For our Italian holiday I have rented a car, it was a lovely new, very shiny, fiat panda. Leaving the airport I was the first person out of the multi-story car park and also had a satnav so I became the lead car, even though the other 2 drivers had previous wrong side of the road driving.
It started off fine, getting to the correct motorway, stopping off at the services for water to replace the excruciating amount lost through my sweaty palms, apparently “stop” signs are optional, lane control is optional, indicating is optional and the speed limit, a minimum target to be at least 50kmh above at all times. Once we left relatively safety off the motorway it was time to find the villa, still leading, with Sophie’s incredible navigation and quick thinking to only point out road signs once we were passed them, we started to climb.
Now the Panda showed its biggest flaw, instead of an engine it has been running off of about 4 hamsters that were all now very tired. Foot to the floor in 2nd gear and the car is still slowing down. Crawling slowly but steadily reaching our target was frustrating but doable. This was when we reached a lovely steep drop, after pulling over for a quick consultation we decided it would be best to go round the unmade cliff road. Turning round the corner we stated a very steep climb and just kept going. Dragging the car up in 2nd, sometimes 1st gear, the road quickly became just gravel and large boulders. After 15 minuets of climbing the satnav said we had arrived at our destination, and unless we were staying in a tree-house it was obviously wrong. We continued up a little further to a restaurant at the top of this mountain, there we tried to explain where we were looking to get too and were told the correct way to go… Right back down the mountain. Now in the middle of our convoy my foot never left the brake, repeatedly locking the wheels and just sliding to a halt, only a few times contemplating removing my seat belt ready to bail out.
We eventually arrived back at the bottom, our passengers leaping from the car to kiss the tarmac road.
Sophie assures me the views were incredible and that there was lots of wildlife to see, however all I had seen of it was 2 inches in front of the bonnet to dodge massive potholes and huge rocks that would of ended the holiday and my deposit on the car very quickly.
After this ordeal, arriving at the villa was one last steep gravel driveway. Foot to the floor was climbed and arrived at the top. We had arrived and the Panda was in one piece, if a little dirty.