Well this week I bring you the Epic Car Journey of Boringness, an Ice Pool of Death update and I shall recount the Walk of Treachery. First up…
Epic Car Journey of Boringness to Piacenza
Some of you may remember the Saga of the Broken Clutch where the car broke down in Switzerland on the way back from the UK to Ancona. It meant that we (myself and my driving buddy, let’s call him Victorio) couldn’t make use of the hotel that we’d booked and paid for in Piacenza. They wouldn’t give us our money back but as Victorio was back in Italy last week, we decided to get our money’s worth. I was to meet him there.
There were two methods of arrival – car or train (having already ruled out going by helicopter or skateboard). I weighed up both taking into account cost, effort and time. I decided to go by car – it would be long but would work out cheaper and I’m on a money saving spree.
Was it in fact cheaper? No, no it wasn’t. It was a lot more expensive. STUPID TOLL ROADS! 48 Euros it cost me just in tolls! I had completely forgotten to add that into my equation so not only did I have an exceptionally boring 4 hour journey each way, but it cost me more than the train. There, er, may be a slight chance I may have incurred additional unforeseen costs as well (STUPID SPEED CAMERAS!). Anyway, the hotel was lovely – very nice. I recommend Best Western in Piacenza.
Piacenza itself is nice too. There wasn’t much too it from what we saw – there’s a little shopping high street with some nice shops, a market and a piazza where the cathedral was. We spent a couple of hours looking around and then I started the 4 hour trek back.
Driving is MUCH better now – I don’t feel the urge to write home to tell my family I love them every time I get in the car now. I can’t imagine that it’s because the Italians have all started to drive like sensible people. In fact, I know that not to be true. I think I’ve just developed a Near Death Experience Filter which helps to regulate my heartbeat when someone pulls out in front of me at speed.
4 hours is the longest time I’ve spent driving in one go by myself so that felt like quite a feat of accomplishment given I’ve been so nervous of driving for such a long time. I still haven’t managed to amend my Sat Nav’s “if at all possible, go on roads suitable only for tanks” setting.
I’ve still not changed them to “winter tires”. Il Polemico showed me his snow tires the other day. They look unimpressive. The difference is they have “snow and mud” written on the side and there’s some tiny, barely visible little slits in the tires. I know I have to get them but it just doesn’t feel satisfying enough to warrant the money. Admittedly I may feel more satisfied if they stop be slipping down hills in the rain but I would have preferred if they had large spikes and perhaps were a different colour. I did ask my local garage about getting them changed and he pointed me in the direction of a local “gommista” who will change my tires for me. I will do that soon. I will. I will I will I will.
I HAVE HEAT!!!!!!!! And the Ice Pool of Death (the bath) is now The Heavenly Bathing Area of Delight! I can’t put into words how happy I am about being able just to turn the tap on and have hot water. The problem? The boiler pressure was too low. I should have moaned about it before. It took about 20 minutes to sort out. Annoying.
I received my first Christmas present 🙂 A doll, a “pigotta”. It’s a doll that’s handmade and the money used to buy it goes to poor kids in Africa. I was very touched! And I got some other bits and pieces too. People are so lovely here.
I went to a lovely cake shop in Senigallia with a friend last week. I think I have the name wrong so I wont write it here, and then we ate out at a very quaint restaurant which didn’t have a name outside either. Here’s a photo of it so if you’re ever in Senigallia and you want to go, you can pace the streets until you find it 🙂
The Walk of Treachery
I had my most exhausting walk for quite a long time with Il Polemico last weekend. The original plan was to go walking in the Sibilini Mountains. Alas, there’s snow there now and apparently a guy died there recently of cold when he got stuck there overnight, poor man. I’ve just bought a book with walks around this area in so we picked another safer walk around the hills in Macerata. It was a ring walk from Cingoli. It started off well but there’s been a lot of bad weather in Macerata the last week or two and so we found ourselves climbing over several landslides…..
Then the guide book seemed to indicate that we should walk up a waterfall/river.
Having slipped are way to the top, we followed the route down the other side of the mountain where we got lost. Il Polemico has a problem with seeing “tracks” where there aren’t any…
And then it was getting late and the sun was getting lower, we were in the middle of nowhere and there was no way of getting back apart from the Waterfall of Danger. Then we heard hunters in the woods shooting wild boar. Wild boar are apparently dangerous and so need to be shot. Personally, I would prefer to take my chances with wild boar than people randomly shooting into the woods where I’m walking…
Anyway, we found where we were supposed to have been going and headed in that direction at a speedy pace. And then, unbelievable I know, we got lost again. And then we trespassed into a sort of water reservoir place…
A man came to inquire about our trespassing (we didn’t look very apologetic). The man let us out (otherwise I think we’d have just stayed put at the reservoir!) and then we found a road and decided to stick to that given the hour and our propensity for getting lost. We ended up doing 10 miles in the end and apparently we gained “608 metres” according to Il Polemico’s magic walking tracking device.
Anyway, it was a lovely, spectacular but stressful walk…
Ok, have good weeks everybody! 🙂