Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Italian Art of Parking - Part One

Written by Karen.

This is the first segment in a three-part story.

"It might be a little 'forbotti', but I have never had any problems. EVER!", Isabella said with extra emphasis.  I looked over at Adam, who was also trying to process the broken and rapid-fire mixture of English and Italian.  What does forbotti mean? We raised our eyebrows at each other and shrugged.  Isabella impatiently grabbed my arm and said, "Andiamo!"  Let's go!  

We had rented Isabella's apartment in downtown Genoa, Italy for five days and were now working out where to park our little Hyundai i20.  Parking is at a premium costing 2.50 euros per hour ($3.38/hour USD) in the blue parking zones between the hours of 0800 and 1900 hours. However, as I understand it, there are also free parking zones that are painted white. The secret - of course - is to know where the hidden white parking zones are. The entire population of Genoa knows where the free white parking zones are, and it seemed that Isabella was going to show us her free white parking zone.

I took pictures - instead of sprinkling bread crumbs like Hansel and Gretel - so we could remember how to get back to the apartment and drive the car to its new home for the next five days.  Across the pedestrian shopping street, dodge the multitude of weaving and high-pitched buzzing motor scooters, down an alley, up three flights of stone steps, down another street where Isabella showed us flowering capers and picked us a couple of succulent, perfectly-ripened figs from an overhead branch, up another winding pedestrian-only cobble-stoned alley, to finally a narrow secondary road that led us to one of the original walls of the City.  Along this hard-to-find, cobble-stoned street were several blue marked parking areas and one white parking area.  

"Buono", Isabella pointed her finger towards the white parking space, "For you!" "Grazie," Adam replied, "But, the parking space is painted white and yellow....white...bianco and yellow...Problema?" "No, no problema", replied Isabella, "Pronto!"

Sometimes after a long day of travel, the best option is just to go with the flow and trust that everything will work out okay.  This was going to be one of those occasions.  We pulled into the last, tiny white - and yellow - parking space and nuzzled in next to the yellow bulldozer for protection, and called it a day.   

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