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Published: January 30th 2020
One thing I really like to do when I’m waiting for public transport is to read the names of the other stops on my bus route and find the English translation for the Italian words I don’t know. I do this before I get on the bus, and then if the journey is boring, at each stop I can imagine why it was given a certain name, so for example one stop was called ‘mille passavanti’ which in English means ‘’a thousand passages.’
Then, when the bus stopped at ‘mille passavanti’, although the place was very non-descript I could imagine a thousand different coloured passages, some going up to the sky, some on ground level, and some going down into tunnels. I did this with every stop, and I managed to turn a 30 minute dull bus journey into a vivid coloured dream, full of twists and turns and excitement.
Some of the other stops were called ‘fortezza’ meaning fortress, ‘mulino’ meaning mill, ‘volta’ meaning vault, crypt or tomb, ‘regresso’ meaning a decline or setback, ‘piazza’ meaning square, ‘forese’ meaning countryman and ‘ospedale camerata’ meaning dormitory hospital. Of course some of these didn’t make any sense given their context, but that didn’t stop me enjoying the ride.
I knew, for example, that I was unlikely to see a tomb in the middle of a busy shopping street in Florence, between say Louis Vuitton and the Chanel store, but I would always hope though, that when a stop had a simple name such as ‘square’, that I would see a square, and then at least amidst the organised chaos of Tuscany, I would feel some feeling of certainty and common sense in this journey.
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