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Sunday, August 3, 1997

[Brian] Today was a driving day - from Nice to Venice, about 6 hours at European speeds.

Europeans (at least the French and Italians) definitely drive faster than Americans. But the more interesting thing to me is the very high variation in speeds here. I'd say the standard deviation on a European highway is about 30 km/hr - twice that of a US highway, where only about 10% of that can be attributed to the increase in average speed. You'd think that might lead to a lot of left-lane frustration, but in fact the Europeans are really good about returning to the right lane after passing, versus the tight formation driving of the typical American (at least Washingtonian) in the passing lane.

The cities are even scarier. Not only are people going highway speeds on city streets, they seem to forget about what those dashed white lane dividers mean, and (at least in Nice) what a red light means. Add to that the constant scooters and motorcycles dodging between lanes, and cars double-parked around most corners, and it all adds up to a very interesting ride.

At the end of the day we parked the car and took a boat into Venice. I had forgotten just how beautiful Venice was. We had pasta by the grand canal and scoped out possible places to live in future lives.