Rapallo, Italy’s Promenade is a Poetry of People

with 23 Comments

If there’s something I love about travel besides seeing a new, beautiful place, it’s observing the people living in it.

That’s one reason I prefer the smaller towns and staying in one place for an extended time. You get a feel for the community and for the humans inhabiting it. They, together with the history of an area, make your stay more interesting.

I try to capture photographs of people when they aren’t aware, not to be devious, but because people just being people is the best entertainment ever.

The people exploring Rapallo’s Lungomare Vittorio Veneto, (the street adjacent to the promenade), create poetry every evening for those of us enjoying happy hour at the Cafe Boasi/Caravaggio Cafe. Mere steps from (our) Hotel Vesuvio, after a day’s hiking, we nab a front table, have delightful drinks, and so it begins…

Happy Hour place, Cafe Boasi/Caravaggio Cafe
Happy Hour place

 

The watching of the cars attempting to park on the busy street. The vehicles have gotten larger, but neither have the roads or the parking places. They try to fit in tiny spaces while traffic whizzes by and bicycles are pedaled and vespas are scooting and people are walking.

Two of the funniest parking adventures took place on the same evening. First was a woman trying to park a Mustang-sized car in a space meant to hold a VW Beetle. While everyone watched, she went back and forth at least twelve times (yes, we would guess ahead of time how many tries it would take someone and keep track), all the while not knowing that three cars ahead, on the gentle curve, were two spaces wide open. Finally, she gave up and a man got in and tried to do better. Not so much. They called it good and a table full of locals at the next restaurant over cheered. Two minutes later, the car in front of them left!

Where they park in Rapallo, Italy
Where they park on the Vittorio Veneto

The other one was the family of four with a set of grandparents in tow in something the size of a Pathfinder. Seriously, why do you need something that big here? Oh wait, we discovered the answer when six of them rolled out with luggage galore. This man took about twelve tries to park in a large space and finally, the granddad (his father? father-in-law?) got out and started directing him. Around us, those in the know shook their heads and commented on why was this so hard for him when the space was plenty large enough. Yes, we knew what they were saying because we said it, too.

No cheering when he parked, but the next night, driver and dad were sitting next to us during Happy Hour and began critiquing everyone trying to park! This Aussie had no shame!

Travel is about the new—the location, food, history, the people, the conversations you’ll have,… Click To Tweet

One of the always best things in Italy (okay, I admit it, I seek them out everywhere I go) is watching the elderly visit with each other. I want to sit with them and learn their stories and ask why they look happy (is it from continually laughing at the tourists?) and could I buy them a coffee and talk some more?

Here are those pictures.

How was your day?

 

Crossing the street…again
Bench pressing…
Happy Hour at Cafe Boasi.
Enjoying the promenade.

Travel is about the new—whether it will be the location, the food, the history, and most certainly the people you’ll meet, the conversations you’ll have, and the lessons in life they’ll pass along.

Genoa people visiting
Including one picture from Genoa–determination

 

Next: In the Italian Riviera? Don’t skip Camogli!

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Also published on Medium.

23 Responses

  1. Catarina
    | Reply

    Europe is the cradle of civiliization. Not least Greece and Italy. To involve poetry in your discription is fitting. Have you ever lived in Italy? If not, maybe you should contemplate doing so?

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      Catarina, I’ve contemplated living in Italy during every trip I’ve taken there!
      Except, then I traveled to south Wales and fell in love with Pembrokeshire, so Italy is back to being one of my favorite vacation places.

  2. Claire Duffy
    | Reply

    Hahaha I love that parking story! I love living in old cities, but parking 21st century cars in them is quite another matter
    Claire Duffy recently posted..Linley’s BlogMy Profile

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      It’s a great chuckle, Claire! Parking is one reason I could give up owning a car!

  3. Jeri
    | Reply

    I have many people pics taken while on my travels, but the best batch is probably from the day I spent on the island of Rhodes. I’m not sure how many cruise ships had docked that day, but the main beach was packed. My telephoto lens caught so many things, especially those of the speedo variety. Later, I ate outside on the balcony of a cafe. The main square in town had a fountain tourists would stop at for a few minutes, and all manner of ethnicity and clothing styles could be seen. Many of those pictures could be used as story starters.

