Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Okay, enough of the wedding talk. Instead, I'll regale you all with tales of my harrowing work trip last week. Now you all now I travel a lot for work, but most of the time it's within France's borders. Every once in a while though, I get to travel to another country, and this time it was Italy.

I very quickly made all the travel arrangements and luckily managed to find an automatic car available at the Torino airport. Or at least what I thought was an automatic car....

Once my plane landed, I made my way over to the rental car counter and picked up my keys for my smart car. Yep, you read that right, I was to be rolling (literally) around Italy in a car the size of an Altoids tin. But the surprises didn't end there - once I got in the car, I discovered that it was a faux automatic. As in the only thing automatic about it was that there was no clutch. The rest of the car was 100% manual and required shifting. Now most of the cars I rent are what they call "semi-automatics", in that you can either have the car do the shifting or you can do it yourself. But not this one. I let a few swear words fly and then decided to get on with it - it was the only "automatic" car on site, and I was already running late.

So I haltingly make my way out of the parking lot and onto the freeway. Things were cruising on fairly nicely until I had to exit and just about killed the motor. Luckily it was late at night, so I didn't cause an accident or hurt anyone. And then the REAL adventure began.

See, I had been hoping that this customer would be in a nice, flat valley. But I hoped wrong. Instead they were located on top of one very large mountain. We (the car and I) kept creeping up the side of the mountain as fast as its little motor could go, with me making half-ass attempts to shift up and down as we went through all of those sharp turns.

At one point though, I missed a turn and I thought "Oh, no biggie - the GPS will just recalculate". Haha, famous last words!

The GPS did indeed recalculate, but it recalculated to a teeny, tiny dirt road that was practical vertical. I started off on it thinking "surely this can't be right, it must just be a shortcut." But then it continued. On and up we went, with that poor little car huffing and puffing the whole way, and me being jostled around like a rag doll.

I consider turning around at several points along the way, but how? It was pitch black (as mountain trails aren't exactly riddled with street lamps), and even though my car was small, I wasn't really comfortable attempting a 3-point turn when I couldn't really see how big the drop-off was...or even where it started!

This is what the road looked like in broad daylight:

So I decide to keep on going. And going. It was starting to feel like the beginning to a scary movie. Ie the dumb blond girl takes the wrong road and then breaks down in the middle of the woods.

Finally though, I see what looks like a real road ahead. I get to the lip of the road and I am at such a steep incline that the damn Smart car can't make it over and I am stuck revving the engine, right at the edge of safety!! The minute I let up on the gas, the car starts to slide backwards. So I sit there in limbo a bit, debating my options.

At that point, I was ready to get out and push the damn thing up the hill myself, but instead, I just let it slide back a bit more and then I gun it and just barely make it over on to the real road.

I have never been so happy to see a paved road in my life.

And then a bit further up the road, I see this and breath a sigh of relief.
Whew! I am almost there.....

Or am I? Stayed tuned to find out more! ;)

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Blogger Barbara Snow said...

Oh rats - you left us in suspense. And the place you're heading to looks beautiful....and haunted.
More please

November 3, 2011 at 1:19 AM  

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