|Bikers and walkers at the daily market in Piazza della Frutta, Padua|
1. No driving! I totally LOVE that I can walk everywhere I need to go. There is absolutely no need for a car here and, obviously, I am not the only one without one. Everyday I see tons of people, young and old (and very-old!), doing errands on foot or by bike -I even saw a nun on a bike last weekend! It's great exercise (almost everyone here is fit and trim), and a wonderful way to learn my way around town. Bonus: the weather has been awesome, but if it rains, you just walk under the portici (porticos).
2. Social life. When you are out walking in a small city like Padua, it is likely you will run into people you know. I don't know many people here yet, but I clearly remember that after living in Concepción, Chile, for a while (where I also walked everywhere), I would see up to 10 people I knew on my daily routes: maybe 5-6 that I recognized from some aspect of life, 2-3 that I was acquainted with through work/study, and 1-2 direct friends or colleagues. Here, I see people greeting each other on the street, and I know one day I will be so happy when I can do the same.
3. Mercati, e altre cose da mangiare (markets, and other things to eat).
|An open-air cafe in Piazza della Frutta|
Now that it's spring, all the cafes and restaurants have tables outside, so you can people-watch while you eat. As I already mentioned, gelato is a critical outdoor food. On Sunday evening, I happened to be in Piazza dei Signori, and had to wait in a huge line for gelato! It seemed like every family in Padova was out with their kids, getting gelato, walking around the piazza. I chose pistachio… Yum!
|This picture needs no explanation… I might just have to run out now to get some gelato!|