Sunday, August 19, 2007

Tootling around Tuscany

Perhaps so much “tootling” as “tearing” around Tuscany where 'Fangio' (you may know him as 'Boak') is concerned! He’s been at it again, fearlessly chewing up the miles as we zipped up to Assisi today. It’s a three hour drive each way, about half of it on a wide straight autostrada and the rest winding through the beautiful Tuscan and Umbrian countryside.

Assisi was a photographer’s paradise and I went quite snap-happy as I collected plenty of photographic material for the stitcheries on The Italian Job.

The Church of St Francis - and its magnificent rose window below.

We wandered around licking gelati and checking out the shops selling exquisite embroidery (Assisi work) and ceramics to die for, but waaaaaaaaay beyond our budget. A huge plate (not this one here, though) I spotted in a window had a price tag of 900 Euros!!!

However, ten minutes after Fangio drove out of the car park at Assisi it slowly dawned on us that we were travelling in the wrong direction. Not one to stop immediately, ask directions or turn back, Fangio drove on (hoping the road might miraculously take a U turn and begin to go in the opposite direction?). Not until we were 50 km from Assisi, and well on the way towards the other coast of Italy’s boot, did he execute Plan B, but by then we were thoroughly enjoying our proverbial “scenic route”.

If it hadn’t been for our unscheduled detour we might never have been pulled over by the Polizia.

Our hearts raced. Had Fangio been exceeding the speed limit? Never! (ahem…) Did they have RBT here in Italy? He’d at least be squeaky clean if this were the case.

The officer stepped out from the roadside and waved a paddle at us.

With infinite cool Fangio slowed the car and nudged the indicator. The windscreen wipers went into a frantic slip slapping!

Even before Fangio produced his International Driver’s Licence it was crystal clear to the officer that what he had here were a couple of nervous foreigners – and he played it up.

For what seemed like 5 minutes he flipped back and forwards through the licence, checking and rechecking Fangio’s photo before finally telling us we didn’t have our headlights fully on, as required here even in daylight, and letting us proceed.

We drove off ever-so sedately. Then we collapsed with laughter!

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