Day 8 (February 12)

What a long day!  I can’t believe I ever thought it would be a good idea to drive in Italy.  Well, mostly it was all right, I suppose.  Except that it took 3 hours to drive 15km around Rome.  To add to the joy of the traffic-jam, Miwa decided to spice things up with the biggest poo of the trip.  It leaked out the side, tops, bottoms, etc.  I expressed my sincere regrets that I would be unable to help as it looked like I might have to inch forward again momentarily.

I kind of got into driving on the Autostrade, once I realized there really was no speed limit.  Jill finally asked, “do you really have to go this fast when I hit 145.  As far as I could tell the posted limit was 90.  Even at 145 I was being passed like I was standing still, and the only things I was passing were big trucks and old men.  If only I’d been driving a Ferrari instead of the gutless wonder of a Fiat Punta.  Then Jill might have had something to wonder at.

We had to stop part way along at a rest stop to feed Miwa and for everyone else to eat and void; Miwa not needing to stop for the last bit.  The rest stop proved to be a foreshadowing of things to come as I missed the entrance to the parking lot and had to come in backward through the exit, but more on that later.

It started snowing at the rest stop and carried on doing so for the next hour or so.  The roads stayed clear and I slowed down to a modest 110 to compensate for the conditions.  While it was unpleasant, it didn’t really seem that bad, but when we were watching Italian news later on in the evening, we saw that the snow had been newsworthy.  We had also picked up a tidbit from our cab driver that it hadn’t snowed in Rome for 35 years ( though this is probably a misunderstanding), and there was certainly a skiff on the ground when we left.  Great, I thought we’d get away from winter at least a bit.  Oh well, we had two days of sunshine, which I gather, is more that the folks back home can claim

We successful navigated the toll booth on exiting the Autostrade and carried on our merry way toward Greve on the S222, the main road through the region.  I had a lot of fun driving at speed around hairpin corners and through tiny, ancient villages but Jill and Mitzt were starting to look a little ill, so it was a good thing that the road to Greve wasn’t too long.

It took three tries to get to our apartment.  With the hills and buildings so close to the street, the GPS kept cutting out at the most inopportune moments.  We found the apartment and actually got parking spot right out front.  We unloaded the car and packed things upstairs.  Lots of stairs.  For a change of pace, Mitzi was actually concerned about her own breathing by the time she reached the top.  “It was hard, today,” she says.

The apartment seems palatial after our Rome accommodations.  It’s only 70m2(700ft2), but after living in 20m2(200ft2) anything would seem big.  In fact, our kitchen/dining room is about the same size as the apartment in Rome, at less than half the price.  The next few days will

There is a market in the Piazza we front onto tomorrow, so we couldn’t leave the car there over night, so I followed the directions supplied by the apartment owner, and ended up driving the wrong way down a one way street, right in front of the police.  As I stepped out of the car after parking it, an officer approached me and said many things to me in Italian.  The gist of which was, I had gone the wrong way, and did I understand.  After a bit I said I understood and I was sorry, and he went away.  Works for me.

Once back at the apartment it was time to go in search of sustenance, so Jill and I packed up Miwa and headed out again.

Our first goal was to find a supermarket.  However, the first thing we found was a bulk wine dispensary!  They sold wine by the litre in bag-in-a-boxes.  The equipment was great, stainless steel tanks with wine dispensers that looked like gasoline nozzles and that were charged with argon to keep everything fresh.  I really want to get one for the tasting room so we can sell wine like that.  I think it would appeal to a lot of people.  It sure appeals to me!  We bought 3 litres of the most expensive wine at 3 euros/litre.  Including the bag-in-a-box, it came to 10 Euros.  We also got a free tasting before selecting, so Jill and I were a little tipsy for the rest of our walk.  The wine was a Merlot, Sangiovese mix, and certainly worth the price paid.

The super market was a supermarket, nothing really special, except that Miwa got her daily dose of “Bella Bambina!”

I am currently enjoying the wine and waiting for dinner to finish cooking in the oven.

Ciao.

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