Monday, February 05, 2007

A Two-Way Street...sort of

It's time to leave my view and household appliances behind and head outdoors...

Driving in Italy is a different beast than driving in the U.S. It takes courage, know-how, and lots of luck. Especially luck.

I took this photo in a nearby village from my car this morning (not while driving...I'm not that coordinated). Would you believe this is a two-way street? The village was built hundreds of years ago, so the road is wide enough for a horse and cart--not two cars side-by-side.

And it's so curvy that you can't see the end of the street. So how does one navigate this stretch of road? If you're Italian, you do the following:

1. Maintain your speed as you approach the first curve...maybe even speed up if you're feeling lucky.

2. Hug the right wall and don't worry if there are any pedestrians around the curve--they'll (probably) get out of the way by pressing themselves up against the wall and sucking in their breath when you whiz by.

3. If you meet a car coming in the opposite direction, screech to a halt and hope the other driver does the same.

4. Eye the other driver until one of you decides to back up and let the other pass. (I must admit I have no idea how they decide who has to back up...I'm pretty sure there's some secret signal I'm missing).

5. When the way is clear, step on the gas.

6. Repeat at next curve.

The only ones who always have the right of way are bus drivers...they skip the "screech to a halt" part, leaving you about .729th of a second to throw the gears into reverse and get out of the way, lest they mow you over.

I think I'll stay home today...


Jessica Burkhart said...

What a great blog! :) I look forward to reading more.

TinaFerraro said...

Oh, Natalie, I loved your take on Italian driving. And you are brave for doing it!


Natalie said...

Thanks for stopping by, Jessica!

Thanks Tina...and would you believe I even have my Italian driver's license? That's a post for another day... :-)