After a riveting 48 hours in Rome we were ready to head to Tuscany. If you ever travel to Rome and make the mistake of renting a car, be sure to get a GPS that speaks your language. I can only imagine how helpful that would be, because Bob did not spring for a GPS. To his credit, he does have an excellent sense of direction. But that is not quite enough in this part of Italy.
The first challenge was getting the car out of the parking garage. It was like trying to put toothpaste back in a toothpaste tube. It can’t be done without getting messy. I will spare you the details of his efforts, but it is sufficient to say that in a mere 47 minutes we were out of there with no noticeable scratches or dents. Then the fun began. We circled and circled trying to get away from the terminal, which is also where you pick up the rentals. Thankfully it was morning so we knew what direction we were heading because of the sun. We eventually broke away and headed north.
The signs are all in Italian, of course, and there are so many signs placed close together that I would suggest to you that if you are driving in Italy, make sure you have three other people in the car with you. Between all of them, you might luck out and have someone read the sign you need and point you in the right direction.
We decided to look for a petrol station and fuel up. It is not a good idea to get low on gas whenever you are a stranger in a strange land. As Bob fueled up, I ventured inside to buy a map.
The lady clerk did not speak any English. None. She understood “mapa” even though I am not sure that is the proper Italian word. She said, “Roma?” I said something that confused her and we went back and forth for a while. Finally I said, “Arrivederci, Roma,” and she pulled out a map of Italy that would be great to don any classroom. It was huge. Then this kind woman called someone in that spoke English and I was able to tell him we were going to Orvieto and Tuscany. During our conversation an older gentleman who was riding a motorcycle came in to pay for his fuel and he got into the conversation, too. I have never encountered such helpful people.
The man on the motorcycle, who did not speak a word of English, offered to lead us to our exit. We followed him for two to three miles (or an unknown number of kilometers) and he pointed us to the proper exit. We are fairly convinced that if it had not been for these three people we would still be in Rome.
Driving along the highway was such a treat after meandering around the vicinity of Rome. We watched the scenery change to rolling hills dotted by Italian Cypress trees with the occasional hill town standing majestically in the distance. Ah, Tuscany. We are so happy to see you.