Padua: the city of lovers’ longest goodbyes

How many times have you found yourself wondering: “what if I had had one more minute?”

Relax, folks, this article is not about farewells, it’s about goodbyes; in particular those goodbyes which come with a kiss, or two, or a hundred.

Maybe those with thick skins never thought about it, but the most sensitive and loving among us have certainly asked themselves this question at least once in their lives.

Let’s face it: it does not matter how many times we have travelled or whether or not we got used to it, saying goodbye to those whom we care about, especially our partner, is always difficult. Imagine you don’t get enough time to do it properly. History repeats itself every single time you leave or see somebody leaving; the place is too crowded to park, so you’re forced to double park, something which involves an injection of stress (don’t even get me started on beginning your day that way!); you have to heave out the suitcases in a hurry and, when the time for goodbyes finally comes, it is usually spoilt by the terrible sound of a horn, by the imprecation of the guy whose car got stuck behind yours or, in even worse cases, by a “friendly” cop who gently intimates you to leave unless you are eager to pay the interests on your journey ticket.

In order to avoid such uncomfortable situations, one of the most significant Scandinavian inventions has just landed in Italy.

Padua. Central station. October 2013. Cameras flashing and eyes staring at a big, white sentence graved on the pavement several feet away from the terminal, stating: “Only kiss + park”.

This is the name the Paduan deputy mayor chose when conceiving the newest fast track which was created just in front of the central station. Is it preferential? Yes, but why?

Preferential because the “Only kiss + park” fast track idea was conceived specifically for those who could never have enough kisses. This innovative type of lane, which extends all the way till the very entrance of the terminal, allows its users to park, unload the trunk and say goodbye in a calm and peaceful way, before leaving space to the next “kissers”.

Giving a maximum of 15 minutes, after which abusers will be penalized, this fast track avoids making lovers look like possessed octopuses as well as avoids making moms sound like medical TV commercials, where package leaflets and side affects are spoken at breakneck speed. Of course, it also prevents traffic jams from becoming too unbearable due to people hectically trying to say goodbye.

The purpose of the Paduan deputy mayor’s project, in fact, was to lessen the growing amount of double parkers by easing the car flow in front of such an epicentre and, why not, maybe also drag a little more attention to Padua, which will soon be known by everyone as “the city of lovers’ longest goodbyes”.

Supporters of this innovative way of safeguarding the art of “saying goodbye” hope that the news will soon spread so that this idea will be applied to other Italian regions, mostly – like in Scandinavia – in front of airports, schools and harbours.

So, just for now, less kisses and more propaganda!


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