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Posts Tagged ‘autostrada’

OH MY GOD SLOW DOWN!!!

Will we ever get to the town of Amalfi? We’ve been up the road and round and round ….

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The Never-Ending Road

The road in and out of Amalfi is just one one roller coaster thrill ride and so is this blog post because my photos  and anecdotes are from both the trip up the mountain to go down the mountain to the town and shore and then back up the mountain to go down the mountain to get back on the autostrada to get home.  Now wasn’t that clear?  So here we are going up or maybe down, either way we are going way too fast for me but not for my son, (leave the driving to me), Joel.  You see those arrows along side the road ?

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Pointing The Way To Certain Disaster

I thought a normal person would have taken those as a warning sign! Wouldn’t you? You have no idea;  It was Saturday afternoon and every daredevil, high level testosterone, macho man on a motorcycle was out on his loud screeching bike or very Italian Vespa with requisite chick on the back and they were passing cars on the left and the right and on a curve. Holy cow !  Even my seasoned California canyon Uber driver was in awe! These people are crazy!

OK well Joel has a motorcycle himself, so he knew the bike riders were a nutty bunch but he had never seen a car pass another car in bumper to bumper traffic on a curve!!  How did the driver know someone would let him?  And he didn’t anticipate the three motorcycles coming around the same curve in the opposite lane!  My God this is so nerve-wracking.

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Plenty Of Room To Pass

Believe it or not we actually made it into town, had a lovely dinner overlooking the shore.  Funny thing, there was no sand, nada, niente , none!

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Black Stone Beach

And from way down there, this is what it looked like way up there,

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Just Try To Check In There

We we’re losing light quickly and were a looonnnggg way from home.  I dreaded the trip back up the mountain and down and with good reason.  Joel was always saying, “Mom take a picture of that down there”.  Oh sure, I was holding onto the arm rest for dear life and working the brake on the passenger side, you know the one  that isn’t there!

BUT I did decide to take some video as we were making our way off the mountain….       BUCKLE UP YOUR SEAT BELTS PLEASE!!

 

 

AND that was just the beginning….my foot was already aching.  How long was it going to take to get the hell off this road?

Seeing is believing…. This last video shows just how crazy Italian drivers are!  My sage advice: “ Do not let your daughter date an Italian with a motorcycle”

We lived to tell the story another day but it took us hours to get home.  It seems Abigail had a penchant for Avellino- East Avellino, West Avellino.  Then somehow, someway we found ourselves in a town that was celebrating (oh yeah it was Saturday night), and on a one way street heading down, down, down. It was narrow and it looked like we might be near water.  It was dark and I felt like we were driving down into some riverfront late at night – not a good feeling.  Finally at the bottom, it looked like if you kept going and bore left, we might just get out of there – so we did. Turns out we had detoured ourselves into Salerno?! I’m sure Abigail,was behind this mistake.

IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL DAY!

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

 

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20180519_182915.jpgA QUICK TRIP TO THE AMALFI COAST

 

It was one of those bright,sunny Southern Italian days and it was already noon.  Joel was a bit restless, it was one of those days he was itching to go somewhere.  So I said, “Let’s go to the Amalfi Coast”.  And we were off.

On a suggestion from Raffaele, I proposed we drive to Sorrento via the autostrada and drive north up the coast.  Well it sounded like a good idea.  Tuning our trusty GPS ( I mean unworthy, who we named Abigail because she is a British bitch who sends us into olive orchards, vineyards and even in circles), for Sorrento and we hit the road heading south.

Everything seemed to be going along ok until we got on the autostrada.  Something happens to men driving on that road; Their heartbeat picks up, the adrenaline kicks in and their testerone skyrockets!  Normally placid easy-going men turn into crazy wannabe race car drivers,

The autostrada holds special appeal to American male drivers, who once freed from the confines of the USA 65 mph speed limit, they just let it rip.  I tried not to look at the speedometer.  A few days earlier we had had the kilometer versus miles per hour conversation and even though I knew 100 kpm equaled about 62 mph, Joel was pushing that needle up over 100 into the teens, then the 120’s.  So it was about this time that I tried to assert some matriarchal control.  At 135 kph, I was yelling!

I was told to relax and look at the scenery, oh sure, and leave the driving to him. It was probably already about 2:00pm and I said “This is not fun, there’s nothing enjoyable about driving at breakneck speed for hours”,  We need a new plan, “Let’s go to the town of Amalfi, it’s nearby and it’s on the coast and it’s getting late”.

We followed the signs and Abigail’s suggestions and soon we were off the speedway and making our way towards Amalfi. The inherent beauty of Italy is that it is different in every region.  No longer in the mountains of Campania, we were now traveling through what clearly looked like the fabled monied coast.

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We’re Not In Kansas Anymore

It was hard to tell where we actually were but every now and then I would ask Joel to slow down so I could quickly snap a photo of a passing town or scape.  I noticed the spire of the church to have that same Middle Eastern influence in the tile pattern.