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      Get those stories going, Jeri! I’ll read them. Well, maybe not about the speedos. Ha ha! Telephoto is the best. Next question: wonder how many times we’ve been the subject of an I-spy picture!

  4. Suzanne Fluhr
    | Reply

    Ouch, I would so be one of the people you would all be incredulously watching trying to parallel park in a perfectly adequately sized spot. Having said that, I heartily endorse your opinion of the joys of slow travel, of being able to stay awhile and absorb the pace of life, to have the time to discover what seems to make a place tick.

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      Oh Suzanne, did I forget to note that I’m not a great parallel parker either? But knowing my (our) limitations, I simply avoid it as much as possible, choosing to walk farther from a pull-straight-into spot!

      It truly is about discovering what makes a place appeal or not appeal, doesn’t it?

  5. Chiara
    | Reply

    What a lovely post. Thank you, you brought me back to my childhood, when I often visited my grandmother in Rapallo. Even as a child I remember enjoying watching people and feeling watched in return; it wasn’t creepy, though, but oddly reassuring. Used to the company of my grandparents, it felt as all the elderly people on the benches watching me run up and down the promenade were grandfathers and granmothers looking over me.

  6. Lenie
    | Reply

    Another people post and I love it. I really enjoyed the parking stories and the cheering, what fun. And the last photo – determination – only you would see the beauty in it. It’s totally enjoyable people watching with you.
    Lenie recently posted..Salt Alert – The Hidden Sodium in FoodMy Profile

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      It’d be fun to sit on a bench beside you, Lenie, and watch the people and create stories…there are so many stories in all of us!

  7. Marquita Herald
    | Reply

    Wonderful photographs RoseMary, and I love the parking stories! I also prefer smaller towns, especially rural areas so following along on your Italian adventure is a real treat. Thanks!
    Marquita Herald recently posted..The Easy Part is Knowing What to Do. The Hard Part is Doing ItMy Profile

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      Always glad to have you on these tours with me, Marquita! I think you’ll like a couple of upcoming posts about some hikes. Yikes!

  8. Emily
    | Reply

    When you say that they create poetry, do you mean like spoken poetry performances or written poetry? As you may know, I am a big fan of writing poems myself so this really interests me.
    The parking stories are quite funny. I have seen people try to park in parking spaces that they can fit in perfectly and go back and forth so many times as you had observed!
    Emily recently posted..No More Excuses: 8 Free Tools to Help You Blog ConsistentlyMy Profile

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      Emily, I mean that the people living their daily lives is very much like poetry in motion. There truly is a grace to what we observed.
      Except for the parking…by tourists!

  9. Erica
    | Reply

    I haven’t traveled in my life like you have. But whenever I go someplace new, I love watching the locals. And I hear you about the oversized cars in the teeny tiny spots. That exists so much where I live. I’ve seen monster trucks wedged into compact car spaces. And a lot of the people with these huge cars don’t even have families so I’m not sure what they need all this space for.
    Erica recently posted..A Non-Toxic, Natural, Beauty RegimenMy Profile

  10. William Rusho
    | Reply

    Another great post about Italy. It is really an awesome place. I am totally jealous, here it has not stopped raining in the last month.
    Thanks for sharing and giving me a view of a country I hope to visit someday.

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      William, I know you will get to Italy and you’ll like it so much, maybe you’ll stay! With your love of history, it truly is a remarkable place to visit.

  11. Phoenicia
    | Reply

    Rose Mary- I too like to people watch especially when on holiday. When abroad, I soak up everything about the country. It is an experience that you just cannot explain to a person who does not like travelling.

    I adore your photographs of the locals just going about their everyday lives. The backgrounds look picturesque!

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      You’re spot on, Phoenicia. To someone who doesn’t like to travel, this post wouldn’t be very appealing. You have to want to indulge in watching people and, perhaps, creating mini stories about what’s going on with them. As they may be about you.

  12. Doreen Pendgracs
    | Reply

    Such a fun post, Rose! I totally agree with you. Smaller towns offer such a richer and more authentic experience. Thx for sharing yours in Rapallo, Italy.
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted..best hotels in Hershey, PennsylvaniaMy Profile

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      Having just returned from some small towns in the western USA, I can say again how much the smaller places are my favorites to visit.

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