After a few days of getting my bearings in Florence and finally getting over my jet lag, I had to start going to work, and even though I had to give up the unscheduled days of a tourist, I have gained a wonderful commute.
Living and working in a walkable old European city definitely changes my commute. I am going from being stuck in bumper-to-bumper California traffic on four-lane freeways for 30 minutes or more to a leisurely walk of a few minutes. No more worries about whether heavy traffic or an accident will endanger punctual arrival at work. Now I have much better views than a car ahead of me and a car on each side of me. No more frayed nerves because of near accidents or other drivers’ road rage.
Since the Italian mentality has a different definition of “on time” than my German/Austrian one, it also means that I usually leave the house at the time when I am supposed to be at a meeting and I am still going to be the first one there most likely. If I leave early to consider the time for my 2-3 minute walk, I am just going to be the first one there consistently (several Italians have pointed out how “German” that is of me).
In addition to saving time, I get to stroll past some of the best-known sights and meander through tiny alleys that are picturesque enough to feature as backdrop in a movie set in Tuscany. One of the best gelaterias is near my workplace, so a new ritual is to swing by and pick up a cone of gelato for the way home – I have to walk a long detour so I do not get home before I am done with my gelato since I cannot unlock my temperamental door with cone in hand . (Gelateria dei Neri; Via dei Neri, 9/11)
I have a feeling that this commute/stroll is what I will miss the most when I will leave at the end of the stay.