On my 69th birthday, we left Rome for Naples. This was not a wholly good idea, unless one thrives on travel tension.
October 10, 2008 started off innocently enough. We took a taxi to the Termini station where Avis has a rental pick up. Easy right? The taxi ride yes. Renting the car anything but.
Walking several blocks from the rental desk to the pick-up garage would not have been a problem if the carts we rented worked. But they didn't. When the first cart's wheels locked, we got another. When this also refused to move, we complained. The response? Termini’s luggage carts were not allowed outside the building. Their wheels lock automatically. So much for luggage carts.
Our largest suitcase, which handle broke at Fiumicino airport the night we arrived, together with our other medium- and small-sized suitcases, made a do-able situation difficult. When Bill's attempt to transport three bags collapsed onto the sidewalk, I turned back to the desk.
"We need to have the car dropped off HERE," I told the clerk, reminding him that I’d seen a car delivered to another couple. Ten minutes later a languid young man in a red jacket drove up in our Chevy Kalos, double parked it in front of the station and disappeared. Getting our bags into the car was easy. The tiny trunk actually held the two largest bags, and the rest fit easily onto the back seat.
Like shedding a heavy wool coat, we shrugged off tension and relaxed as our Garmen directed us out of Rome toward Ostia Antica, which we'd been told we "must not miss." A lovely lunch at a small restaurant in the nearby town followed by a leisurely walk midst the wondrous pines and ruins of the ancient port city put us in a celebratory frame of mind, which began to unravel by the end of the first half hour of what was a three hour traffic jam outside Rome.
Once out of Rome, however, the reverse occurred. The drive to Naples on A1, the autostrada leading to Naples, tested our nerves and our Chevy Kalos to the limit. The Kalos was not built to drive at 150 km an hour, neither were our nerves. The autostrada is a misnomer. Raceway would be a better term.
It was very dark and very late when we finally reached the outskirts of Naples, whereupon our trust Garmon failed us. It told us to turn when we were already well beyond where we should have turned (at such speeds, who could blame the poor machine) and so we got lost in Naples's Harbor, where as we drove into one dead end after another we felt like the foreigners we were.
To be continued . . .