I have a big thing for little cars. I don’t know what that says about me, but wherever I go in the world, there always seems to be one that takes my fancy. There I am, in a foreign country, dreaming about taking the little car on an Epic adventure. No itineraries. No Monsieur. Just me and the little car, bumping over country roads, breaking down occasionally, meeting up with owners of other little cars, just like mine, and writing about all the craziness afterwards. Maybe one day I’ll find the right little car and disappear on a Thelma and Louise type of trip, only without Louise, and without any dramatics involving a cliff and an active accelerator at the end.
Here is a little car I fell for in Melaka, as seen in my post Malaysia Part 12: In search of bound feet shoes:
And here is a little orange car that appears in the window of Arancina in Notting Hill Gate:
Here’s what it looks like inside the shop:
There’s one other little car that I met when we were in Florence last year. Once again it’s a bright yellow colour, has room for one person only (and maybe a small canine companion), and is made by a company called Pasquali, who provide the Poste Italiane with these smurf-sized cars. When I first laid eyes on this golden wonder, parked fashionably by the Arno, the Tuscan Hills beckoned loudly. Oh, the dream of jumping into the little yellow one-girl vehicle to bumble off into the countryside was vivid in my mind. At that point I didn’t realise that the Pasquali Riscio is electric and therefore would require recharging at some point… perhaps not so practical in the midst of Chiantishire.
I didn’t think I’d see my little yellow sweetheart again, but when we were in the piazza by Santa Croce there it was again, this time in action as it squeezed down an impossibly narrow alleyway with ease. The reason behind its diminutive size suddenly became clear. How else to navigate medieval Italian towns with teeny streets?
Just as I was mulling the urban practicality of such Lilliputian cars, an Ape went past. These are teeny little three-wheeled delivery vehicles that pop up all over Italy. Once again, their practicality (in ancient towns that nature never intended to admit the bulk of an SUV) makes them very popular for tradesmen and merchants alike.
Then there’s the SMART car which can squeeze into all sorts of improbable spaces. In France, they call it “une SMART”. I love the fact that in Romance languages, cars are girls. It goes part way to explaining why a (usually) sensible man I know has a photo of his BMW convertible as his mobile phone screensaver instead of his wife and kids. Need I say more?