I wrote in my journal today "don't feel bad about this later...you WERE TIRED, you WERE STRESSED...you won't remember how it felt - but trust past Sarah, you made the right choice."
We have changed our plans yet again - we're not going to Venice, and we're not staying in Italy until the 26th. We're evacuating instead from Milan on the 23rd.
I know in a year when I think back to how I backed out of going to Venice and how I basically slept through Rome, I will beat myself up about it and think I really missed an opportunity. It will be impossible to remember how frustrated, how defeated, how utterly exhausted I am right now this very minute.
Yesterday we drove for 2 hours and we only went about 10 km. Parking in Lake Como is not to be found. Even finding the center, the "pretty" part of Lake Como is near impossible due to the lack of signs. There are NO signs.
While trying your best to navigate the maze of roads, you get honked at, tailgated, mopeds whiz past you, none of the signs make sense, you drive down one way streets, you drive down 2 way streets that are as small as one way streets, and when you do find the city center, you can't park there, so you have to unwind yourself from the "pretty" part and drive back out to the suburbs and 9 floors up a parking garage to park.
Or park in the "pretty" part and then get a parking ticket - which we did in Orvieto.
By the time all that's over, you don't even want to see the city anymore. You just want to curl up and go to sleep.
But you get out of the car and head into town anyways. Then as you're crossing the street, you witness right in front of you a moped slam head on into the back of a car - the man thrown from his vehicle, lying unconscious on the ground.
So then you go buy an orange juice, and that costs you $5.00 - for a cup of orange juice. I'm not kidding. Was this a magical orange juice? Did it have flakes of gold in it? How do people afford this?!
Then you decide you are done. You eat your pizza, change your flight itinerary and car drop-off at an internet cafe, then go back to the parking garage.
You back your car out, drive down to the first floor, stop at the gate, insert your ticket, and the gate doesn't open. Why? Because you were supposed to pay before you got the car out of the spot. You're a moron. Why didn't you read that sign that wasn't there? Now you are wedged between a white and red gate to the front, and 3 car fulls of Italians to the back.
The man on the speaker box is yelling at you in Italian, the people behind you are honking in impatience, you literally can not go forward and can not go backwards and all you want is your mommy.
After the man comes out of his booth and uses his magical key to lift the gate and tell you the story of how you were supposed to pay before driving the car out of the spot, you decide we should send all our criminals to Italy to do time in this cyclone of insanity.
You learned your lesson from the $5 city oj, and decide to find a grocery store to buy your next oj at. Along with some more bread for your Nutella because all you can afford to eat are Nutella and jam sandwiches.
In the morning, you open the oj, pour it into a cup, and it explodes all over you and your only remaining pair of pants.
And thus I am tired. And I'm moving on.
The only people that get to judge have to meet the following strict requirements:
1. Have driven this year in Italy for the first time in your life. Don't tell me "oh, we drove in Italy and it was fine...but that was 20 years ago."
2. Have made said drive without GPS
3. Have made said drive in an attempt to move between 3 or more major Italian cities
Then you and I can talk.
If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem I say. So what would I do different next time?
I would not under any circumstances drive. And I would bring 500E for every day I plan to stay here. 1000E if traveling as a couple.
I would also go to about 10 other places before thinking about coming back here.
It's not all spilt milk. The gellato is unreal and the countryside is just beautiful. I don't know if these images do it justice, but we tried.
And now we go to Spain.