I’ve been in Italy for five days now and there are a few things that have really struck me about this country. They are small things that keep popping up, and have yet to cease amusing me. Firstly, the red traffic light is often bigger than the orange and green lights. I suppose this is because the Italians being crazy drivers stereotype is not ill-founded. I found the taxi ride from Rome International Airport to my hotel extremely fun, it was a bit like a roller coaster with less up and down and more side to side.
I’ve also found toilets and hotel bathrooms rather interesting. In all three of the hotels I’ve stayed at so far, there have been two toilets like devices in the bathroom. One is a normal toilet, and the other is a urinal, because apparently in Italy men can’t lift the toilet seat so they need their own toilet instead. Another thing about toilets is the flush function. In Australia the dual flush is standard. Here they have it too, but with ridiculously large buttons. The Autogrills got me though, at these super fancy petrol stations the flush is automated. Not the intelligent auto flush of Japanese toilets, but rather they are more of the kind that are liable to flush while you’re still going or not at all. Oh, and it would seem that toilets with seats are a rare breed.
This country also to have a bit of an obsession with pharmacies. I’ve seen pharmacies in all of the major cities I’ve been to, Rome, Sorrento and Florence. And what I mean by that is that I’ve seen more that one pharmacy in each of the cities. In Florence alone, while exploring the main areas I saw about five pharmacies. For something to measure this against, I’ve only seen one supermarket and even that was small.
I have to say though, all I can really think of when I try to remember these past few days is food and wine. Lots and lots of good food and wine. Sorrento and Florence are beautiful, especially at night. And I’ve found myself falling on love with shoes. Italy has nice shoes. I think I may return to Australia a convert shoe-lover.
Of course I have done and seen a lot more than what I’m telling you. In Rome, I learnt to be a gladiator. At Pompeii our tour guide thought it would be funny to show us the brothel first with all its detailed paintings and then go on to point out all the penises, I’m sorry I mean ‘symbols of fertility’, that were carved into buildings and roads. We had a pizza party in Sorrento and went wine tasting in the Tuscan countryside. Today in Florence, we learnt to tell real leather from fake and basked in the beauty of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore.
Oh, and I ate gelato.