10.18.2012 - 10.23.2012
This was my first driving experience in Europe. Might even be my last.
I must admit when I drove out of Siena, I was a little nervous. The agent admonished me to just follow the signs "To Roma" until I saw the exit I needed 3 hours away. Somehow, I couldn't believe that was true, and spent over an hour in Perugia trying to find my way out - but he was right.....All roads do lead to Roma.
My cottage outside the village of Poreta was on a very steep mountainside. The road leading to it was only about 10 feet wide with 2 turns at 30 degree angles.
The manager of the cottage met me at a cafe in Campello del Clitunna and I followed her the 5 km to the cottage.
The second time I drove up, the sun was setting and I could not see where I was going. Terrified I was going to drop off the side of the road and roll down the mountain, I backed up into the mountainside, crawled out the passenger side, and walked up to get the property manager to drive the car up.
In all my nervousness, I failed to get any photos of this road and my problems on it.
The second day, I refused to use the car and just walked within 5 km around my village and further up the mountain to the castle.
By the third day, I was confident and went on a day-long drive through the Umbria countryside
The next day I had an almost flat tire! For al I know, I drove with it almost flat the previous day.
No place is open on Domingo where you can put air in your tires. The few gas stations that are open do not have air pumps. Apparently you must go to a mechanico mechanic to get air in your tire. When you are accustomed to a 7/11 with an air pump every 5 blocks, this is a little upsetting.
I drove about 20 km on mountain and country roads and city streets trying to find a place to get air or someone who could help me. Many people tried to give assistance, but no one knew where to get air and there was no spare in the trunk. There was some kind of fix-a -flat, but no one knew how to use it.
A very nice American couple at the train station in Spoletto, where I went to pick up my friend Jody McKinney, let me use their cell phone to call the Avis emergency number. About 2 hours later, a tow truck arrived. He had no idea what to do. There was no place he knew where we could get air and the Avis place is not open on Domingo.
He finally figured out how to use the fix-a-flat equipment thanks to some illustrated procedures manual and the assistance of my friend Jody who provided English instructions based on the pictures. (He did not understand a word of English.)
I did enjoy all my drives through the Umbrian countryside.
Jody thought there were too many curves on the roads.
I finally managed to slightly understand the round-abouts and how to get to my destination.
One very nice man went out of his way for about 10 km to help us find the roundabout we needed to get to Lodi.
When it was time to turn in the car, I had no idea how to find the Avis office in Spoletto. I Googled it, but the directions were impossible for me to follow.
Fortunately, I found a young, female taxi driver at the train station who spoke English. I followed her to the gas station and Avis, turned in my car, and then she returned me to the train station. I would still be circling Spiletto had I not found her.