We packed our bags, loaded up our rental car and headed out to Sicily this morning. Traveling presents many a obstacles, frustrations, and can really push you to your limits. I'm told that this is how we grow.
One of the biggest pains in Italy is figuring out where you are and where you are going while driving. Signage in this country is very poor. Streets do not have signs, but instead, street corners will have small plaques (sometimes) for the street. This makes identifying streets while driving very difficult. That is of course assuming they are there in the first place. Tonight I walked literally 5 blocks trying to figure out what street we were on before giving up. Still have no idea what road that was. During that time Ashley sat in the car struggling with the maps.
The maps we have are one large paper maps, and a couple downloaded to our iTouch. The iTouch tries it's best, but I wasn't able to find high quality paid maps. Instead have OpenStreetMaps. Although they do a valiant effort of creating maps, many key things are missing. Moreover trying to navigate on a tiny screen with no GPS to tell you where the frick you are does not work well. The paper map we bought was of no help. It only has an overview map of the island. We didn't know this until after we bought it since we couldn't open it before. Great for highways and such, but useless once into any of the little towns. Oh, I should add that the driver can't really help navigate much since almost all their effort must go into not getting killed by the craziness that is driving in Italy.
I'll spare the details, but Ashley and I both worked very hard at keeping our frustrations civil as we tried to get from Tropea to our B&B near Etna. Although nothing over-boiled it was extremely stressful for both of us. Not exactly what we were looking forward to after a very hard and rough week at work. During the pinnacle of our frustrations we had gotten ourselves quite lost in a little town. I was walking around to cool-off, as was Ashley. This local fellow in the exact same model and colour of car pulls up. "Are you lost?" "Do you speak english?" He then turned around and, with us following, lead us clear across town to the entrance to the highway we have been seeking for far too long. The Italian people are so very warm and wonderful. This man took 20min or more out of his day to help some strangers. Molto bene! At the end of all that the 3.5 hour journey which should have gotten us to the B&B at 1pm got us to there just after 4pm. Being too late we couldn't go explore Etna today.
Instead of pouting we salvaged the evening by doing some much needed shopping. Needing some cloths and a few other things. Best to take the time now instead of eating away at our time in Rome or Istanbul. As part of that we ended up buying a little piece of plastic to help our marriage.
Oh my goodness, what a difference. The drive home from shopping was so relaxing. Ashley and I could chat and enjoy each other's company. Although we spent most of the time in awe how this little piece of plastic was doing such a wonderful job of taking us home. We could both feel our marriage recovering from the week and weekend thus far, breathing a sigh of relief!