It was the morning of my first day in Italy, and I decided to take my camera with me

on

I was in a big tourist city with no traffic lights, which felt both exciting
and scary. The sun was shining brightly on my car, so I decided to take my
camera with me. I left it in the glove compartment and went straight to the
door of the car. I climbed in and was surprised to find it still warm. The
driver’s seat was pretty warm, and the heater was working too. It was an
amazing car, and I enjoyed driving it for a long time in the morning.

I was excited to drive in Italy.

I passed some beautiful narrow roads, and finally, found a traffic light at
the entrance of a city. I made my way down the narrow streets, which were
lined with beautiful old houses. They had a sort of medieval look (which I
have been seeing quite a bit in this country – the oldest buildings I have seen
so far are in the Piedmont region), with stone towers that looked like they
were from a castle, narrow windows and small balconies, and high walls that
looked like they could withstand a siege. I was in a very small city, but
I was happy to drive through it. What was surprising to me was that it was
not crowded at that time of the morning. I kept driving, then took my camera
out of the glove compartment and started snapping random shots that I could
have saved, but I thought that it was interesting to go for what I was
interested in most (the scenery), while also enjoying the experience of
driving around. All in all, it was a very relaxing and enjoyable way to begin
my trip.

The next hours were great. I passed a lot of small towns (all of which I
will write about in this blog), and all of them were so charming, and there I
was able to explore many different places by myself (or with my driver):

– A long narrow street full of small houses with lots of balconies.

– A tiny street full of little houses and some great old houses.

– A great open park full of trees and a lake, which made me want to spend
more time exploring that area.

It was amazing how much I wanted to drive, and how much I enjoyed driving
through all the little villages, and then into the larger cities. Sometimes,
there were tourists behind me, but they were really only interested if I
drove.

I visited several places that I have never been to in life, and that is a
testament: I want to try them again and again. Sometimes, I am even a bit
sarcastic when I say this about my own country, but I really enjoyed exploring
those places.

The next day was a big change of scenery, but at least I had some beautiful
places to pass through.

We started out with a stop over to Turin, which is about 3.4 hours from
Florence. We were met by a driver we knew who was working for the company we
had booked a ride with. I was able to pay him in cash right away, because we
do not have credit cards at home, and therefore we could have used my debit
card. It was important to me to pay him right away, because we had a driver
with us and we did not feel comfortable leaving him alone in a strange city.

The whole trip was very different from the one we had just completed. The
car was not as comfortable as I had expected it would be. I do not mean the
seats in the seats, but the rest of the overall structure of the car. I
could tell that the car did not fit properly, because there was nowhere for
the gearshift lever to go. I had to keep reminding my driver that he had to
keep the gears in the right position, while explaining to him where the
shifts should go on the steering wheel to make the car fit into the lane.
I also noticed that he was driving faster than he should have been able to
move. He probably was in a hurry because he had not yet paid his bill and it
was too late to start looking for a hotel – he had to get to Florence for a
meeting with his employer. We reached Turin and the driver dropped me at my
hotel, and we said goodbye (the nice thing about the taxi is that it is
usually not too expensive, and so we were able to leave a hefty tip for the
driver, which I greatly appreciated).

I got up, showered, and went down to breakfast by myself. The hotel
breakfast area was a small roundtable that was spread out in a lot of old
folding tables on one side of the room, and a long and narrow hallway on the
other. I sat on one of the tables and had my breakfast with a nice young
Italian woman who seemed to be really kind and nice. She was also very nice,
and that really opened my eyes – she understood that I did not fit in that
type of room, and she was not at all offended with me for it. She made me
feel very welcome and it felt great to sit in that area and get a good meal
with someone who seemed to like me.

In the afternoon, I went to the hotel pool and spent the afternoon there.
I was not very good at swimming, but after I had done my laps, I realized how
much I did miss it, and I was very relieved when I realized that there was
also a nice outdoor swimming pool in the hotel neighborhood. I also tried
the indoor one, but it did not feel as relaxing.

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