Sunday, May 17, 2015

Italy and Switzerland

  1. Cannoli is delicious. The pasta is great. The pizza is really not.
  2. Italians seem to be even more dedicated to honing their chimney impersonations than the Germans.
  3. Leonardo da Vinci is such a genius. A museum of models of his various ridiculous inventions that I randomly stumbled on was fantastic.
  4. Milan is nice but maybe you have to enjoy art more than I do to appreciate it. It's pretty limited otherwise.
  5. Italy is substantially behind northern Europe in terms of English fluency.
  6. But Italian is surprisingly decipherable based on Spanish.
  7. "Bars" are combinations of little bars and cafes and convenience stores. Newsstands are exclusively news stands and I have no idea how they're still in business.
  8. Happy hour in Italy is the best thing ever. Buy one drink and get a free buffet of a ton of different kinds of snacks/hors d'oevres, more than enough to substitute for dinner.
  9. Unfortunately, Italians (not individually, but in crowds) are quite rude. I'd think they'd never heard of a line, but at the Expo there were plenty of disregarded instructions to please line up more orderly. And if you give an inch, someone will forcefully shoulder their way in front of you. I literally stood at a cash register, maybe a foot from the counter, and two people in turn stepped directly in front of me and ordered before I could. I hadn't even hesitated, it was just like I wasn't there at all. And they certainly don't wait for people to get off the train before shoving on, or get out of the way for anyone in any context for that matter. And on the tram I only ever saw one person actually tap their fare card. I now understand why my Italian grad school professor (Stefano DellaVigna) marveled that carpool lanes are actually respected in the U.S.
  10. The World Expo is quite a spectacle. Quite a coincidence I happened to be here at the start of it; Since reading The Devil in the White City I've wanted to go to one but thought it was in Torino this year. It's certainly nothing like it once was, though.


  1. It's like Germany, but prettier and more expensive.
I should really write about Haiti and the Philippines. I'm now a year late on the former.


JohnRaymond said...

That Italian rudeness is rather shocking to the mindset that a culture that values fine art and music so much would have some carry-over into their personal, everyday lives. But maybe the fine art and music is all in the past and thus no carry-over.

Anonymous said...

They'll race you for the right of way through a roundabout, too.
The trick is to wear sunglasses s they can not see the look of horror in your eyes that Indicates
you'll let them go ahead of you. ;)

Vera L. te Velde said...

I hope not to have to test this :)

Vera L. te Velde said...

I'm not sure I understand the connection between art and certain norms?