The disembarkation process this morning was seamless and Sue and I were on the dock by 8am waiting for the rest of our pre-arranged group to meet our driver to take us to the airport. That is where we will be picking up a rental car, supposedly a Fiat 500 with automatic.
By 9:30 we were at the rental car desk at Fiumicino airport. After taking a number it was another 45 minute wait and then a minor fiasco, because they did not have the reservation. After several phone calls and more time, we eventually had the keys to a Mercedes Class A mid size car. It was either that or a Smart car, since naturally they did not have the Fiat 500.
After more delays due to the fact that I did not leave the office with a ticket and could not get out of the parking lot. I had to go back inside and get a ticket and after 12:00 noon we finally left Rome. Sue was going to share the driving but she had injured her arm and didn’t know if she would be able to drive or not.
This was my first experience driving in Italy and thank goodness we had a GPS. It worked great and eventually we were on our way to the region of Isernia where we would be stopping at the small village I loved that bears my maiden name, Longano.
It was raining on and off and it was around 3pm when we arrived in Longano. It was like a ghost town, although I did recognize Mario Gatta, the former chief of police, whom I had met last year.
I got out of the car and spoke to him in Italian. He remembered me and we walked around a little.
Sue stayed in the car here, since she didn’t feel well and didn’t speak or understand Italian. Mario took me to meet someone as a request from a friend, and then I stopped in at a little church that was open. I never noticed this the last time I was here.
This was a very brief stop especially since it was afternoon and nothing was open. We needed to get to Colle d’Anchise soon anyway where we would be staying the night.
We made a stop for gas and a cappuccino on the way and we arrived in Colle d’Anchise in the rain and checked in at La Piana dei Mulini by 5:30.
I was driving on dirt roads as the GPS was not so helpful here and I couldn’t remember exactly where this place was. I just had to stop to take a photo of some goats I saw in a field once the rain let up.
Leaving Sue at the La Piana, I called my cousin Antonella, and the next agenda was to make it to her house. I asked a man for directions and in fact he drove there himself and told me to follow him. I didn’t think I was going to be able to squeeze the car through this narrow passageway but somehow it made it. The super steep curvy roads to get to her house were like none I had ever driven on myself before, and I thought that if I get there without an accident I can drive anywhere. I was saying Hail Mary’s the whole time.
When I arrived at Antonella’s I felt such a sense of accomplishment and I was really happy to be able to see her and her son Gianluca, who remembered me.
Her new baby girl, Federica is beautiful.
I had brought some gifts for them and was so surprised when Antonella had gifts for me too. I was touched. Her Mom, Isabella came after awhile and it was great to see her too, since this was going to be a short visit. She brought a hand decorated plate that her youngest daughter, Santina made for me. I wish I could spend more time as this family is so nice but Antonella understood. On the way back, Isabella rode with me and helped me go back an easier way. I remembered my way back now to La Piana, where I met Sue for dinner at 7:30. A glass of wine and pasta pomodoro was perfect.
Tomorrow we drive to Sicily.