The road to Hell

Well Kyle said don’t set the alarm last night and as he expected we woke up early anyway. I had filled the bottles and put all cool box items in the fridge and the ice pack in the freezer. It was handy to have a kitchen and this morning it made making my tea and coffee to go easier, though they had no kettle so out came my hotel size Russell Hobbs. I decided I needed both tea and coffee to go after getting far too dehydrated the other day. Those Costco travel mugs keep my drinks warm all day if I pre warm them. The coffee I didn’t drink is still warm enough to drink now after 8hrs.

I have to say I was very wary and pensive this morning. Kyle said I snapped at him just before we set off this morning. I said I didn’t but I did think to myself that I may have because I was nervous near to tears. I did wonder whose idea was it a number of times today and it’s not surprising.

Personally even though Kyle had pre loaded both his bike Garmin and my new Garmin sat nav with the same routes I knew that I would get lost somewhere. I put my teach yourself Italian cd1 in to refresh my memory of the basics I had learned at the weekend and off we went. There were police everywhere this morning, waiting with a white lollipop calling cars over. I can only assume they were breathalysing people. They were every couple of Miles along the road and I stopped seeing them about 11am.

And yes about 10 miles in after a lovely stretch of coast road, there was a junction. Basically the road split in four and I took the wrong one. Then it split again so I looked at the sat nav again and followed it. I ended up on a motorway north to Rome. Flipping hell. Trying to stay calm when all my senses say panic is difficult. So I got off at the first exit available, turned onto the road and pulled in to a bricky’s yard. I so so wish I had put my Europe map in. I love my maps and can navigate perfectly with them. The trouble with sat nav’s is they show you a route from A to B and with a map I would have known which way was south at least. Anyway I got Kyle’s route up on the sat nav and touched the waypoint called Ramp. It told me to go left back past the motorway exit so I did. Mm mom, this is familiar and yes it took me back into a coastal town to the coast road that I had got lost on the other end of. At least I knew I was on the right track again and could follow the sat nav’s route to Naples (some 120km ish away).

At the end of the Main Street just before the road hit the sea front it opened into a lovely square with a big fountain in the middle of the road. It was very pretty and I would have liked to stop to take a photo the first time but I didn’t want to lose Kyle. Well here I was again wishing I could stop to take a picture but I was now some 30 minutes behind Kyle and I know from last year it would take me ages to catch him up especially as the speed limits varied between 30-50km/hr so he can basically cycle as fast as I could go. So unfortunately for both me and you, I don’t have a photo of that lovely little square.

When I got to the road split again I went very slowly and tried the road to the left of the one I took before. Bingo! I was now on the right road 2km from Ramp. As it turned out, Ramp was just that. A ramp upwards where the road split again. I took the split to the left again and it was right. Now to catch Kyle. I was tempted to stop at pull ins to take a photo but didn’t, not until I had caught up, which eventually I did. Driving by the side of him I shouted out the window that I’d been on the road to Rome to which his response was “I thought so”. At the top of a big hill when I was in front of him I did manage to pull in a take a couple of photos which I will post here.

After this we played cat and mouse until there was 65km to go when I pulled into a little lane and parked up off the main road so Kyle could eat his lunch. I waited on the corner of the road so I could flag him down and I was getting starred at by cars and leered at by lorry drivers. I was feeling uncomfortable when I remembered the prostitutes. That’s what they do here. We had seen them on the outskirts of Rome and I had passed some today and now I was acting like one. Lurking on a street corner looking with anticipation at the on coming traffic. Ok, change of tactic. Intermittent moving from car to corner and a quick peer to see if he was coming. Which eventually he was.

After that it got vary hairy. Apart from my sat nav deciding to try to send me back to the start on the M’way, I had to wait and follow Kyle. The road surface was absolutely awful and the car was bumping around lots. But it was the area that was worse. You know when you enter an area, you see the buildings are dilapidated and you feel very exposed and uncomfortable? Well this was one of those times. I was white, a woman, in an English car and to top it, I was on my own! Windows up and try not to stop, which is not really possible when I have to wait for Kyle. I wouldn’t have liked to be cycling either to be honest but he could cycle fast if he needed.

And the prostitutes again. This time all colour, sizes and ages not just young girls. There were loads all along that road into Naples. Pairs, singles, boy&girls which Kyle has now informed me were the pimps. Even he said he is shocked by them. We got to pozzuoli on route which is where tonight’s hotel is. The traffic was awful on a Saturday lunchtime but Kyle kindly waited for me as it was comp,eye chaos. If I could have i would have filmed it. It was like one of those Police Camera Action programmes where the near misses are by a whisker and all road/driving rules are ignored.

At least we went past the port where we catch the ferry on the morning. There was a market on and the cars were all jostling for position, no wonder their cars have all got bumps, scratches and broken wing mirrors! Kyle took the wrong road this time but I followed him anyway and we went round one way greets until we came back to the market. Nobody would let me out to turn onto he road. They all look but there is no polite wave or nod to say they will let you out. I’m not sure yet if its an Italian thing, or it’s because I’m a woman driver or because I’m driving a foreign car. Or all of the above, in which case I had better get used to it. I could just pull out like they do but I don’t want to bump the car or have someone bump Kyle’s bike on the back. I felt a bit pathetic having edged out to turn left, giving my best ‘ I’m an English girl on my own please let me out’ when car after car looked hen drove past. And the Italians love heir car horns and are not the most patient. So it wasn’t long before there were horns being blown behind me. Finally someone let me out and I turned only to slam the brakes n from th couple who stepped out in front of he car! For gods sake!

