1. I was surprised by the number of people I saw smoking. More young people than middle aged were smoking and more women, than I would have expected. It's really rare to see people openly smoking in Toronto.
2. The resistance to taking credit cards was surprising. I almost never carry much cash and I really resent people who expect me to pay in cash.
3. Credit cards worked at the ATMs, which in turn always worked for us, though I am told that sometimes they work and sometimes they don't.
4. Debit cards never worked. My son's didn't and we were behind a number of frustrated tourists who were trying to use them at ATMs.
|Textures in Rome|
5. The number of people in their 50s, 60s and maybe older who were out hiking on very difficult trails in full gear was awesome!
6. Unfortunately too many of these hikers looked their age or older. I have always thought that if you do a lot of exercise and get out doors, you should somehow look refreshed. They didn't. "Say not that the struggle naught availeth!"
7. There were an amazing number of people old and young riding bicycles. The bikes weren't new or fancy, they were a mode of transportation that was obviously embraced.
|Steps down and up to our place in Rome|
8. I was amazed at the number of restaurants every where. Eating out is not cheap, but the restaurants were full. I know we were in tourist areas, but really.
9. The lack of emphasis on washroom facilities was noted!! There was usually one door which everyone entered. One stall was for men and the other for women. Some things never change.
10. The emphasis on security was a concern. Our flat in Rome had the most complicated locking system. You turned the key 4 times, each time releasing one of four bolts. Then you pressed a button to activate an electric lock. In our other flat we had to roll down the outside metal "shades" every time we left the place. Most of the shops have corrugated metal "blinds" that roll down and lock, so there is no window shopping at night and the graffiti on the corrugate creates the feeling of an instant slum, even in the better areas.
11. The skill with which crowds were channeled and directed was impressive. With so many famous sights, crowd control is critical. However, directions were very clear, people were polite, patient and everyone moved forward in a timely fashion.
12. Crowding on public transportation was everywhere. Our shuttle to the airport on the last day was late in arriving and late in leaving. It was packed. The problem was a sticky door, so all doors were opened and closed many times. Every time the doors opened more people squeezed on with luggage, however when one woman tried to get on with a child in a stroller, we collectively screamed "NO." The buses were just as bad and I'm sure the subway was too at rush hour.
13. English is Italy's second language. All public announcements were given in Italian first and then English. It really didn't matter though because you couldn't hear either over the din. :)
My husband gets to pick the next place, after we have paid off this trip and fixed some major repairs on the house. Don't know when, don't know where. I'm just so glad I had this one!!