Guac Magazine
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Guac Magazine

The Bicycle Effect

By Parker Piccolo Hill

Spontaneity is a very important part of travel. It is also a highly contested part of travel. Many people trust in itineraries and tours. I, however, believe that the best adventures often come from unexpected events. We have all heard it: if a butterfly flaps its wings in China, six weeks later there is a hurricane in Bali. Random occurrences while traveling can often lead to happy finds.

Once, in Bergamo, my family and I were walking down the street when my brother reached out and touched a bike. He was at the age where boys are wont to touch everything they possibly can. Every shop window in Italy probably had his grubby fingerprints on it. Besides the obvious germ issue, there had not been any complications from this compulsion, but on this day, there was some force at hand that decided it wanted to give my brother the strength of a thousand men. He touched one bike, and BAM! The entire long rack of bikes and Vespas fell right over.

Photo by Michal Matlon on Unsplash

They say there are three responses to stress events. Fight, flight, or freeze.

At that moment, the Vespa collection seemingly of the whole of Italy on the ground, my entire family collectively agreed: flight!

We walked quickly away, taking as many back alleys and tiny streets as we could to get farther and farther from the scene of the crime.

On our journey, we stumbled across a tiny little restaurant. It was run by a small family and had almost no signage to mark it as a restaurant. Starved and seeking refuge from our imagined sins, we sat at a table outside. That tiny restaurant had the best lasagna I have ever had. Hearty, meaty, with a creamy Bechamel sauce that coated the roof of my mouth.

I count that day as a win. Sure, there may have been some angry bikers somewhere, but I had a delicious meal in a cute back alley.

When events like these happen — a wrong turn, a missed bus, a petty crime — it is best to go with the flow. It is the Bicycle Effect! If a bicycle falls in Italy, one family will find a delicious restaurant.

About the Author: Parker Piccolo Hill is a freshman from Westchester, New York, thinking of double majoring in English and Italian. One of her favorite travel destinations is Switzerland because of the contrast, yet easy accessibility, between the historic cities and beautiful countryside. The chocolate doesn’t hurt either!

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