towards you, but they always stop. Just abruptly.
Living in centro has its perks. Everything is close enough to walk to. That being said, it has its disadvantages because everything is close enough to walk to. So you walk everywhere. And sometimes errands take hours. Like three errands take hours. Because you have a 20 minute walk between each errand. On some days, I love this. On others, I wish I was warm in a car and Ada was asleep in her car seat (and then I remember lugging around said car seat in and out of the car and in and out of stores and I quickly find myself blessing our carlessness again).
We also bike quite a bit. Mike and I almost exclusively bike to and from the University. And we (almost) always bike to church. If Mike runs to the store, it's usually on his bike. If he goes to scout out a good bread shop, he takes his bike. I've loved having them here. To most places in and near the center, they're faster (and less crowded) than the buses. The rain is the only thing that stops us. Ada's not so keen on it.
Some people thought that it might be frightening to ride in a city positively buzzing motorini, cars and buses. Truth be told, I feel safer here than in Provo. People are more aware here. They actually look for pedestrians and bikers and motorists and everything else.
Don't get me wrong, the streets are absolute chaos—organized chaos, but chaos nonetheless. They are narrow and winding, bumpy, and traffic rules are less rules and more like guidelines. But I love it. I feel truly Italian when I'm on my bike. People ride with their kids everywhere and I really think riding along with us is one of Ada's favorite things to do.
For the few places we go outside walking and biking distance, we take the bus. Or if it's really, really outside, we prendiamo un treno.
Want more of our day-to-day routine?
Living in Italy Part 1: Laundry
Living in Italy Part 2: Dishes