domenica 3 maggio 2009

May Day

In Italy, unlike in the UK,  an important date is an important date. Be it the liberation of their country from fascism or the immaculate conception, Italians like to celebrate anniversaries on the proper day and as a result, a public holiday can fall on any day of the week. If that happens to be a Saturday, too bad, but if it's a Tuesday or a Thursday, you're in luck, because you can take the Monday or Friday off and make a "ponte" (bridge) to the weekend. 

This year, the 1st May fell on a Friday and so tonight is the end of a lovely long weekend.  On Friday, I had some work to do at home, so I spent the day alternating between the sofa and the bedroom, laptop in tow, until 6pm, when I finally got out of my pyjamas (yes Mum, I am a little bit ashamed!) and went out for aperitivo with Mr A.  My friend was arriving from Scotland at 8.30, so we figured we could have a drink and then get the metro to the train station to meet her off the airport bus. 

Unfortunately, when we eventually wandered to the metro station, the doors were locked. No metro. So we went to the tram stop. No tram in sight. A passer-by told us that they had stopped at 8 o'clock. Italy being Italy, and May 1st being a workers' holiday, the workers were not working and public transport was not running. I later saw a poster explaining that on May 1st, all public transport would be running not the normal service and not the Saturday, Sunday or holiday service, but a special reduced version of the holiday service. They were taking the occasion seriously. (Apparently there was also a big parade in town where they were throwing glass bottles but I was still safe at home in my pyjamas at that point.)

Luckily Mr A offered to pick my friend up from the station in the car, and to be honest the lack of transport seemed perfectly reasonable to me. I did laugh, though, when I found out that almost all the shops which are normally shut on a Sunday were open today, presumably to make up for all the trading that that they missed when their workers were on holiday.

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