Now that I am back home I can begin to reflect on “The Italian Experience.” In retrospect, the vacation/trip was terrific, dotted with episodes of frustration, jockeying six opinions and learning to get along.
Sometimes I became upset with Alanâ€™s concerns for the others, ignoring my suggestions to go out early, rest after lunch, and then do something in the evening.Â But, in the end, we worked out the kinks to have a memorable trip.
I also made a list of the similaritiesÂ and differences between Italy & the USA in terms of service, based on my personal observations:
- In the more modern hotels lights in the hotel room go off automatically unless you slide your card key in the slot inside the door. Also, the bathroom lights go off and on by sensors, which is more common in America.
- Each public bathroom has different combinations of flushing the toilet, and washing and drying hands, same as America: no consistency. There can be an automatic flush but not automatic release of paper towels. For ex., I never know when I should manually turn on the water or wave my hands in front of the towel dispenser.
On the right is one typical flush mechanism behind the toilet. The larger portion on the left allows more water for flushing and the one on the right is for less water, depending on your needs. Good way to conserve water, I think.
- Dishes come out of the kitchen as they are made, with no concern that two people are serves and the rest are not until later. No simultaneous serving.
This looks like my Caprese Salad at the place where my pesto pasta was sensational. Check out the beautiful tiles above the food.
- Tipping is 12%, usually automatically added to the bill (although, not always!) and not 18%, so we usually added something to our bill as an additional tip/
- Waiters seem to be in more high regard in Italy. In some cases, like St. Markâ€™s Square, they wore white dinner jackets and ties.
Marco was the maitre d’ of the restaurant in Tivoli. He was a character, but always put service first!
- Bus seats sometimes face backward so passengers are not facing the front of the bus when you are in it. There are sometimes only single file seats and driver sometimes sits in an enclosed space (for safety?)
- Italians love gelato! They also take their time to eat, making it a social affair and time of relaxation. Waiters often do not bring the check until you ask them a couple of times
- Hanging laundry from balconies, on patios, or over railings is much more common in Italy than here. I took 70 pictures of laundry and hope to write an article about laundry lines in Italy to submit to a magazine. Here are three of my favorites:
Finally, my last picture is of my husband Alan, who was our travel agent, our tour guide and our fearless driver! Thanks for a memorable tour of Italy.Â Also, he was the one who came running into the living room one night months before our trip exclaiming, “I can’t find a room in Rome,” so he also is the person behind the title of my journal.