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Somewhere in Southern Italy

We were traveling through a postcard; Yes the Amalfi Coast looks exactly like all the photos, movies, postcards you’ve seen.  All throughout Italy,  I’ve been entranced by the sight of a village nestled into the side of a mountain or tucked into a valley

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There Is Something Peaceful About These Villages

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Mediteranean Blue Sky

When we came upon this sight, I thought we might actually have arrived.  Oh but I was wrong!!

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We were being routed through yet another gorgeous (are we in Paradise?) town whose name I can’t remember.20180519_164211.jpg

If it weren’t for the signs I would certainly think old Abigail had sent us inland to parts unknown, but we drove on…. And then realized in the near distance there lie the jewel of the Amalfi Coast.

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The Jewel

And we were high above it, the only way is down!

To be continued…

 

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DO WE GO LEFT OR RIGHT? Gauche or Droit?

Finally I’m at the counter and luckily my agents speaks English.  Oh! Some other agent assigned our car to someone else.  No problem, she promises us a better car, an upgrade!  And to our pleasant surprise it has automatic transmission, not the standard shift we paid for,  it’s a Ford Focus.  Now we have to travel to another part of the airport that is a giant parking garage.  Following signs for Hertz, we go down and down to the lowest level in the garage.  There is a short line to enter into the Hertz office and it’s now 11:30am.  Whatever happened to my plan of arriving in Rome early in the morning, having a leisurely breakfast and then toodling off to a picturesque drive to the mountains?

We signed lots of papers and received the keys and now we just have to find the car in space 501.  You know, I have no idea what a Ford Focus looks like or any other car for that matter unless it’s a Jeep, a VW Bug or a Corvette because after those they pretty much all look alike.  Well what do you know, we found the car without too much tsuris.  I unlock the car, we load it up and get in, it’s really quite comfortable.  That’s going to be a bonus for the long ride.  Any millennial readers out there?  You’re going to love this part!

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How Do You Turn This Damn Car On?

We couldn’t start the car!!!! Yes it was a keyless starter, we figured that part out.  Peter pressed the button several times and nothing happened.  By now the car is hot, I’m hot and tired so I open the doors.  I looked all through the glove box and all the papers they gave me and I can’t find any manual.  This is JUST GREAT!  After many attempts, I suggest we find someone because this getting ridiculous.   I spied a young girl who had a name tag so I went to her and asked for her assistance and she spoke English.   She got in the car, pressed the button and the car started! Geez- us!  She then proceeded to explain about the automatic transmission settings and where the lights were WHEN I stopped her, we know how to drive, we just couldn’t start the car so what did you do?  Well, I’m sure everyone else knows, she put her foot on the brake when she pressed the button.

Let’s just get the hell out of here…. The car rental agent gave me a map to get onto the autostrada and it was  not as bad as I thought it would be, perhaps the Guardian Angel on the roof helped, although Peter denies their existence.  We are on our way!  Half the day is long gone, and we have a 3 hour trip ahead of us.  Meantime, Pasquale has been messaging me to find out if we landed and are we on our way.  We are, but when he asks me where we are, I haven’t a clue.  The journey was not as picturesque as I had hoped. I had mapped out two routes, one went south along the coast till we would have turn inland and east to reach Guardia.  That route would take a least 4 hours, so now that we are so late in leaving Rome I have to abandon the thought of stopping along the way in little seaside towns.  We are on the autostrada which is Italy’s equivalent to driving on I-95 😦 .  At least it’s sunny and clear and Peter can drive faster than if we were on I-95.  

I keep checking Dario’s hand-drawn map directing us to follow signs for Naples and to turn off when we see the signs for Caianello.  Getting closer because we’re now heading north and east.  The map isn’t so clear at this point and we have come to the end of a road.  DO WE GO LEFT OR RIGHT?   To the right, there is one sign indicating Telese, a town I knew to be close to Guardia Sanframondi from my research.  To the left, there are multiple signs for restaurants, stores etc.  I say we should to right, Peter says we should go left.  We went LEFT.  At this point, there’s nothing on Dario’s map that is either clear or that we can understand.  I turn on the GPS, a feature we have finally come to appreciate after a few trips to Florida.  OMG!!! She is SPEAKING IN ITALIAN!   Peter reminds me that there must be a way to change languages, so I locate that feature and THE ONLY OTHER LANGUAGE AVAILABLE IS FRENCH!  We’re f____d for sure.  

 fullsizeoutput_f46    NO PASSING – NO KIDDING!    fullsizeoutput_f45 WHO GOES FIRST?

The road which looked so paved and normal soon turned into gravel roads and then dirt roads.  I am frantically searching the online map to see where we are twisting and turning  and she is now spewing out directions in French (Peter’s choice).  We go à gauche, we turn maintenant (now) when she commands.  We are on roads, if you can call them that, that have the universal road sign noting that the road is only passable by one car at a time.  We are really nervous, driving in never-ending twists and turns, olive groves and cherry orchards all around us.  I think we are on someone’s land!  Although we seemed to be in the middle of nowhere, way off in the distance to the right I saw the remains of a castle and I knew it was Guardia from all the photos I looked at but the way to get there was not at all apparent.  

                                                                                                          to be continued….

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