Now I've found people in Europe drive a little fast, at least for my taste. This is complicated by the fact that we are driving on these small, winding mountain roads with little in the way of side barriers, so I drive even slower. For the record, Italy is very mountainous, though that's what makes it so beautiful and interesting. Either way, it wouldn't be so bad if we were all alone, but inevitably some driver pulls up behind me and isn't shy about letting me know that I'm driving too slow. They let me know this by pulling up right behind me and riding me. Talk about frustrating, though I can't complain, it's their country. They pull off these amazingly dangerous passes around blind turns and at night, it's pretty crazy. If there's a bright side to it, it's that I don't really have to do anything, they just go around me and take their own lives in their hands. It's disconcerting, but c'est la vie.
Now we passed these things throughout our trip, but never really gave much thought to actually using them, and it was kind of amusing. They have these self-service kiosks where you pay first and the pump, not completely different than what you see in America, though in the US, each pump has a pay slot, while out here in Italy, there's one central kiosk where you pay for all the pumps. Fortunately, there is an English option, but the darn thing wouldn't take our credit card. I tried my debit card, but no luck, either. I had to employ the assistance of one of our family computer/technical experts (i.e., our kids). In an ideal world, we would simply put in the card and fill the tank, but since it wouldn't take the card, we had to feed Euros into the machine and pump, then check the fuel level, and if need be, put in more Euros. We ended up doing this three times, and even then, I wasn't sure if it was completely filled up, but we went with it. As it turns out, we were fine, the rental car company didn't even check, they just asked us if we'd filled the tank.
The final piece of the puzzle was returning the car, and for this, we had to locate a small airport just outside of the port town of Ancona, where we were to catch a ferry to Croatia. We managed to get there but then had to figure out how to return a rental car. At American airports, they spell this out to you in big, clear letters, but here, it was not the case. Luckily, we'd rented from Hertz, so we managed to find Hertz signs and parked the car accordingly. Then we returned the documents and keys, the people spoke English, and we were on our way.
For the record, the rental car people were super friendly, and they were by far the busiest car rental. I was told this was because they were the nicest people, and I learned this from the Frenchman next to me with whom I conversed with in French. How cool is that? The conversation started because I thought he was trying to cut in front of me in line, but then we became buddies. I love when that happens.
Until the next time, thanks (merci) for reading, and merci de R pour les pics.