A Little Bit of Me

Jottings and Writing, miscellanous misgivings

A Mixed Bag

A Mixed Bag


What people imagine Italuan roads are like



Isabella, our new host has had a horrid day. First of all, her guests scheduled to turn up at 4pm arrive two hours early and the “maid” let them in, gave them the wrong set of keys (there are two entranceways of the front ingress); turned off the hot water, and generally made a balls up which would necessitate two callouts at 6pm and 8pm.
It hasnt been a bed of roses for us either. We had planned to visit the catacombs and the site of some of where the Godfather was filmed, both at Savora. The plan was to park the car at Saint Teresa di Riva and catch a bus up the narrow winding road to the hilltop village. (Supposedly impassable by car and no parking at the top) All well and good but we couldnt find the busstop (later revealed to be a small tin sign on a lamppost about 30 metres from where we parked) Plan B was to hail a cab (a plan that fellow tourists were pursuing and we agreed to share the costs) only no bloody taxis in said place. Plan C was to do the same at Taormina where there is an open ampitheatre and a bus runs from the railway station. However weaving through narrow streets, narrowly avoiding collisions, being overtaken on the inside by buzzy scooters, being held up for 10 minutes while a truck driver unloads parcels and blocks the street, and having to put up with the insanity of Sicilian drivers, we jointly decided to forgo sightseeing and forge onto Catania. Where it got even worse. Coming off the autostrade straight into lunchtime traffic that was jammed packed was too much for my nerves. I have decided NOT to hire a car for the last part of our journey. The stress of driving, not being able to see the sights because I am concentrating on not being killed, Alison the same as she is doing the navigating, not being able tp park, and when you do park worrying that you have wing mirrors removed by passing cars, or come back and find you have been towed. Isabella has 20161009_023243


The Grim Reality


Kiindly found a garage where we can park the rental and strongly advised about driving in Catania. My pride says I should stick with it but then a woman pulls into the space in front of me and backs straight into my grill, gets out of car, shrugs her shoulders and walks away. Fortunately no damage. As I walk to our apartment another car smashes into the back of another car, she mounts the pavement and then a furious argument develops as the two drivers argue who is to blame. I do not need this shit.

An extract that says it all-

have just returned from a week in Sicily where a car is essential should you want to explore this wonderful island properly. Driving however is extremely nerve wracking and very, very, frustration.
Pack extra BetaBlockers if you drive in Sicily! I have driven in all parts of Italy but nothing prepares you for the crazy “death wish” drivers of this island. On nearly every journey we encountered these kamakazes who think nothing of overtaking on blind corners and consider the depth of a cigarette paper as the correct distance to place their front bumber against your rear one, regardless of speed!
If that isn’t enough to cope with, you must also be aware that signpostng is truly terrible. Usually there will be good signage on the motorways but once you come off do not rely on any of the signs (if there are any) Many point in completely the wrong direction or will take you on a 100km detour. Buy a map and trust only your own instincts as to when to make critical turns. This is particularly true when driving through towns en route Roundabouts are a particular nightmare because suddenly you will have the choice of 3 exits with not a single sign on any of them, so keeping to the right road becomes a lottery.
Good luck and don’t even think of not taking out full and comprehensive insurance for your car and your life!
So, got up early this morning, traffic reasonably light Still like rush hour in Auckland) and returned the car to Sicily by Car at Catania airport. And immediately felt a huge albatross unravel itself from my shoulders and neck.
I must admit that I tooted my horn under one minute of picking up the car. I must admit that I swore a lot, shook my fist, and aggressively took my right of way. I tried to join the drivers who think driving in Sicily is fun, but every time a horn sounded, or i checked my mirrors and they were full of scooters or Audi & Mercedes drivers screaming in beside me my testicles shrunk, my pulse rate climbed and I could feel a little bit of my life leaving me. When i looked at my face in the mirror this morning I have a new line running from my forehead to the corner of my mouth.
Catania is Sicilys secound largest city. It is very Moorish in parts and we have glimpsed through barred gates into little grottos. Havent really had an opportunity to sample the food as my first choice restaurant (simple oilcloth tableclothes, drinking mugs on the table, no menu, just a few rough looking men playing cards at different tables) we were answered for my request for a table – “come back at eight” but I felt they would rather we did not. parking


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