Friday, March 27, 2009

My commute...

While I have a number of potential routes, my standard commute is about 7.5 km each way, through my neighborhood in southern Rome to my office. As you may or may not know, traffic here in Rome is absolutely hectic. At rush hour. Actually, all the time. Always. As an Italian and Roman I am used to it now, but I notice that whenever family or guests visit us from the United States (or anywhere in Europe), they are absolutely terrorized.

You see, the whole concept of heavy traffic and safety distance is different here... notice the beautiful weather (last week) and... what is normal traffic on my way to work!

Remember, there are 60-odd million of us in a country the size of a rather small American state. And a road network that was designed by Roman (as in the Roman Empire) city planner, oh, about 2-odd thousand years ago. And chariot size and traffic density is not the same as a whole lot of Fiats on the road at the same time! Which of course mean
s that things are rather tight. I read U.S. blogs trying to enforce a three foot minimum distance when passing. If I am right, that is about a meter, and let me tell you, I am shocked when I get that much distance in rush hour traffic...

In any event, I am not trying to present myself as a hero. The roads in this part of town are relatively new and modern (Mussolini's city planning, built after the war and finished for the 1960 Olympics). So I cannot complain. And, as I may have mentioned, I absolutely love the commute... it gets me to work (traffic, red lights and all) in less than 25 minutes on a slow day - about half the time it took me in a car on a good day. Combine that with the rush, and after my shower and changing into my work cl
othes, I always feel like I am getting away with something for the first few hours in the office every day!

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