Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Italian Driving job II

We leave Florence, and I’ve got to add yet another true story of driving in Italy. This is a story that Caleigh will verify, I saw this happening and told her to turn around, she turned around and saw this. Here goes, in Italy the extreme left lane is for passing, the middle is for passing the large trucks that drive in the right lane, O.K., I see this Mercedes Mini van (class A 180) driving in the left lane, I’m in the center lane passing a column of big rigs. There is a guy in an Audi A3 wagon coming up from behind this Mercedes Class A, he parks on the Mercedes bumper at about 130 kph. The guy in the Mercedes is coming up on a lane of cars in the center, so he’s going to stay in the fast lane and make Audiboy wait until he’s cleared the deadwood in the center lane. Well Audiboy is indignant of having to subjugate himself to anyone so he starts to get closer and get in the extreme left of the passing lane. I’m watching this in my rearview and drivers side mirror, and chuckle. “Hey Caleigh, check out this joker in the Audi.” She replies “ the one behind the Mercedes?” “Yeah, where is he gonna go?” Caleigh looks around and gauges the options, “ he’s going to have to wait for the lane to clear.” then I go back to watching the traffic and hear Caleigh say, “ oh my god dad, check this out.” I look back and Audiboy has just started to pass the Class A guy in the same lane. The Mercedes guy has started to hug the right side of the fast lane, and Audiboy is making a move on the left side of the passing lane, I kid you not, he’s passing another car in the same lane at 135 kph as they pass me. I’m looking around trying to find a spot to dump into in case their bumpers lock and I’m pretty boxed in unless I downshift and jump in between two big rigs. Luckily they complete their idiotic maneuver and the guy in the Mercedes pulls over a couple lanes as his un amused wife is shrieking in his right ear, and Audiboy proceeds to his penis enlargement appointment. I’ve never seen someone pass another car in the same lane. We manage the rest of the drive without incident. Finally we arrive in Venice, Italy and drive over the first bridge to Trocherro Island Parking Structure, after making our way through the continual construction zone every parking structure has, we finally find a space in the almost vacant garage and unload our sartorial provisions and after loading me up walk from the outer parking Island to the residential island. We stop at the information area and Cindy purchases a small map of the islands, armed and dangerous we proceed, after fifteen minutes we have narrowed down the environs of where our hotel should be, now all we have to do is isolate it. We make more turns through the labyrinth that is Venice, a man walking nearby guesses we are tourists who may be lost, why he guessed that I’ll never know. I don’t think it had anything to do with me yelling at Cindy, “ Since when does south come after north?” well I would never say that, but he probably heard me thinking that. “ Where are you staying, and from which part of the United States are you from?” That obvious huh?, well long story short, he calls our hotel from his I-phone and gets directions from the owner, it happens to be a couple corners away, and leads us to the door. I think to this day this helpful guy was a plant from the tourist department, real nice helpful, English speaking guy. It would so make sense that they would have people positioned where it would do the most good. I’ve got to tell you that a little help at that point so turned our four hour drive state of mind, into a real start of an adventure feeling. So he leads the explorers to their hotel and we check in. The lady running the hotel with her son is marvelous, she was so graceful and nice it started our stay with a lot less stress than normal. We get to our room, not much of a view, just a canal down one street and another canal down another. After unpacking and having the young ladies shower we set off to that which is Venice, and only Venice. We go for a walk down alleys after alley, each corner brings another unworldly vista, we see age old buildings, with cracked plaster, chipped cornerstones and aged wood windows and doors at each turn. This place reeks of history and unfortunately sewage, age old sewage. We found over the course of three days that the odor was the worst at low tide. However at high tide, no pun intended, it was a crap shoot. The night before we left the streets were flooded by eight inches of high tideness, it may have been tied to the earthquake in Chile, or global warming, as the clerk mentioned to us? I wanted to get to a tower in order to get a birds eye view of Venice, so we looked it up on our map and made our way to the tower in San Marco Piazza, the view was priceless, we could see a lot of the old historic buildings, city squares, wider canals, and the ocean and Venice’s perimeter. We ate at this really fun sort of casual restaurant located on a bridge and have one of our better dinners in Italy. We explore the city and get comfortable with our bearings. I can’t say enough good about how wonderful Venice was, I am unfortunately writing this after a day in Bellagio, on Lake Como, and there is nowhere that compares to the beauty of Bellagio, other than maybe Schoodic Point in Maine at Arcadia National Park. Sorry, back to Venice, Caleigh and Hannah get out on occasion but we really aren’t familiar enough to give them free reign. There is an appreciation of the history and architectural beauty of the place, but they are thirteen and getting bored with being exiled with two fogies. I can’t really say that I blame them, as they are thinking, naturally so , that at their age they should be out partying with Lady Gaga and the girl that sings Tick-tock ( you ever listen to the vacuous lyrics to the song she sings?-Tick Tock, my opinion anyway- I prefer Lady Gaga as her voice has at least talent) I think that Venice would be great for Cindy and I to return to, Caleigh and Hannah did enjoy it but the list of fun things for thirteen year olds to do doesn’t include this waterlogged elder lady.

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