The Vespa ballet, Wednesday 7/20

We are in Rome, staying at the hotel Rosetta.  The Coliseum is about 500 meters from our hotel, it is really a prime location.  Yesterday we went to St. Peter’s cathedral, Vatican museum, and the Sistine chapel.  Very awe-inspiring to say the least, and I’m hoping the kids will blog on the details about that.

What I want to talk about is what I call the Vespa ballet.  I’m always the first one up every morning.  So while everyone else is  sleeping I like to go out on the town and watch what transpires.  I am absolutely intrigued by the traffic here in Rome.  Everyone told us before that it would be insane to try to drive here.  It might be, but it is a beautiful thing to watch.  Vespa is a brand of motorscooter. Vespa is to motor scooters what Kleenex is to facial tissues; the scooter may be made by Honda, Pugeot or Suzuki but everyone calls them “Vespas”.  Vespa drivers range from teenagers to elderly   They are all fearless, and they interact with the cars and buses in such a way that it is a beautiful thing to watch.  Cars are used as shields as they turn into traffic.  The center of the road is “their lane” as they fearlessly ride within inches of oncoming traffic.  They whip around huge city buses and get in front of them at stop lights because they can accelerate quickly.  I’m very impressed with the skill level of these scooter drivers.  Ironically, as I’m dictating this blog, a fellow came down into the courtyard, put a full size suitcase in the foot rest gap between the handle bars and the seat.  He draped his legs over the suitcase to hold it in place, and off he went.  That’s very typical.  You see people with all their groceries clamped between their legs.  It is an amazing thing to watch.  I am throughly entertained by it.

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