First leg of the France/Italy journey

Old Dec 24th, 2022, 07:52 AM
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So, here we are at this Airbnb perched on a hillside overlooking the Gulf of Naples. It was one heck of a drive to get here; a single lane, winding dirt track that has bushes scraping the car on one side and an oh-so-steep cliff on the other side - sans guard rail, naturally. In one of the reviews for this place, the guest wrote: "unless you are a pilot, DON'T try to park in the upper driveway. Just park down below and walk up". Well, that decided it for up...up the driveway I went! Steep, narrow, and slippery wet cobblestones. Get to the top and you have to make a quick, sharp left into the parking spot, which has NO RAILING ON IT, so if you overshoot, you go down a 100-foot drop-off. Yikes. The keys were not where I had been told they would be. We couldn't get in. It was raining. There is absolutely no internet service, because I can't get in to use the WIFI. And what little phone reception there was proved to be intermittent at best. I had to call the host at least 5 times in order to finally get through long enough for her to explain that she was out of the country, and the housekeeper had forgotten we were coming. She had to contact a nearby (20 minutes) relative to let us in. He arrived on a dirt bike which he said was the only way he would go up the driveway. Ha!
The router had died, so we had no internet, and no phone. AND THEN, after he had left, we discovered that we had no water. I had to stand out in the rain at the edge of the cliff in order to call the host again. Somewhere, a pipe had burst, and her (uncle?) couldn't get back until the next day. I loaded up all the pots from the kitchen into the car, drove back down the road to a nearby hotel. I used their garden hose to fill the pots, drove BACK up the mountain, and we heated water on the stove for our "necessaries". There was, however, a fireplace in the living room (with plenty of firewood), so I started a fire, opened a bottle of Prosecco for the wife, Brunello for me, unfolded the sofa bed, and enjoyed a quiet evening in front of the blaze. We bowed out of that place and went elsewhere for the next several nights, making day trips to Positano and Amalfi. I absolutely LOVE driving those roads along the coast. But I have to admit, simultaneously driving and sightseeing is a bit nerve-racking - for passengers.
Heading out to spend the rest of the week-end with friends and family. I will conclude with the Rome portion of the journey after the holiday. Merry Christmas everybody!!
worldwidewinetours is offline  
Old Dec 24th, 2022, 08:36 AM
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At least the driver gets to choose places to stop suddenly for a panoramic view. As we all know (especially as former children), when passengers ask to stop stop stop for a view, you are at least 700 meters past the point you wanted IF the driver even respects your wishes.
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Old Dec 24th, 2022, 11:02 AM
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I've seen autofill put in a different name, or in France, frustratingly some will not fill in the closest variant of a place name (there are often many duplicates, folllowed by a place name like "sur mer"). But I've actually had the opposite experience in Europe with GPS and Google/Waze -- it is more accurate with ancient roads and with helping you pinpoint which one you are actually on. The paper map can be very challenging if you've lost your place in the map -- it is way easier with GPS and with identifying details available electronically (like location, street views, business names, geographic features).

I've loved your stop at the chevre farm -- love finding small producers like that.

I've stayed in lovely agroturismos in the valley below Montepulciano, not far from Montacino (I prefer the former as a village, the latter of course for wine). It was so memorable to have dinner among the vineyards with the nearby wine.
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