It’s only been three days since I last posted but it seems much longer than that. I feel as though I have been sucked into a back hole but am now having the impossible good fortune of emerging out the other side. Horrible cold, coughing, sneezing, blowing. I’d say “you get the picture” but I hope you don’t; it isn’t a pretty one. And enough about health except to say that we have turned a corner.
So, let’s recap the last few day’s events:
After our flight from hell, well, actually from Vienna but you know what I mean, we collapsed in our Fiumicino hotel room and didn’t see the light of day until Friday morning, December 15, when we rendezvoused with Joan for breakfast.
She’d had a wonderful week in Rome, soaking in the sights for the first time. She was in radiant good health. Okay, I know I said enough about health but this is an important piece of information to fully understand what a very good friend Joan is. Instead of turning her napkin into a face mask the moment she saw and heard us, she acting as if nothing were the matter.
Michael and I walked to the car rental office in the terminal and got our car for the next two weeks: an Audi of some sort. Very nice, an upgrade in fact. Drove the block to the hotel and began to shoehorn all of our luggage in, which we did accomplish. Out onto the highway and headed northeast to Narni. It wasn’t a particularly nice day; we had lots of rain but it was Italian rain and that made all the difference.
We arrived in Narni mid day. Michael, full of confidence from having done this several times in the past, drove right up into the heart of the historic center in order to wend his way through the labyrinthine alley ways of that part of town. The object being to get the car right outside the door to our building.
He made only one very small miscalculation and turned one tiny street too soon. This would not have turned into a BIG problem but for the fact that the front passenger side tire hit a marble protuberance on the corner of a building on the corner of the street. The protuberance was only about eight inches tall and wide, which is why he didn’t see it, but he had the great bad fortune of hitting it just right causing the tire to lose its seating on the wheel. Instant flat tire.
Of course, he didn’t notice the flat tire until he had backed down the 100 feet to our front door. For those of you who have been to Narni, you know that the street I’m talking about is barely one car wide and fairly steep. It was pouring rain. We off loaded our gear and then Michael, good man that he is, went back to the car to try to figure out what to do.
He drove it back up the 100 feet to the junction of the tire eating alley and our alley and found an almost level place to park the car in a tiny piazza. After puzzling over the tools in the photo above, he shook his head and came back to the apartment. He managed to get ahold of the English roadside help line for Hertz and within a couple of hours a guy in a GREAT BIG tow truck showed up.* At that point, several old guys from the surrounding buildings came out. After all, this was more excitement on Via dell’Asilo than they’d had in years.
The mechanic person had the tire off and the donut replacement tire back on in no time. I feel certain the the local old guys wished it had been something a bit more interesting.
The sad part for us was that we couldn’t just have the other tire repaired and put back on the car. It turns out that a flat tire requires replacing the car! And that meant we had to drive to Orvieto on Saturday to pick one up. We now have an Opel station wagon; no problem with baggage stowing with this vehicle but I doubt if Michael is going to want to drive it up to the building when it’s time for us to leave.
*He, too, smashed into the marble protuberance but did not mangle his tire.