Italy by Number

I have so many thoughts to share stemming from my two and a half weeks in Europe. My route was
Flight to Zurich→
Train to Innsbruck→
Car share to Bressanone→
On foot across the Dolomites to Cortina d’Ampezzo→
Bus to Venice→
Rental car to Padua→Verona→Bergamo→Milan→
Train and kayak to Bellagio→
Car share to Zurich
with a lot of little stops in between. Everything I saw was stimulating and new, and I took dozens and dozens of pages of notes. Since most of that time was spent in northern Italy, let’s kick off the onslaught of upcoming blog posts with a lighthearted comparison of Italy and Boulder.



Number of Nights I Stayed In… Italy Boulder
My own personal chambers in a palace 2  0
An old country farmhouse 2 Always! That’s what I live in, though it’s not quite the villa I enjoyed in Italy.
A hut on a mountain pass 4 0, although this is possible in Colorado, minus all the beer and amazing food you get served in the ones in Italy.



Number of Times I Saw… Italy Boulder
An animal that could kill me in seconds 0 2
Bowls of water set outside shops for passing dogs 1 Every day
Dogs wearing harnesses (as opposed to leashes) > 90% < 20%
Dogs sitting inside restaurants (in the building, not on a patio) with their owners or walking around inside shops Often Rarely


Clothes and Style

Number of Times I Saw… Italy Boulder
Man buns 3 Every day
Garishly patterned leggings/yoga pants/athleisure clothes (not counting my own) 1 (not counting at the airport terminal where all the Americans were waiting to go home) Multiple times a day, generally not in conjunction with going to the gym
Rompers Too often (I prefer to think these were all American tourists who have been misled into think that it’s OK to dress like a four-year-old in public) Even more often


 Food and Drink


Number of Times I… Italy Boulder
Gained a pound from eating pasta or chocolate croissants 30 (though I always sweated it off the next day) 0
Saw a craft beer selection in a retail store 1 All the beer!
Saw craft cocktails on a menu 1 All the drink menus!
Spent $30 on a glass of champagne 1 (Venice rooftop bar, had to happen) In Boulder? I don’t think so.
Was pleasantly overwhelmed by the glut of inexpensive prosecco or wine options Many Never
Bought a bottle of prosecco for takeout at a pizza parlor 3 Why can’t we do this here?
Got served tapas with my alcoholic beverage or biscotti with my espresso 50% Why don’t we do this here?
Saw hikers using a bladder of water 0 (I know it’s not as dry there as it is in Colorado, but the lack of water used for hiking baffled me.) Every time I hike.
Was automatically served water when I sat down at a restaurant Never Always
Got assessed a “cover charge” to sit at a table in a restaurant, on top of the cost of the food 8 (Why is this a thing?) 0


 Bodily Fluids

Number of Times I… Italy Boulder
Snuck into the side door of a closed castle and crept around to (successfully) find a toilet to use 1 0
Used a squat toilet of the southeast Asian variety 1 0
Paid to use a toilet 4 (I spent about $10 to relieve myself in Europe, including purchasing a $5 bottle of water at a coffee shop to get the code for the bathroom, which I was followed into by four other people after I opened it, none of whom offered to chip in for the cost) 0



Number of Times I… Italy Boulder
Saw a Subaru 1 100+ each day
Saw an expensive, Italian sports car 2 (Disappointing) 2
Saw a Range Rover Every 3rd car Every 30th car
Parked in a spot I wasn’t sure was legal 3 Never
Got a ticket for parking illegally 0 0
Hitchhiked 2 0 (Do you think I want to end up molested and dead in the back of someone’s van?)
Saw passive-aggressive drivers loitering in the left lane Never Always
Spent money on a toll road Too many (I spent more on tolls in four days of driving in Italy than in the last four years in Colorado) Rarely
Almost got my car wedged in a winding, narrow alleyway within a walled city 1 Never
Saw motorcyclists wearing full leather suits Almost always Almost never
Got stuck in a roundabout, Chevy Chase style 1 (1 out of 100 ain’t bad!) 0



Number of Times I… Italy Boulder
Noticed someone yelling in a singsongy way while gesticulating wildly Not nearly enough Never
Encountered a trail runner 1 Every day
Saw people using selfie sticks I never want to see another selfie stick again 0
Heard an American tourist snap his fingers at a waiter and speak more loudly, presumably so the man could understand him better 1 time, ugh. His name was Ed Swank, that’s S-W-A-N-K, and he was from Florida and was sick of his wife dragging him around the country and he just wanted to pay the check, dammit!  0
Saw panhandlers Not in the tourist areas, seldom elsewhere All the time, same people, same street corners
Was impressed by mamas and papas pushing baby strollers up steep hills on the mountainsides while out for a Sunday afternoon family walk Several dozen Never, though I have seen some badass little kids climbing 14ers



Number of Times I… Italy Boulder
Inhaled secondhand smoke I’m pretty sure I have lung cancer now. I’m pretty sure smoking is illegal within Boulder city limits.
Sat outside at a café in a piazza pretending to be a famous writer working on my next novel A dozen Never
Risked frostbite in August while hiking Never More than once
Saw a sign forbidding taking photos in a grocery store 1 (Why?) Never
Walked past a pot shop Never, though the green neon pharmacy crosses had me wondering more than once Every day
Had to input a WiFi password so complex the NSA couldn’t crack it Too many Never
Was awestruck Dozens and dozens Only when I get out of town and head to the mountains


5 thoughts on “Italy by Number

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