19. Italy

3 Nov

So I arrived in Naples Italy at 10:00 on Saturday morning on an EasyJet flight from Berlin and when I exited the airport I was hit with a few amps of culture shock. There’s quite a difference going from a landlocked northern European city to a large Mediterranean coastal seaport. Or so I thought there was.

Don't forget - It's the culture Amps that kill you, not the culture Volts.

Don’t forget – It’s the culture Amps that kill you, not the culture Volts.

If one were to summarize each city with stereotype word-pair it would probably be “organized / chaotic”. But after spending a day here, I’m thinking now that both places are organized, but only in different ways.

Most of Germany is set up so that a person with no smartphone and no familiarity with the country or the language can step out of the airport and basically get anywhere using the public transportation. It’s a self-learning system (like SkyNet). In Italy you can get just as many places but you need to first figure out the logic of their system.

For example, in Germany the posted city bus routes are personalized for each individual bus stop. There will be a list (usually in a column) of all the stops on the route where the preceding stops are greyed out, the current stop is clearly marked, and the proceeding stops are bolded. It’s very easy to see where you are relative to your destination.

Here in Naples, the route stops are also posted but an identical list is used at each stop. It’s up to the user to take the current stop name (also posted) and find it on the list and then figure out the rest of the route. This system does have its advantages, the main one is the reduced cost of making the signs.

I prefer the German system (no surprise there) but the Naples one worked in a pinch.

I prefer the German system (no surprise there) but the Naples one worked in a pinch.

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