The night before we were to leave for Italy, Dennis ended up in the emergency room with an infected bug bite on his leg. Three o’clock in the morning is probably not the time you would want to go to bed before 9 hours worth of flying and 3 hours worth of driving, but what the heck… it’s vacation!
The flight to Dublin was flawless, and the flight to Rome was just as nice. Perfect weather. Dublin’s airport is very enjoyable, and flying over the alps always brings the camera out of your bag.
We picked up the car at Fiumicino (the airport) and set up Mr. GPS to guide us to the home town of Alfedena. As some of you may remember, Lindsay and I made an error 3 years ago and followed Mr. GPS instead of the map. We ended up going through every mountain road, goat path and dirt road imaginable. I CAN’T BELIEVE I DID IT AGAIN!! I’m not going to point a finger and the person who was in the passenger seat, but persuasion to follow technology as opposed to one’s gut feeling won the day. That’s all I’ll say about this, because I know he has some comments.
Well, the emergency room was a bundle of laughs but the band knocked off at 1:00 and it slowed right down after that. In any case I grabbed a restful 40 minutes on the flight so I was raring to go when we hit the road in Rome. My suggestion to follow the GPS was seconded by the fellow at the toll booth who said it would be a lovely and tranquil ride. By the time Myra set new speed records around yet another collection of hairpin turns, I concluded that the toll taker must have been an alligator wrestler or cliff diver in Alcapulco to have considered the trip “tranquil.” Obviously my daredevil sister decided to give me another heart in mouth excursion to start off the vacation. I should have been tipped off when I noticed that the rental car came with two dozen pitons and 300′ of climbing rope. She seemed overjoyed when we came to a long straight downhill stretch and I heard her mutter “Oh boy, I think we can get another few kilometers an hour out of this tub.” After zooming past the Capra della Montagna Memorial (named for a family of mountain goats who fell to their deaths when the hillside became too steep even for the nimble-footed crtters) we finally came in sight of Alfedena. The desk clerk at the hotel had dramatically improved his English vocabulary since our last visit two years ago. In addition to “yes” and “no” he had added “I don’t know” and “maybe”. I will let Myra describe our little venture into town for a early evening wine because if I tell the story no one will believe I didn’t make it up. We ended up a a new restaurant for dinner. We asked the server if she spoke English and she said “yes”. Unfortunately, that was the only word of English she actually spoke. Apparently, she had been taking lessons from the desk clerk at the hotel. My lack of sleep finally caught up with me as I dozed off right in the middle of a mouthful of Arosto Mista but after a nudge from “Mario Andretti” I mustered enough energy to get back to the hotel where we watched reruns of “American Gladiator” (dubbed in English, of course) for about 3 seconds before I conked out for the night.