Finally I got out, only to turn off left a few yards up the road, following Kyle up a hill away from he madness. The last bit to Naples was narrow, filthy and cobbled. So much so that I recalled a time when we were on a family holiday touring Europe and were driving in Paris. Those roads were cobbled and it wasn’t long before my dad lost his temper and shouted “get me out of here” as his scimitar was being shaken to bits. Thats how it was today. The road was barely wide enough for two cars but runners ran in the road towards me so you had no choice but to swerve past them. There was a perfectly good pavement! Cars came at you two abreast as it seems the sole aim of drivers it to get past the car in front, whatever the danger, rules or road size.

Having aged 10years since we began this morning I was glad when Kyle decided to call it a day a little short of the end. It had been very hot in the car and I had mostly not had the air con on trying to help fuel consumption. I made his protein shake, took his photos and off we went. He is quite testy after his rides so when we couldn’t go where the sat nav told us I had to put it on mute because he was on the ceiling. His comments about the woman’s sat nav voice were quite telling. “When will you women learn that if you tell me more than once I stop listening and if you keep repeating I will do the opposite!”

Kyle had put “Naples s a shit hole” in as a google search before we had left andbhevwas not surprised to find a list of sites with these words. I expected dirty and boy it is. In fact I am amazed at the amount of litter and crap about. Not just Naples but everywhere. Littering is far worse than UK and that takes some doing doesn’t it? Navigating around Naples hilly one way streets was interesting. Every junction has a series of beggars and people selling stuff. They lean into through the windows of cars with them open but like I had all day, ours were shut. Didn’t stop them trying. I hate that. Especially when some leather skinned old lady wipes your headlights with a filthy rag then puts her and to you for payment. It’s very sad. Anyway the point is, Kyle’s google search was right. Don’t ever go there. It’s horrid.

So Kyle’s expectation of our hotel was pretty low. I booked all the Italian ones. He said I was to do it so if he hotel was not good then he wouldn’t be to blame. I did choose carefully and didn’t always go for he cheapest one if it looked iffy. Even so it was a nice surprise to find our hotel was nestled into the cliffside with lovely views. Our view from the room is the back, but this is a small price to pay as there is a terrace for guests. I sat in the sunshine writing the first bit of this blog. Lovely. Finishing early without having a 3hr drive to the next place is a very rare luxury.

I had checked us in with my only phrase in Italian I know at the moment. Took the bags up to the room and went back down to sort things with reception while Kyle showered. Once he was fed I was able to wash up, shower, wash his kit from today and wash and sterilise his bottles in Milton before being able to go and sit on the terrace. So I think I deserved that 15 minutes.

Kyle came out to me with the camera to take photos of me blogging and to show me his sunburn. Oh boy I failed in my duties there. I was so worried about the roads etc i never thought about sun cream. Now for after sun. He tells me he knew he was burning but didn’t say as he wanted a tan. A tan. It’s red! Flip flip flip. So as for a holiday. I had 15minutes and I am grateful for it as the weather isn’t supposed to be as nice tomorrow.

Hey ho. Back down to the car for the medical bag then. Ten other topic of discussion today is fuelling up. I hate not having much fuel when we are away. You don’t know where the next fuel stop is and here they are very crafty about pricing. The fuel price on the stands outside stations is Not what you end up paying. That price is for the self service pump. That would be ok as we always self serve at home, but no. Here you have to have certain cards to do this and the machine doesn’t have English version like they do in France. So you have to go to the man stood by the pump and he gets your fuel. You have to tell him how much before he starts which is a gamble. If you say too much and the car fills before you reach your suggested sum, then you lose out. No change. So it’s a case of putting some not all. And to be served means the fuel is much dearer. About €1.80 not the advertised €1.67/ltr! You are got hook line and sinker.

Anyway, time to sort my boy some more to eat. We have breakfast included in our room rate and if we get down there just after 7am we will be able to have some. That would be a very nice change as normally there is no time even if it is included. Kyle always has his breakfast of course but washing up, packing the food bag and getting out as soon as possible means we don’t take breakfast in the hotel. This is exactly the reason I have Tea to go. I have my morning tea on route and breakfast is a biscuit or something. Tomorrow is the Ferry to Ischia and it should be quite pleasant. It is a Sunday though so we will see what is open. The ferry is at 9.40 so I guess we are aiming to leave here at 8.30am. Think of me when you are having your Sunday lie in.

P.s. when is Eurovision? Is it tonight? I am so gutted I am going to miss it I have put a load of Eurovision songs on my playlist. Sally Sellers will confirm it. I subjected her to Viva la Diva, Kenny Logan and Bonnie Tyler on the way to work the other week. Poor girl. I love Eurovision. Let me know. Xx

4 Responses

  1. Eurovision next week with final on saturday. And the most appropriate ever euro song for anyone involved in a bike ride? The splendid and grossly underrated 70s Finnish entry by Freddie and Friends – “Pump Pump.”

  2. Yes – “see Naples and die” was obviously said before a million people came along to spoil the beauty! It may not be a holiday but it’s certainly an adventure. Enjoy the ferry ride x

  3. Really good updates! I’ve been to Naples before to watch the football and you actually made it sound nicer than it is!

    The bit about getting funny looks from drivers and leered at by lorry drivers made me giggle (sorry) as I can imagine exactly what you were like!!

    Blog is really good, keep updating it!

  4. I’m getting into this a little late – will do better for the next tour!!

    Sat nav problems and Kyle’c comments remind me of an ex-colleague’s term for the gadget: NAG NAV! 🙂

    The horrid traffic sounds very much like India (I’m sure there are rules but only two important ones – toot your horn if you want to do anyhting and give way if they’re bigger than you!)