Marty’s photo of the day #2750: While in Italy, I spent quite a bit of time comparing and contrasting the country to the United States. Over all, the list in my mind was quite equal. For instance, I found the driving there similar to driving in highly populated areas of the United States. Italy is infamous for aggressive and rude drivers, but if you’ve driven in Atlanta, New York City, or practically anywhere in New Jersey, the experience is virtually identical.

On the positive side for Italy, is that its people are much more physically fit than Americans. Since I was there in the off-season, I saw very few Americans and quite literally did not see an Italian under the age of 50 who was overweight. Italians walk a lot more than Americans do and they eat more foods made from natural, unprocessed ingredients. Even though I was in several large cities, I only saw one McDonalds and two Burger Kings. Local restaurants still rule in Italy. Once I boarded my flights back to the United States and started seeing Americans again, the high percentage of obese people was undeniable.

On the negative side for Italy, was that even during the off-season crowds were difficult to escape and the locals told us horror stories off how packed the cities get when the tourists arrive in droves. I used to live in Minneapolis, so I’ve experienced big city life, but coming back to Montana, with its sparse population, released the tension.

I’ll have more compare and contrast comments in future posts. In the meantime, here’s a photo of a Eurasian coot that I took during our last day in Italy. Deb and I spent a delightful afternoon in Angera, walking along Lake Maggiore. With very few tourists, the town and its flocks of waterfowl were just delightful.