Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Another Italian driver rant...

I will never tire of complaining about Italian drivers.  Riding to work on the bike everyday is not going to help this problem.   However I feel the need to relate a story from this morning.  I was approaching the worst intersection of my short trip to work. I would gladly double the length of my ride uphill both ways to go around it but there is not another way.    I really hate this intersection partly because there is absolutely no way to avoid it and second because it’s a rough left turn as I’ll explain.  

So let me explain the intersection.  There is nothing on my right and I need to turn left and there’s actually 2 left turns as there are 2 small streets that insect at practically the same spot but at different angles.  The oncoming traffic is coming downhill around a sharp curve.  Of course Italian drivers love to descend this turn at a ridiculous velocity and never once entertain the idea that they can’t see around the bend.  Plus people like to park “temporarily” right in the curve so the on coming traffic has even more trouble making the turn.  So you have on coming traffic flying around a blind curve and 2 small streets where people are trying to pull out from different angles onto the busier street that I’m on.

So this morning I approach the intersection and I see that a car ahead is stopped trying to make a left turn (at this point I don’t know which street he’s turning down).  This is good because it assures me that there is space for me to wait my chance to turn left also.  Unfortunately for him he’s trying to go down the second small street (not the one I take).  I say unfortunately because some lady has stopped to talk to someone and is COMPLETELY blocking the 2nd street.  I mean this isn’t double parked, this is in the middle of the street at practically 90 degrees to the small street with no way for anyone to enter or exit.  The guy is honking and gesturing as I ride up to a stop behind him.  She SEEMS to be trying to end her conversation and move her car but I don’t care because after a short pause I see my break in the traffic and turn left.  As I do I see another car is trying to exit the street and it too is blocked by this lady.  I can’t help but laugh at her complete disrespect for everyone else on the road.  You can’t just stop where it’s convenient for you.  I really think that Italian drivers lack any kind of respect for others.  That’s the only explanation.  I don’t think they realize that every stupid thing they do makes the roads that much more dangerous.  This lady wasn’t hurting anyone by blocking the road but what if the guy waiting to turn was hit head on by oncoming traffic.  He wouldn’t have been there if she wasn’t blocking the road.  There were plenty of chances for him to turn down his street but he’s stranded there until she moves and I know when she does move she has a good chance of surprising someone coming around the curve making things worst.  The longer he sits at that intersection trying to turn left the more possibility there is for an accident.  Of course the on coming traffic would be at fault for the accident but she’s contributing to it by not letting him clear the intersection.  There are so many little things like this every day.  One my favorite regular issues is when people park in the bus stop so the bus has to stop in the middle of the road and block ALL the traffic.  I love that one!  I blow by everyone on my bike and after I pass the bus I have the whole street to myself.  Of course the down side of this is that it just makes drivers crazier to pass buses whenever they get the chance.  You CAN’T get stuck behind a bus.  You might not have time for a coffee!!!….  Oh Italy and my love/hate relationship….. Oh and there’s always time for a coffee….


Friday, June 21, 2013

The Heat is On!

Well the weather has changed a little here lately.  The cool spring has been replaced but real summer heat.  Maybe it feels that much hotter because it arrived all at once.  I was loving the cooler weather as it was perfect for biking but I noticed that when it was cooler there was always a lot of wind.  Now that it’s hot there the wind seems to have disappeared.  I could really use a cool breeze at night to help sleep.  Anyway this weather will bring with it the obligation to go to the sea.  In all my years here I still do not feel the need to go to the sea.  I like cooling off in the sea but most of the other parts I don’t like.  The crowds, the heat, the sand, the sun, it’s like you have to run a maze of other hazards to get to the nice cool sea.  Then the water is usually too cold (at least in June) to stay in very long so you get out until the heat pushes you to go in again. Enough whining, because the weather is supposed to cool off a little next week already.

Hey I’m coming up on my 10th anniversary of moving to Italy.  Who would have thought?  My original contract was to work in Italy for 3 years but things just keep working out to where I need to stay.  Every year it was just for 1 or 2 more years.  Even now my future here is in doubt as working conditions are not ideal.  There are several layers of problems that are trying to force me out.  If you ask me what I want and I’ll say it’s easy.  Stay here and continue to work as I have been.  Let’s see if that’s possible.  In the 10 years that I’ve been here I’ve learned a lot and changed quite a bit.  I only moved once the whole time and it only up 2 floors in the same building.  I’ve always described this adventure as a roller coaster ride of emotions.  I’ve had some of the best days of my life in Brindisi and also some of the worst.  Things I never thought would happen and things I never thought I was see.


Nello waiting for the gecko.

Friday, June 07, 2013


I don't know what's so great about this new coffee bar outside my apartment. It's always packed, well at least there are always people parked all over the corner almost blocking access to my street (via Appia) going to the right in the picture below.  They must be giving coffee away!!  I say that because there's another coffee bar across the street (look in the upper left of the photo) that doesn't have near the same popularity. Bohhh!  Just a little rant today. 

Friday, May 31, 2013


Ok so here I am again saying I'm going to restart the blog. This time I mean it. Once a week I WILL write something as there is so much going on. This weekend Brindisi is opening a new park (called Cillarese) and the work along the sea in town is almost complete. Right now there is a boat show in town that is free to get into for the first time in years. I always wanted to go but it was so expensive that I always rejected the idea. Ten euros to look at boats!!  No way. This year I hope to check it out. Last night I passed through but the show was closed. Here's a photo from the other side of the port looking towards the boat show.