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Il grande rientro

3 Sep
3 September 2016. The deserted streets of the past month are once again full of buses, cars, and motorini. The kids with their unmuffled  POS cars wake us periodically between 23:00-01:00 as they zoom down the hill behind our bedroom and careen around the corner giving us an extra blast of over-revved engine as they pass the front of the building. (The landlady said this was a quiet street! But then she’s Italian and sleeps with the windows closed against a possible chill when it’s still 79 degrees Fahrenheit at bedtime. If we are lucky it’s a chilly 68 when we wake up.)
There were almost no car horns to be heard for the last 4 or 5 weeks, and no double-parking. So many closed businesses. This all seems like a dream as the streets are once again clogged, the impatient drivers leaning on their horns, and an open parking spot is as rare as a Lutheran church in Rome. Stores re-opened with their “New Collections” displayed: the wools, browns, and grays of the autumn wardrobe. Newstands sprang back to life with fresh magazines in stock and the florists are once again oases of color on many street corners.
End of summer

Beaches will be empty soon. And delightful for those not into the usual cheek-by-jowl beach scene.

This, my friends, is Il Grande Rientro: The return to reality as thousands upon thousands of Romans give up their beach chairs and umbrellas and head back to work. School won’t start for another week-or-so, and that will add another layer of congestion back as each child is accompanied to the door of the nearby elementary school by a parent or nanny.
In every store and restaurant you are asked “Comè andata la Sua vacanza?” (How was your vacation?) Or perhaps “Dovè siete andati in ferie?” (Where did you go on holiday?)
So many people go away in August. SO MANY. Apartments are shuttered, entire apartment buildings have no windows lit at night, and renovation work continues day-and-night as contractors struggle to complete work while the owners are on holiday. I cannot do justice to describe what it is like to experience this thing. It is a phenomenon one has to live through to believe.
The great return even gets news coverage due to the crowded autostrada.

The great return even gets news coverage due to the crowded autostrada.

Then on Monday it was like a switch was thrown and the city was refilled from a firehose full of cars and people. And apparently this rientro is quite traumatic for the Italian who have been away for four weeks. There are articles about how to make it less stressful, what to eat (digestion being top-of-mind) to ensure a healthy return. Some sources offer practical and pragmatic tips. Others, like the Corriere della Sera, offer a lighthearted approach in 10 dishes to console yourself with at the end of vacation, including gelato, pizza, chocolate cake, and a Mumbai burger. It’s a funny piece.
Soon this will all seem normal. It’s the sudden onset that is so shocking. Just as things are heating up even more next week with schools coming online, we will escape to the U.K. for our next adventure. I’ll write to you from the road. Until then ben rientro!
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8 Responses to “Il grande rientro”

  1. Justice Tower September 4, 2016 at 16:45 #

    We will soon have our rientro back in Italy, after 8 months away. Have fun in UK. Write about the Brexit. I’ll miss your blog’s of Italy once you set foot on Portland.

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  2. Chloe Erkenbrecher September 4, 2016 at 08:40 #

    The same thing occurs here in August. That is the best month to visit Paris as it is relatively empty.

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    • GoodDayRome September 4, 2016 at 09:17 #

      You’ve had it hot, too, hotter than usual this year? For all my whining, Rome’s temps haven’t been horrible. Lucky us, it was worse while we were in Ortisei. I think 34 was the highest high in August here, and that was only once. We’ll be in Paris next week Wed-Sun! Looks to be warm but not awful.

      Like

  3. ckleonard September 3, 2016 at 23:31 #

    Have a great visit in the UK. Sounds like the right time for you to leave Rome for a while! What is a Mumbar burger?

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    • GoodDayRome September 4, 2016 at 07:06 #

      The Mumbai Burger is one of the funnier things in that article. If you click on the link and pop through the photos, it is the 7th item and it is vegan. The actual recipe in English is here http://www.kraut-kopf.de/recipe/mumbai-burger/?lang=en. They are kind of funny as each dish is prescribed for a particular “symptom” of the re-entry, in this case for “distressed vegans” post vacation.

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      • ckleonard September 4, 2016 at 17:24 #

        Thank you! After reading the article, I will continue to enjoy Skyline cheese burgers as my comfort food!! :o)

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  4. GoodDayRome September 3, 2016 at 17:26 #

    Good Lord! Hurricane avoided, earthquake encountered! I have heard OK can get rocked, but it’s never (?) catastrophic. I hope. May your travels go more smoothly the rest of the way home! See you soon-ish!

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  5. Marcia Kakiuchi September 3, 2016 at 17:23 #

    I was smiling at the list of foods to eat making re-entry less stressful. I had never heard of a Mumbai burger so had to look that one up!

    We are in the middle of Kansas just leaving Oklahoma and guess what! We had a 5.6 earthquake this morning. Yep. Here in the middle of the great USA🌟

    Glad we missed hurricane Hermine in Florida by two days. It did a lot of damage.

    Onto Cheyenne Wy for overnight.

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