Thursday, October 14, 2010

Leaving Italy…..

We got up at 4:30 this morning (Sunday) to start our trip back to Watkinsville.  The trip progressed something like this…..

- Taxi ride to Naples Train Station

- Train ride to Rome

- Another train ride to the Rome Airport

- Bus ride to Terminal Five

- Go thru passport security line

- Go thru line to check bags and get boarding passes

- Go thru security

-  Take bus to Gates

- Take bus from gate to plane

- Fly in plane to Atlanta

- Drive in car to Watkinsville

Total travel time, door to door……  20 hours

We have had a WONDERFUL seven weeks.  Michael got a chance to talk to several groups of researchers, teach a series of classes to Graduate students, complete a scientific manuscript for submission and collaborate with MANY scientists.

All of our hosts have gone out of their way to provide us with a fun and exciting Italian experience and we have appreciated that so much. 

We have found both good and bad things about the Italian way of life.

The most important thing is that they KNOW how to relax and enjoy their lives.  Meals are an event, not a quick bite in between work projects.  Waiters will not rush you and will not bring you the check until you ask for it!!!! 

Espresso is all important and will be drunk at all hours of the day and night.  Normally, it is drunk while standing up at a cafe counter.

Unfortunately, as a whole, Italians are not well standardized.  Things seem to change from  day to day, including one way streets, train schedules, prices, and the basic processes used to perform simple tasks.  This tends to lead to some confusion!!!

Italians know how to drive and how to park!!!!  They are able to park, double park and merge lanes without blinking an eye and they don’t flinch when a motorcycle or scooter pulls around them.   Some cars are equipped with side mirrors that can be remotely folded all the way in.   We even saw one small car that had doors that slid back like a van’s doors rather than opening out into traffic…..what a great idea!!!!

The countryside varies greatly from North to South as does the temperament of the people.  The Northerners are much quieter and reserved, while the people in Naples are raucous and loud.

But whatever their temperament, they were friendly, helpful and wonderful and we are so thankful for the time that we have had here with them!!!!

This has probably been the nicest long-term trip that we have ever been on and we will forever remember our 7 weeks in Italy.

Thank you for traveling with us!!!

1 comment:

maggi said...

Glad that you are home safely with such wonderful memories of your trip.

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