When you close a street, you open a city
never rent a car in Europe as a matter of course: only do it if you have a specific reason. even the countryside is often highly accessible without one, and in town, the navigation and parking stresses are a continual and major nuisance.
This was encouraging, thanks for sharing. I love these photos and I wonder how America can successfully return. Is it possible? Have the people forgotten what they forgot?
I don’t consider myself especially risk-averse or prone to anxiety about driving, but looking back at all the international travel I’ve done, I realized I have never rented a car outside of the US. Some of that is the fact that I take urban vacations and want to experience the walkability of the cities I visit, plus when I’m not walking everywhere, I admittedly romanticize what I consider to be the superior public transportation options (especially train travel) in many European cities. Even when language issues make train/bus issues an adventure, there’s ultimately a good story to be gained from it.
With that said, there have been places (the Amalfi coast) where a car would have been useful, but there some anxiety does kick in regarding the nature of the roads, the extremely limited parking you described, and the willfulness of local authorities if police don’t like something you did (I come by this from having grown up driving in the Philippines and anxiously working situations involving cops seeking bribes).
In areas of Italy and France where a car was needed to visit certain locations, we instead paid a private tour service to drive us around for a few hours and provide commentary. This is pricey and not always practical, but twice we’ve had an amazing guide show us things we wouldn’t have found on our own and provide a lot of interesting insight. And the premium paid to avoid the hassle of negotiating driving/parking/navigation issues was admittedly worth it.
My current home has a very annoying driveway: from the street you can see straight down it and see the garage, but since it's a condo there's actually a second garage door to the left that's completely invisible. Since the neighbors have 2 vehicles, getting in and out requires a very careful weaving around their car on the right and the corner of the house on the left. This fact *definitely* is a major reason why I try to avoid taking the car out unless absolutely needed...