There are so many reasons for this advise I don’t know where to begin. Too bad nobody told us before our trip to Italy. But honestly, this is not our first rodeo, so we should have known better. How about parking for one thing? These old, ancient towns have narrow roads with no shoulder. And then you’ve got buildings on both sides, or buildings on one side and a cliff, or a gorge, on the other side, or the lake in our case, in Bellagio on Lake Como.
Here’s our story so heed our advise. We left our tiny village of Visgnola (5 km. uphill from Bellagio) at about 9:30 this morning to hit the town market which only occurs every third Wednesday) to stock up on fresh fruit & veggies, oh yes and some pastries found there too (you can find most anything in some of these markets). From the market we decided to take a direction not travelled before up in the hills above the lake.
After some time we stopped for lunch at the summit in an area called Sermano, still in the district of Como at about 1200 meters (nearly 4,000 ft elevation). Apparently it’s high enough and clear of ambient light because the restaurant is right next door to an observatory. Anyway our saga with regard to narrow streets starts on the way home, downhill.
We’re travelling with a Garmon GPS with the downloaded European maps. The roads in this area are so winding the little car icon on the GPS can’t keep up with where our car really is. Many of the turns are hairpin curves and if you miss one (the navigator *me*, missed several) no telling where you you’ll end up. Well we ended up down an ever-narrowing canyon of tall buildings. The driver is raising his voice at his navigator (me), “This can’t be right. How close are we to that wall?” Me: “Too close, turn a little to the right, but not too much. Whoa, STOP! Back up you’re not gonna get through there”.
Keep in mind backing up is no easier. It’s not straight or flat and as you can see there’s no margin of error. We’re still stuck. The side mirrors are pulled in. We can’t go forward or backwards. There’s nowhere to turn out or around, or maneuver whatsoever! I’m not sure if we were yelling at each other, but there’s a good chance voices were raised and people started to appear. They looked, they commented and probably a good thing we couldn’t understand what they were saying, but I imagine it went something along the lines of “Ah ya, stupido turisticos”.
Being friendly Italians however, they couldn’t let us struggle too long on our own we looked so desperate. A construction crew appeared out of nowhere. First one or two and eventually there were 6 of them. One offered to take the driver’s seat which Mickey gladly relinquished, crawling out the window. Well long story short, about 30 minutes later after much direction and from all sides and in a few different languages (Dutch, you speak Dutch? No. Inglese.) they got us out! I don’t know how they did it, but we didn’t escape unscathed. The driver’s side mirror cover popped off and there’s a few scratches that will have to go on the car rental return paperwork, but hey sh*t happens! I’m just glad to have escaped at all.
Just remember, the smallest you can get when it comes to what size car to rent in Europe. Bigger is NOT better!
Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)
~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu (right side panel) for my blogs posted from interesting locations during my travel adventures.