Friday Notes #88 — Random Thoughts & Discoveries Collected During My Trip to Italy

Spending three weeks in a beautiful country like Italy is enough to collect quite a few observations.

Friday Notes #88 — Random Thoughts & Discoveries Collected During My Trip to Italy
‎⁨Portofino Yacht Marina⁩, ⁨Santuario Pelagos⁩, ⁨Portofino⁩, ⁨Nord-Ovest⁩, ⁨Italy⁩

It’s been a week since I returned from my summer vacation in Italy. It was a beautiful trip. Here is a list of observations and thoughts collected during my recent trip to Italy. Disclaimer: I’m not a travel blogger. My observations are related to the places I visited and are not a generalization in any way.

  • Italy can be overwhelmingly charming and giving. Being contemplative is the key.
  • I always felt secure everywhere, at any time.
  • Italians are way more invested in waste recycling and waste management. That being said, I’m surprised by how much water in plastic bottles they seem to consume (maybe it’s a tourist thing).
  • In many small towns or villages, you’ll find water fountains with drinkable water. No need to buy bottled water.
  • I can’t count how often I saw people on bicycles on regional roads. Always felt it was a dangerous place for biking.
  • Online restaurant reservations can be a challenge. The best way is to plan in advance, which can be a challenge too.
  • We rarely get hassled to enter a place for dinner while calmly walking the streets during dinner hours.
  • Starbucks coffee shops are non-existent (except one in Milan), and very few McDonalds. Good thing.
  • If you see someone using iMessage on the iPhone, it’s a tourist (north American) because otherwise, most people there are using WhatsApp as their messaging application.
  • Tesla cars are rare and electric cars are scarce. I failed to see one recharge station. Is the high costs of electricity production the cause?
  • Lot’s of electric scooters in the streets, though.
  • Italians are fast drivers. Bikers are even worse. They don’t seem to follow any rules.
  • Don’t settle on highways to travel inland; small country roads reserve many wonderful views and surprises.
  • Driving on Italy highways is an expansive pleasure. Highways are in top shape, but many are toll highways.
  • I get the feeling that train usage is decreasing and car usage is increasing. I had to endure a few traffic jams.
  • Didn’t see many Russians (are they too busy with their war with Ukraine?) but lots of Germans, and a few French people.
  • For the most part, gas prices seem on par with those paid in Canada. I find this surprising. I was expecting much more expensive prices.
  • I like the aperitif time where they serve some food with the drinks, which makes the experience even better.
  • Eating in restaurants is not as expensive as I was expecting. The restaurant bill is paid inside even though we used the terrace outside.
  • Using toilettes is a jack-in-the-box experience; we never know what to expect regarding toilet designs and how they work. I’ll stop here.
  • Even at the very end of the tourist season, there were a lot of people at some places. Could this indicate a shift in travelling habits to cope with higher-than-normal temperatures?
  • There are so many trails in Italy, it’s incredible. A paradise for walkers.
  • We still have to pay to go to the public restroom. At least they are always clean.
  • We probably crossed a thousand roundabouts.
  • The more I visit this country, the more I feel there is so much more to discover.
  • Europeans are tall and thin in general, Italian are no exceptions.
  • Many churches look ordinary on the outside, but inside it’s quite another story. We were often pleasantly impressed many times.
  • In most villages, it’s fascinating to see houses with closed shutters. You would think it’s because there is nobody living there, but, it’s a way of keeping the house temperature lower and more tolerable.
  • I don’t remember seeing a 5G network in any place I visited.
  • COVID-19-related restrictions are still in place in public transportation but are highly partially respected.
  • Italians are smoking more than I would like and in more places.
  • Italians are big coffee (espresso) drinkers. Taste varies quite a lot from one place to another.
  • There are dogs everywhere. Italians seem to like pets a lot. Didn’t see a lot of cats, though.
  • Graffitis are rare in a small village but are much more present in big cities like Milan.
  • Very small cars are a thing in Italy.
  • I had a chance to see a few museums, one had a collection of old marionettes used in a theatre. They look spooky and frightening.
  • Some villages use dated interactive information kiosks running a version of Windows XP. Ouch.
  • Italians love the iPhone, but Android phones too.

Don’t miss my Italy vacation photo diary.