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Italy – Car Wars

After this trip I am certain that Luke Skywalker was an Italian taxi driver.  Remember those scenes in the films where he races his rocket, weaving through boulders and debris, or tips it on its side to squeeze through a seemingly impossible space at high speed?  All of that was impressive and made for some jaw-clenching moments; but he has nothing on the cabbies I have ridden with in the last two weeks!

Those men and women (yes there are definitely women driving cabs in Italy) are amazing.  They can thread their way through streets packed with cars weaving in and through spaces that weren’t there a moment before.  To me, Italian streets looked like utter chaos.  There were no “lanes” per se; there was just space; and not much of it.  Trucks, buses, scooters, and tiny cars crowded together in a mad rush to get somewhere.  Everyone seemed to be focused on only one thing, getting “there” before anyone else.

I have seen the cabbies plunge into steep, tiny streets that were obviously designed for pedestrians and, maybe a donkey or two.  They did not flinch at spaces so narrow that I swore the cab would not fit.  Not only that, but they would barely slow down as they made right angle turns back and forth from one alley to another.

At first, I held my breath in those situations.  All my sensors were on high alert and I wanted to shout “hey look out!”  By the end of the trip I learned to “trust the force” (probably the local saint).  I relaxed, sat back and watched in awe, confident they knew what they were doing and certain I could never learn to do it.


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