I’m up early– my body’s internal clock is keeping Italian time now and it’s my turn to pay for parking, early–before the meter-readers check the cars, competing for scant parking places in a city that wears many faces.
This city is teeming with life, starting early but dwindling off earlier than some cities– earlier than New York, for instance.
There is an all night patisserie (bakery) open in our neighborhood, with free WiFi and they make a good “coffee Americano” (espresso with a side pitcher of hot water). They probably think that I can’t take it straight, but actually, I just want to make it last longer so I can linger here a spell.
It’s a remarkable combination of ancient and modern here– in the place that is famous for birthing the Renaissance. Walking among buildings that are centuries old are women walking on shoes that surely must qualify as stilts, measuring 16 cm high (nearly 6 1/4″) ! I hope they get massages.
And the Learning Curve continues:
When eating out, there is often a “cover charge”, which means if there are table cloths on the tables, you are charged for seating.
The washing machines take 4 hours to cycle. Two hours, if you hit the “rapido” button! And you might have to turn on the valve under the sink to get water into it.
Double parking is ok as is parking in any direction.
You cannot take the same bus back from the destination that you took to get there.
Watch out for locals giving you directions– they often say ” turn left”, while pointing “right”, etc.
Vespas are viewed as pedestrians and not subject to motorist laws! Have you ever seen an elderly woman talking on a cell phone while riding a bike?
It’s very helpful to have your GPS with you at all times.
This time of year, the mornings start out cool and warm up beautifully. Late September to early October is the perfect time to be here. Flowers are blooming and the temps make walking a comfortable past-time. And it’s charming to see that yeasty bread and baguettes are delivered in the morning hours–right to ther doorstep.
Today we are traveling an hour or so to Siena, deep in Tuscany , a region famous for its beautiful countryside.