The Esselunga

Today, we went to Esselunga, the local grocery store. It was a thrill to be going back there, for a couple of reasons. For one, the trip by bus is almost all downhill and I love how fast the bus travels the route, careening around the curves. It’s a bit like riding a roller coaster, although maybe not as safe!

For another, it’s the same store I went to when I rented an apartment for five weeks last November. I remember my first trip there  – I had instructions from my landlady on how to get there, looked it up on google maps, but still, I always find that going to a place the first time seems to take forever, whether by foot, bike, public transportation or car. I kept thinking I was headed the wrong way until I saw people coming towards me with shopping bags.

What an experience that first time was! It was around noon and the place was packed. I kept going against the traffic pattern within the store because I didn’t know where anything was. Fortunately, I already knew about weighing my own produce and getting a price sticker to put on the plastic bag. I did have to buy a bag since I had only my backpack, a bag that I then passed on to my friend who moved here.

The second or third time I went, I managed to acquire a loyalty card without speaking any Italian and the people with whom I was dealing speaking little English. Goodwill and smiles got us through the transaction.

As dopey as it sounds, I guess I also liked going to the Esselunga today because it reminded me of being in Florence last year for five of the happiest weeks of my life.

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