It didn’t make sense for us all to pack up our stuff and cart the kids and our suitcases along 38km of bus, then Metro, then taxi to collect the motorhome from the opposite side of Rome from where we were staying, plus we would need to cart car seats for the kids as well, so I set out early to collect the motorhome myself and drive it back to the campsite before we had to check out of the cabin. I had been to the place already a few days earlier to inspect the van before signing the rental agreement so there was no problem finding it, I even forwent the taxi and walked the couple of km from the Metro stop which I had also done the first time and then hitched a lift back on the back of a scooter (that was an experience: I have hired scooters in Italy before, but to be on the back of one through the middle of Rome being driven by an Italian is quite different, definitely gets the blood pumping).
The drive back to the campsite through (or more so around) Rome in the motorhome was calm and easy, I have done plenty of driving on the opposite side of the road already this trip, this thing is just a lot bigger, but not dissimilar to Dad’s old motorhome which we drove from England to Rome in 2009.
The lack of my trusty navigator, Skye, was made up for thankfully by a GPS lent to me by my good Mate, Nathan, who was even good enough to update the Maps before we left so that it has already been of use to us in England and Greece and even worked in Turkey (I wish I had realised that before our first taxi ride adventure!). I didn’t realise how much of a life saver the GPS would be until I did pick up the family in the motorhome and we learned that Tess intends to scream her way around Italy in the back unless being heavily, and tirelessly, distracted by her mother, so I will be without Skye’s navigating skills all trip, this is a great disappointment as Skye is a fantastic navigator.
My reliance on the GPS, which we have never bothered using in Europe before, has now become so strong that I had a minor heart attack in our second week, between Assisi and Florence, when ‘She’ (the lady in the GPS) indicated that ‘Her’ battery was dead, despite being plugged in, and ‘She’ was no longer going to assist me in getting to Camping Michelangelo! I was yelling at ‘Her’ to tell ‘Her’ that ‘She’ was plugged into the cigarette lighter socket and that if ‘She’ quit we had no maps with us, while frantically prodding all the plugs etc. looking for a loose connection, before realising that the coins Tess had jammed in the cigarette lighter socket that I had spent 10 minutes tweezering out the night before, had been replaced with more coins which shorted the lighter and blew the fuse during the course of the drive.
We pulled into a service station and consulted the vehicles manual, which is only in Italian, to find that through the combination of cab, living quarters and alarms etc., it has three different locations for its 74 fuses! So the option to pull out each fuse and check if it was burned out was not appealing. There was a ‘fuse map’ but we could not find any words similar to those we knew for cigarette, fire, heat, light etc. Skye had the common sense to flick through the other pictures and find one of the dashboard, from which we matched a word near the location of the lighters, named something like ‘accessory socket’ but in Italian of course, and so we found the burned fuse, bought a new one, made the GPS ‘lady’ happy and continued back on the stress-free course with ‘Her’ assistance.
So, driving in Italy is not a problem at all, but navigating through Italy this time around will have to be aided by GPS and as long as the GPS ‘lady’ is happy I am sure it will continue to be easy and stress-free, providing Tess stays out of the ‘Cockpit’!