Saturday, June 20, 2015

No Confidence

Day 4 on our Italian adventure turned out to be the day that if our family were an Italian Government and I was Prime Minister, I would have received a vote of "no confidence".

It was the day planned for our group of travelers to grow from 4 to 6 with the addition of oldest and youngest son who had spent a few days in Rome on their own. The plan was for my brother, his wife and I to drive with the Chancellor to Sorrento where we would pick up both the boys and a second rental car and try to hop to Capri or spend the day in Sorrento.

oh the best laid plans.....

The Chancellor and I  dropped my brother and his wife off at the car rental spot at an urban hotel in Sorrento and then we proceeded to the train station.

It's always a surprise to see oldest son after a few days in Italy. He just blends. The rest of us look like a bunch of American Clowns - always in the wrong colors, t-shirts or sun glasses, but he seems to blend right in. He had bought himself a leather jacket and some clothes and, well, he just looked Italian - at least to us.

After our rendezvous with the boys, we headed back to the urban-hotel-rent-a-car through the ups and downs of Sorrento traffic and and found that my brother was gone. After a few very expensive phone calls from US phones to US Phones in a foreign land, we found that he had crumpled under the pressure of Italian urban driving and decided to head back to Le Due Marine in Furore but he had texted a phone I left back in the Villa to tell us.

So the four of us decided to do the same but with a nice lunch in Positano first, so off to Positano we headed.

Now navigating into Sorrento seemed easy enough, you simply follow the blue signs to Sorrento and choose the ones with the lower KMs. No need for GPS on the way in. Getting back out proved more difficult. For some unknown reason I decided to navigate by my Italian phone by using a GPS app I got for free. The important part being free.

At some point along the route, the Free GPS said to make a left and the Italian blue signs said make a right. There was some consternation in car about which way to go with me saying to trust the GPS and the Chancellor saying the blue signs looked familiar.

I "won"

At first the new path seemed right, and just like the way into Sorrento with high stone walls and a view of the sea but soon the road got a little steeper than I recalled. I kept that little fact to myself and confidently pointed onward.

Then the road got a little narrower than I remembered. I kept that little fact to myself and confidently pointed onward.

Then it got even steeper. And narrower. Onward! Follow that blue line on the iPhone!

Next it was really steep, worse than San Francisco or Seattle if you've ever driven there.

I looked up from the GPS in time to see my passenger mirror scrape the wall and I saw that the drivers side was about to do the same and the Chancellor called Basta!. It was then that my family turned on me. That fast. One or two little mirror scrapes and they had lost all confidence in my abilities to navigate, handle important documents and determine further itineraries. For the rest of the trip there would be second guessing and back-seat-eye-rolls every time I said "make a left here".

Well, there was no way we were turning around here since there wasn't even the room to perform the Austin Powers turn-around we had used in the rent-a-car parking lot in Naples and besides, the nose of the French Beast was pointing towards the clouds. There was no choice but to coast backwards, riding the brake without scraping the walls until we got to an intersection/opening wide enough for a K-turn. Luckily it wasn't that far from the mirror-scraping spot.

Once turned around we headed back down the hill a short bit and asked someone else's Nonna how to get to Positano. Oldest son is fluent so he was elected spokesman. I'm pretty sure he told her that his father is an idiot and we needed to get to Positano but she was having none of it. I'm not sure what the heck happened but she was not happy and did not help us, screaming at us in Italian.

It was a little surreal but we decided to just go back to the wrong turn and follow signs from there.

Later over Scialatielli in Positano I checked out my GPS app trying to see what happened. A couple of config screens into the app I noticed a check mark next to an attribute called "bicycle mode" and it all made sense. I unchecked it.

Pictures from that day here.

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