Friday, February 11, 2011

These Spiral Staircases Just Never End!

The Romans seem to love their spiral staircases....

It's no wonder that no one here is obese like many people are in the United States. Rarely do you even see a person who is overweight here. After my first three days in this city, I found out why.

People walk. They walk, and they walk, and then they walk some more.
Do you need groceries? Well, you walk to the "Frutta e Verdura" to get your fruits and vegetables. Then you walk to the macelliao (the butcher) to get some bistecca e prosciutto (steak and ham). Don't have a washer or dryer to do your laundry? Then you walk to the lavenderia to get your laundry. Live on the other side of the city from where you go to school? Then you walk to scuola. Is school far from work? Then you walk to lavoro (work). What if you decide to take public transportation? Then you walk to il tram o fermata dell'autobus (the tram or the bus stop). You might take the bus or the tram for a couple stops, but then you walk to your casa (house), which, chances are, is still a quarter mile from the bus stop. What if you want to go out to dinner and get a gelato afterwards? You walk to il ristaurante e la gelateria.

You walk... and that's the secret.

Back in the U.S. we have become so suburbanized and dependent on the car that we have stopped walking. Here, despite the starchy diets full of pasta and pizza and potatos and pastries, you are constantly walking and don't have to be so worried about what you eat. Not to mention that dinner is (for a typical Italian) the smallest meal of the day. Breakfast is important, and lunch is the largest meal for most people--giving everyone time to digest their food before sleeping at night. Additionally, everything here is fresh: homemade pasta and gnocchi, home grown fruits and vegetables, fresh milk and aged cheese, recently culled meats. You can be assured that the food you're purchasing at the open air market is the freshest of the fresh ingredients you could buy.

Oh, and did I mention? You have to walk to the open air market. Surprise!

At first, it took a lot of getting used to--walking everywhere and depending on public transportation in order to get places further than a half hour's walking distance. However, I've really grown to enjoy it. It makes me physically tired (but fulfilled) by the end of the day, and I've slept really well despite my (less than) comfortable bed. It has also helped me to see more of the city than I would have otherwise... not only because I've been taking the time to walk everywhere, but also because I've gotten lost more than I have ever gotten lost in my life, which has, surprisingly, been a blessing in disguise. In getting lost and walking around trying to find my way, I've found things I would have never found if I had been using a car and GPS.

Do you ever find that you've learned to appreciate the simpler things in life while traveling? Things like walking and getting lost? Do you ever feel constrained by your car or suburban home if either are part of your life?  Would you like having a life without those things, where you had to walk or take public transportation?

1 comment:

  1. I would LOVE to live without having to depend on a car all the time. The other problem here in US is that we don't have as extensive of a public transportation network as many areas in Europe. And yes, walking is probably the healthiest thing we can do - good for the waistliine, good for the heart, good for clearing the head of stress, good for putting a smile on your facce when you SEE what you're walking past, over and through! Great post, Hayley!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...