In Which I Remember It Preemptively
As you guys know, I am a rabid (for everything except menswear) Italophile. I also have eleventy gazillion FF miles on a certain airline which is stuck in Ch. 11 and, therefore, I'd like to use up those FF miles on the possibility that airline isn't around much longer. The best way to use up those miles in one fell swoop is to take a Big Deal Vacation. And what better vacation to take than Italy?Great cars, great roads, history, art, architecture and distant relatives who are dying to see my ragazzi*? Sure, I have way mo' relatives in Spain and Spain's history/art/architecture is almost as good as Italy's (and far less crowded) and tapas and pasta (ooh...see that? a palindrome...no wait, it's not a palindrome, it's the other one) are equally yummy...but, the thing of it is the roads are better and the cars are WAY better:
Granted, this one may not even be rentable and, if it was it'd only fit TFBIM and self and a coupla squashy duffel-ish bags. Still, a boy can dream, can't he? However, Italy (being that kind of place) is stuffed to the rafters with companies that rent classic (duh!) Italian sports cars including some that have four seats and an actual trunk where real humans may place real luggage.
Of course, such things may not be rentable with one's surfeit of FF miles, so we may have to--Maestro, violins, please--rent something ::cough, cough:: regular:
Yes, dear Internet, we may have to see the Italian landscape blurring past us, through the windows of a crummy ol' Alfa Romeo GT.
When it comes to Italy travel, there are two distinct sorts of people and they are not--some exceptions notwithstanding--incompatible. You have your Venice people and your Florence people. I'm a Florence person. You do whatever you want.
This is where we start.
Dig that dusk...magic hour indeed. The only way we'd get all four of us around Italy if we managed to rent an Alfa Romeo Nuvola. Which I doubt we would since, even in Italy, the people who run Hertz, Avis, etc. aren't completely mental. But, still, this is my dream so we'll go with that. After convincing Hertz/Avis/etc. to make a gigabuck car available for rental--and to take FF miles in lieu of actual money--we will be ready for a snack. Vin santo and amaretti. Espresso to keep us awake, after that.
And then we leave. ...and the other like minded tourists follow.
We hit the road. Even in Italy, you come across people who get the gas and brake pedals confused, or are Americans who have no idea what that third pedal WA-A-A-Y over on the left is for. So we pass them.
We see some cool architecture, well, we see as much as can be seen at 200kph with a wife and children screaming in terror. OK, maybe just the wife screaming in terror...the boys squealing with glee. Still it gets pretty loud.
All that screaming about the speed (pro and con) changes when we spot a sign in some small town's main drag.This place looks promising, no?We take one of each. All that driving makes us hungry. Something to do with adrenaline, I think. Apologizing to Willie Nelson, we're on the road again.
Passing the laggards at every opportunity.And we find ourselves here.Where we have rented a little farmhouse type thing (which you CAN do with FF miles, but you have to plan ahead and do a lot of that touch-tone two-step)People, naturally, are always drawn to this sort of scenery, including some of those people who didn't bother reading the car rental options clearly.But at least we let them stop across the road from us, and look at "out" topography before they limp off dejectedly.At some point we'll take the Italo-equivalent to the auto train and head to Milan, the St. Peter's of Alfa Romeo. An automotive pilgrimage, if you please. Obviously, I'm still in glassy-eyed-dreamer mode. Indulge me.
Hey! Wasn't that a "ristorante" back there?So we turn around.And we zoom back there.Obviously, this place is good, since everyone is heading there as well.And this is just the antipasti.Naturally, another day trip is warranted.The countryside is nice and verdant. Maybe we oughta picnic around here. Even in Italy, teenagers drive these crazy cars! (Imagine I am talking like Grandpa Simpson)
But this guy seems like a local, let's follow him....and then we hit rush hour, Italian-style.Let's see...we need some bread......some cheese......and some deli-type cold cuts......and, finally, a nice spot to chill and munch.Today, maybe we'll run into the village for some groceries. Let's go before the roads get crowded. Oops. Too late. Might as well fantasize the classic car rental place takes FF miles.We'll need to visit the greengrocer...What? We forgot the olive oil??Once more, into the breach.We get the greenest EVOO we can get.I can't believe I forgot to go to the butcher shop, also.Sorry, dear. I thought it was the other way.Yum. Totally worth making another trip.Let's get a few more things, just in case. The view from our kitchen. It makes me think that cooking under these conditions is the closest I'll ever get to unadulterated bliss while I'm on earth.
I can't wait to go, er, back!
* Oh, shut UP, you know who you are.