Friday, 10 May 2013

Driving like a maniac, Italy (1)

We are back in Italy! Loving every minute of our whirlwind visit. Soaking up the atmosphere, enjoying the vibe.

The difference between Switzerland and Italy is like day and night. As soon as we cross the border, we are on new but oddly familiar territory. Not only do we have to stop every four kilometers or so to pay two euro's for the privilige of driving in Italy, our fellow road users drive like suicidal maniacs.
When we hit an exeptionally busy toll station it almost feels as if we are in Mumbai. With this exeption that noone drives a Tuk-Tuk. Youngsters in shabby cars cut in ajacent lanes without even so much as a glance over their shoulder,  bus drivers leave only a finger space between their vehicles and the cars that are in the way, a woman, completely oblivious to the racket around her, reapplies her lipstick. Everyone else is either busy text messaging, or shouting, or showing their middle finger. Marvellous!
And yet, I can not stop smiling. Unafraid and honking my horn like the best of them, I cut a path through traffic. I use the emergency lane and negotiate roundabouts three, four cars abreast. Let us see who blinks first.
It is not me. I can drive as an Italian if needs be. During the three years that we lived in Bolgna  I would face crazy rush hour traffic on a daily basis. Witnessing the scraps of metal on the roads after yet another accident was sadly enough also part of daily life. And yet, there is something about the noise and unrulyness that is so much fun. Especially after quiet, quiet Switzerland where noone ever so much as raises his voice.
Long after we have comfortably installed ourselves in a hotel on the borders of lake Garda, I can still feel the adrenaline. It makes me want to go out and eat and drink like there is no tomorrow. Luckily it is completely normal to go out for dinner at ten o clock, even with children. Naturally the local gelateria is also still open and ready for business close to midnight. What a perfect ending to a petfect day spend on the Italian motorway.