Long Driving Day in Italy

May 19

Before leaving Teresa’s I walked to Caffe’ Augusto where I remembered having delicious cannoli and cappuccino last year with my sister-in-law Monica.

Sicilian cookies

I couldn’t leave Sicily without a cannoli so I bought one and an assortment of Italian cookies to leave for Teresa. I was on the road by 8:15, stopped to buy gas for more than $9 a gallon, and then headed towards Sue’s hotel to pick her up. Driving in the upper section of Taormina which is the touristy part, is challenging and finding a parking spot is even more of a process. It was good I left early.

By 9:15 I had picked up a well rested Sue and we were on our way back to the mainland of Italy. We had to cross the strait of Messina again on the ferry, and I figured it would be a five hour drive, barring any detours.

Port of Messina-Mt Etna Smoke in background

Well, needless to say there were plenty of delays, the first being finding the dock. Apparently there are two different ferry companies on two different docks and the GPS took us to the wrong one. After about a half hour we eventually found the right place and crossed over into Reggio Calabria and were on the autostrada. Did I mention that prior to getting on the actual autostrada, we were on a detour of non highway roads for about an hour.

One other small curveball was a stop by the Italian police. I thought they were stopping the car in front of me who was going so slowly, and they did, but actually they stopped me too. I did not know why but was very glad I had the right “doumenti” when the Italian-speaking police officer asked for them. I handed over my passport, driver’s license and International driver’s license. He realized I was “la turista” and after pointing out that I was trying to pass on a single line, he kindly let me go and said goodbye in English with a smile. It was my lucky day since I was actually in the wrong.

What should have taken six hours took ten and we arrived at Hotel Olimpico near the Amalfi Coast and Salerno just before dark, tired and hungry.

The hotel was absolutely beautiful and the hotel staff could not have been nicer. It was a family-run business and they spoke excellent English as well as Italian. They had a restaurant which was open till 10 and once we checked in we headed straight for it. It was a little too cool to eat outside but the indoor restaurant was lovely.

After a long day of driving this was a welcome sight. With Sue’s injured arm (which later she would discover was actually broken in two places), she was not able to drive. I did all the driving and this was the longest I had ever driven at one time, so we were both tired.

Lasagna at Hotel Olimpico
Cotoletta alla Milanese at Hotel Olimpico
Pasta pomodoro at Hotel Olimpico

A friendly Giuseppe with a nickname of Peppino was our waiter, and after a glass of wine for me and a Pina Colada for Sue we were able to relax. Sue ordered lasagna and I had pasta pomodoro and then mentioned cotoletta alla Milanese (breaded veal cutlet). Although I did not see it on the menu, Giuseppe gladly told me that they could make it for me. It was so delicious I surprised myself by being able to eat everything. After dinner we called it a night and had no problems sleeping in our luxurious accommodations.

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