Dan and Ian Wander Europe: Near-miss Bus Riot

Time for some more tales to catch you up on Italy while I’m still only one country ahead of it on the itinerary.

When tourists attack

During our time in Rome, we dealt with massive crowds at most locations, got chided by the best dressed cop I’d ever seen (the Italian police uniform is weirdly, uncomfortably formal) for drinking in public (before dark, that was apparently our mistake), and witnessed a massive anti-abortion rally that was right next to a children’s volleyball tournament, and the one time I felt actually nervous for my safety was in line for a bus.

The two busiest places in Rome appeared to be Termini Station, where we first boarded (eventually; it was a busy day in Rome) and the Vatican, where we first hopped off and attempted to hop back on. Dozens of people were attempting to board our specific bus line outside the Vatican (popular jump-off point, go figure), and the one guy left to herd us triaged the crowd into three lines: those who had yet to buy tickets were line three, lowest priority; those who had vouchers but had yet to exchange them for time-sensitive tickets were line two; and those who, like Ian and myself, had tickets and thus our 24 hours of access was counting down.

This meant that one family had been in line two for, they claimed, an hour. They were growing tired of it. Especially the father. And the man trying his best to get all of us on a bus as quickly as possible was in no mood to be yelled at. He told the mother to line up against the wall, she didn’t, he told her louder, the father yelled at him to shut up… and the yelling started in earnest. Even the calmer, college aged son got in on telling the bus employee to watch his tone. It looked for a minute like it might end in violence on this very cramped sidewalk.

Minutes later, not one but two busses pulled up. The angry family pushed to the front of the line (the front of our line, not their second-tier line) because they were done waiting and the people herder was too ready to be rid of them to put up much of a fight.

They needn’t have bothered. Every person in all three lines got on one of those two busses. But sadly patience was the only thing in short supply right then.

It probably doesn’t add anything to point out that his happened a few blocks from one of the largest religious buildings built by man. But I feel that it should.

Next time, more Italy but less Rome. Hopefully. I’m four cities behind at this point. Crap, five cities.

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