Yesterday on the plane, I had a passenger that walked on with a piece of luggage that was too big for the aircraft so I pointed to the jetway for him to leave it there. When I began to tell him that he could pick it up when we got to our destination, he looked like he didn’t know what I was talking about. A brief interaction discovered that he was Italian and I was speaking too quickly.
TIP: I know from experience to learn hello, goodbye, thank you, where’s the…bathroom, food, museum, and “speak more slowly please”.
Immediately I was excited and determined to let he and his wife (?) know where to pick up their suitcase. Since my Italian is not that versed yet and I didn’t have use of my Google Translate, I got out my handy 4 language guide that I carry with me on the job at all times. (Comes in handy when you work NYC most of the time) I managed to write down: Buon gior no. Mi chiamo Christina. La valigia accanto la aero Detroit. Grazie!
If you don’t speak Italian either, it just says “Hello. My name is Christina. The suitcase next to plane Detroit. Thank you!” OK, not the best grammar but come on I wrote a brief not that they understood in less than two minutes using a tourist book and at least 4 different pages. Not bad, I think!
We were able to talk a little bit between my limited Italian and their English and they were so kind and gracious. I had time to show them some pictures of a trip that my husband and I took recently to Italy and they were so excited at the journey we took. They also asked if they could send me some pictures of their trip. Yeah! I love pictures.
Of course when they were getting off of the plane, I got a typical double kiss on the cheeks from the woman and a courteous handshake from the man. This is the same response that we got from everyone on our trip, which leads me to wonder if all Italians are this nice?
I thought that driving on the highways in Italy was like taking life in your own hands until we finally got to Rome. I had been to Rome before and already knew that most of us around here couldn’t survive however, I had never been in our own vehicle there. Our compact car, a Lancia(pronounced Lahn ch e ah), was perfect in the city if not a little under-powered on the highway. Small is good. Compact, good. If you look at the picture on the right, you will notice that these little cars will park anywhere that they can find a space. And why not, right? Can you imagine if someone did that in Cincinnati? I can see the tow truck coming now! We saw scooters and motorcycles everywhere also. Why not when the streets are so narrow and parking is so difficult. On one of my walks, I even saw a quad! Are you kidding me? I guess that if you can ride it, it’s legal. One of the vehicles that I saw around Italy was a three wheel truck. Yes, I said truck.
The size of the vehicles is not the only issue. While my husband was concentrating on driving (luckily he is an amazing driver both of vehicles and motorcross bikes), I was trying to read a map and navigate. Ok, note to all: objects on the map of Rome are not as far apart as they appear! By the time that I found one thing on the map, looked down and then back up, we were already way past where we were going. It doesn’t help when your step daughter tells you the wrong side of the river but that’s what taxi’s are for. ( I love you dear) We finally just parked the car and hailed a tassi. I was told by more than one person that actually live there that they do not drive in Rome! The metro system, taxi’s, buses and more make it much easier so learn from our mistake. Please.
Notice scooter, quad, motorcycle This IS a two way street These Smart Cars are perfect!
As usual, all of the plans that we had made for our trip to Italy changed as quickly as any of them were made. To Marco in Rome, I sincerely apologize!
I had found what would have been the best place to stay and didn’t get to see it at all. If you are ever staying in Rome (Italy), please check out the Gallo House. Marco was great emailing me back and forth trying to make the reservations. Unfortunately, we had to fly in to Venice, Italy because we missed the flight to Rome. Wound up not getting to Rome for a couple of days and only stayed one night versus the 2-3 we had planned on.
Flying in to Venice was absolutely amazing though. I have always wanted to go there but it just never happened. There was of course no reason to be right there and not go onto the island. So, here’s the deal. You cannot drive a car on the island. Your options are to buy a single bus pass for 3euros, a public water taxi for 12euro’s or a private one for 98euro’s! One can also purchase a pass that allows unlimited use on the buses and water boats for the amount of time allocated. 12 hours to one week. We chose the 12 hours for 18euros each and then found a hotel in the city on Priceline. They really came through this time. It took quite a while (probably because we just flew 9 hours and were dragging all of our things up and down the stairs over each of the water ways) to find an internet point. Once we did, we found a hotel and dumped off our stuff.
Venice: Hotel 65euro (total with taxes and service charges and breakfast!), 36euros for transportation for 12 hours, 34euros for a really nice dinner with wine, 8euros to use the computer to arrange hotel and car rental: priceless. Ha! The guy in front of me at the hotel paid 95euros so I was still up 22euros which I probably spent on gelato and coffees. The city is much more expensive that staying farther out as we would soon discover.
Car rental for one week with all taxes and insurance: 381euros.
We picked picked up the car and set off south along the beach toward Fano. The drive on the highway was out first experience with driving in Italy and luckily for all involved, I was NOT driving! Custom here is to honk and curse out the person behind you who dares get too close or honks for the driver ahead to move. It’s standard custom in Italy to drive up as close as possible to the car in front of you that you want to pass and flash your lights if necessary. It’s not meant to be rude (or is it) however, just a friendly get your crap out of my way! And, what is the speed limit anyway? I wish that I knew so that I could tell you for when you are brave enough to drive there. No worries. Just move over and don’t be insulted when someone wants to pass you.