Hot! Primo Maggio




After an easy 15-hour flight on May 1, I returned to Italy via Milan surprisingly awake and on a beautiful spring day. It was also a national holiday. Primo Maggio is Italy’s (and Europe’s) version of Labor Day, and when it falls on a Thursday, they celebrate the same way we do – by taking Friday off for the four-day weekend.

At first I thought this was a good thing. The airport was empty and there was little traffic going into town. I would make the 11:10 train to Finale without problems. Until I realized the problem. Everyone was escaping to the beach whenever they could. The 11:10 was full and so was the 12:25. I was relegated to the 12:40 milk run – stopping in every village between here and Finale.

By 4:30, nearly 20 hours into my travel, I walked off the train to the station roundabout, smelled the sea air and watched the scooters and cars fly by. Yes, everyone was at the beach. My friend Ale picked me up in his 1956 Fiat – barely big enough for the two of us. I was tired, but there was no time to rest. It was happy hour, so we went back to his village of Borgo to stroll with his daughter, eat gelato, and wait for our other friends.

Soon, Sammi and Carlo joined us and we drove to the forest for pizza. I told them I was studying Italian, and they good-naturedly teased me to order for everyone. Finally, after 30 hours of travel, I couldn’t speak in any language. I returned to the apartment by the Ligurean sea and fell asleep.

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