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Published: June 25th 2011
Strapped in and ready to go
It was a relief to get out of the Godfather guy's jalopy.
Having said goodbye to Godfather guy, it was lovely to sit in our own car and set off towards sunny Sorrento. We were keen to sort out our technology issues, so I worked out there was an Apple shop right on the way, in Naples. We had no phone that worked, and we needed one - along with a sim card for the i-pad, and a car charger for the times we might be camping and have limited access to a power point.
Although traffic was a little scary, I managed to get us to the Naples exit, and that was where the fun began. The streets in Naples are very narrow, and we were in a brand new car and driving on the opposite side of the road. It's a little like being pregnant and not knowing quite how big your belly is until you bump into someone.
Anyway, we knocked the side mirror on something and I nearly had kittens. As it was impossible to park, Frank dropped me off to find the Apple store, with the aim of driving around the block until he saw me again. I did very well, buying everything we
Newbies on the Autostrada
The white lines are just a suggestion....
needed AND a new Italian bargain mobile phone, then made my way back to the street corner to wait for Frank and the children. I waited, and waited. The afternoon light was fading and I found myself waiting beside a pile of garbage bags outside the most magnificent cake shop. Here the dilemma began. If I went inside to purchase the delectable rum baba with our name on it, what was the chance Frank would drive past at that precise moment? I was starting to worry, and stress eating was looking good.
Despite being starving, I did the right thing and kept waiting, eyes peeled. I even forgot to take a photo of the rum baba. After a good 40 minutes of imagining the worst, Frank pulled up with a gorgeous young boy in the passenger seat, and a few nasty scrapes right down the side of our brand spanking new Peugot. "Daddy hit some scooters!" Isabel said dramatically as I opened the car door in the middle of Neapolitan peak hour.
Apparently the block in real life was not quite as easy as it had looked on the map. Wide streets turned into narrow lanes, and Frank
The infamous street corner in Naples. There's still a rum-baba there with my name on it.
collected a few angry scooter riders as he tried to squeeze through. As a mob surrounded the car, shouting at the Frenchman to get out, Frank protested loudly in English that he was Australian. (Our car has French number plates, and we had no idea the Italians hate the French so much). That was when the young boy came to his aid and smoothed things over with the mob, then jumped into the car to direct Frank back to the infamous street corner.
He wouldn't accept any thanks or cash, so within a few minutes we were once again on our way. Peak hour in Italy is much later than at home, as shops are open very late each night, so sadly, we had to negotiate Naples in bumper to bumper traffic in order to get to the Autostrada again.
A few wrong turns and an hour later, we passed a fruit stall and stopped to get something for the children, who hadn't eaten since Rome. The cherries, peaches and apricots looked fantastic, and I also decided to get a punnet of strawberries. As I picked up the punnet I heard a mighty yell: "NO! LADY!
Strawberries, 3 Euro.
I picked up one punnet and was yelled at. NO! LADY! 3 Euro, TUTTI!!!! It was 3 Euro for the WHOLE TRAY of strawberry punnets. Fantastico!
3 Euro TUTTI!
Well, the best news we'd had all day was that I had to buy the whole tray of strawberries for 3 Euro, which made everyone in the car very happy.
Our adventures weren't over quite yet though. As we had wasted so much time in Naples, it was now nearly dark, and pitch black by the time we were on the Sorrento road along with all the speed-hungry Maseratis and Porsches. I may well have shortened Frank's life by several years after overshooting a few turns which resulted in him having to do 3 point turns on a road only metres wide into oncoming traffic. We did make it alive though, and actually, a few days later it seems quite funny.
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