Today I got into our rental which I don’t actually know the brand or type except it is bloody fantastic. It lets me play my music through USB and it turns lights off automatically so that is all one really wants from a car, so winning really. Driving on a Sunday in Italy, especially where we are located we saw little to no cars, which was great for me as we drove up vast and winding roads that often times had massive potholes on the side you were on causing you to need to drive on the wrong side but also I would slow down to admire the stunning views of the Mountains that if anyone had been behind me would not have been so happy about.
For the most part, I love Google and I love Google Maps. Very rarely have they steered me wrong but occasionally I will be using Maps and wonder WHY ARE YOU TAKING ME THIS WAY GOOGLE, WHY?! Today was one of those days. After driving 40 minutes and listening to Adele on repeat, Sean and I arrived at one of the entrances to Gran Sasso National Park where to our dismay we couldn’t really hike or walk because of the snow on the ground. So we treated it like Skyline Drive and stopped every few miles to admire the view. We went off GPS and ended up in a small town which let me tell you, for a Sunday in Italy was BOOMING. People were walking around but more surprisingly, there were ceramic shops (this area we discovered is famous for its pottery so we will be visiting it once more) but not a single food shop. Priorities right?
Anyways, we decided to go up this winding road that we saw waterfall was near and we waited for a dog to move out of the road and we turned the corner where we saw what was clearly a bridge and guardrail but it was abandoned. I put the car in park and we wandered around what used to have been a road that just one day stopped being a road. It felt very surreal. We opened the trunk, ate our packed lunch of sandwiches and apples and admired one of the peaks of the mountain. It was truly weird but cool moment to be parked halfway on a bridge with water below us and mountains around us. Sean even got out his ukulele and played a song. It was cute and lame and I loved every minute of it.
Getting back in the car, I was delighted to hear from Google Maps that it would only take 50 minutes to get home after our little detour. 1 and half hours later we did reach our final destination but not before discovering the bad and the ugly of the mountain roads.
Italy is not known for its infrastructure and often roads outside of big cities are full of potholes and it’s not uncommon for one side of the road to be completely unusable with a strip of paper blocking it, yet this doesn’t deter the speeding at all. I am easing myself back into driving after not doing it for a better part of a year and with Sean in the passenger seat, I feel a little more responsible about well his life and all so I go slow and I drive all hunched over. In the region that we are in, it has been impacted not only by the two earthquakes but also natural landslides so often times you see this reflected in the roads but also in the houses, some are completely destroyed. It is a gentle reminder of how far this region has come but also how much it is stuck from being acutofff area. It is part of the charm but also it makes you appreciate highways but also the road safety laws that I find myself complaining about.
Needless to say after 30 minutes of feeling like I was driving closer to the mountains and not away from it on roads that would go from cement to rocks to mud to snow to back to road before repeating again, my mind was getting exhausted and my foot was hurting rom brake, speed, brake ever few seconds. We took yet another left and I hear Google Maps tell me drive straight for 3 kms when I take I go around a bend and ALL OF A SUDDEN THERE IS NO MORE ROAD. Luckily, Grandma Amanda was driving so there was no slamming on the brakes but a gentle stop. Full disclousre for the next minute, I had a quick shutdown of my mind. A million what ifs went through my mind… what if it has been night, what if I had been speeding, what If I had been looking somewhere else. It scared me. It also reminded me that Google doesn’t always know best.
And that’s it. We made it home, clearly and we weren’t close to dying or anything like that but it’s a funny (kind of) story and it certainly makes for a memorable one. Also, I realize that maybe I shouldn’t always take Google for granted.
Any of your own road stories you’d care to share? Or has Google steered you wrong once or twice? Tell me below.