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Posts Tagged ‘Telese’

So good to me.  Monday mornin’ , it was all I hoped it could be….

Peter left for Rome very early Monday morning, hitching a ride with two other expats heading out of Guardia.  Luigi (Pasquale’s father) drove the trio to Telese, the nearest town with train service.

It started out all right;  the alarm went off, he had packed the night before.  I mumbled from the bed, do you have your passport? Pills? Take a banana, I love you, make sure you close the door.  And went back to sleep.

A couple of hours later, he called in a real panic!  He didn’t have his passport, it was 90 degrees in Rome and he was soaking wet from the long walk from the Termini to the somewhat obscure hotel I had found.

What do you mean you don’t have your passport?  You heard me I don’t have it.  Well of course I said, you must have it.  However Peter claimed he searched all of his bags.  Thankfully, the desk clerk let him in so he could go to the room and search thoroughly because groping in his suitcases in the lobby was difficult.  I looked in the night stand drawers and all around the bedroom.  Now we were both in a panic!  He thought he would have to come back by train and I said, why, it’s not here!  Now I know that when I’m frantic and think I’ve lost something, I keep looking in the places where it should be and it isn’t – until it is!  While we were talking, he kept searching and there it was, tucked into a small zippered pocket he hadn’t noticed before.  Thank God, that disaster was averted.

On a lighter note, when the the trio had to change trains in Caserta, Kelly and Mike had a two page printout for their tickets and Peter had one, uh oh…. Kelly to the rescue.  He calls Pasquale (who had printed Peter’s ticket out the day before) who says, “Turn it over”! Lol.

Joel was expected to land in Naples at 7:30pm.  I had arranged for Pasquale to pick him up.  About 5:00I get a frantic call from Joel ( it’s been that kind of a day), saying he got off the plane in Milan and has no ticket to go to Naples, and the flight number on his itinerary is NOT on the departure board!  OMG 😮 So back and forth we go with: well find an Air Italy desk, there are no desks here only signs for gates, there must be maybe a sign for departures, go there where people check in, I told you I’m in a part of the terminal where there is nothing, but shops, I’m screwed. Go into a retail shop..what good is that going to do? Listen to me, go into a shop they all speak English, ask where you can get information about Air Italy! OK.  They send him to some gate where, yes the flight number was changed, guess they were keeping it a secret!  Joel sends me a text saying he is getting on plane 6:15.  I show this to Pasquale and he searches the departing flights from Milan to Naples and nothing is leaving then.  Texting Joel is futile – I think he must be on the plane already since it is now like 6:10.  Pasquale continues to search for a flight leaving Milan and I’m saying maybe we should go now so we are there when he lands.  I say, please call the Naples airport they must know when planes are landing!   Come to find out Pasquale never even heard of Air Italy!!! Now as I am looking at his computer screen, I see a flight from Milan, Flight #615! Geez Louise, Joel never made it clear that the new flight number was 615 or that he was getting on the plane 6:15 and you saw how he texted it.  Color me exasperated.  So the computer says the plane will land at 7:40 which means we should be on the road already, but while we were scrolling through the list of flights, he DID call the airport.  It took a while but finally he got a hold of someone who looked up the flight and said that plane wasn’t arriving till 9:30pm because it was going to stop in Rome on the way to Naples.  Thank God we called.

So time for a quick chicken dinner with Michael and then Pasquale and I took off for Naples Airport.  If you think your airport like LaGuardia in NY or West Palm in FLA where they don’t want you to stop for a minute to pick someone up with their luggage is tough, then don’t go to Naples Airport.  The police regularly come through and make all the cars move that are semi-parked and waiting for an arrival and don’t want to pay exorbitant parking fees.

Luckily I hopped out of the car, found Joel in an instant, and we were on our way.  Joel had now been traveling for 17 hours through at least 4 time zones and he was bleary-eyed and hungry.  We stopped for pizza and gelato on the way home and we got home just after midnight.  The last of  Monday’s madness.

 

 

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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!

one_touch_keyless
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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