Yesterday, my friends and I had grand plans of renting vespas and driving them to the hot springs. We had visions of cruising through Tuscany in the sunshine on our vespas like true Italians and then spending the day lounging around in the hot, therapeutic waters of the hot springs. So basically, a day of a paradise. That’s simple right?
We woke up bright and early to go rent the vespas. However, the lady on the phone for the rental company was really hesitant to let us rent vespas because apparently there was a really bad vespa crash the previous weekend so she was worried about us. So we started looking at options for a car, but all of them were manual. Then somehow we came upon a minivan and decided it would be perfect.
….Besides the fact that this was also manual and only 2 people in our group knew how to drive stick… barely. They were confident though, so we rented the minivan and hopped right in. How hard could it be? (haha)
All was well until we tried to get out of the parking garage. It took a good 10 minutes of stalling and barely moving until we finally got it going (the hope was still strong). We made it ALLLL the way to the exit of the garage and were about to turn onto the street when it stalled again. A line started forming behind us, and of course everyone was yelling and wouldn’t stop honking because Italians are quite passionate on the road.
Finally, a French girl in the car behind us got out and drove the car around the corner for us. She parked it on the side of the street and half of our group went off the go talk to the rental company and tell them that we couldn’t take the car anymore. Me and 2 friends were left in the car to chill, without the keys.
Then…. a giant tour bus came. It could NOT fit past our car. So of course, the driver began honking like crazy. Because that solves the problem, right? We kept telling him that we didn’t have keys and we couldn’t move, but it didn’t help at all. Everyone the stores around us started coming out and the next 10 minutes consisted of many Italians yelling at us, telling us to move, being really confused, having pictures taken of us, Italian men opening the car door, and threats to call the police… (being in the way on the road is a big issue here). The bus driver finally just let everyone on his bus off, and there was 2 more busses behind him…
Finally we got ahold of our friends and the guy who rented the car to us zoomed up on his motorcycle and jumped in the car and drove it off. I was the only one left in the car so I just sat there bewildered and hoped we were going back to the parking garage…
Luckily we made it back, and we got all our money back, and we also got lots of laughs at us from our rental lady, haha. At this point, it was just funny now, even though it was a big bummer. It’s possible we may have a ticket if the bus driver called the police, but we’re hoping not!
So instead of the hot springs, we went and had a delicious 3 course meal for lunch with dessert because food always makes everything better.
Lessons learned: 1) Italians get irrationally feisty on the road. 2) You should probably have good experience driving stick when renting a manual car. 3) There’s no such thing as perfect-as-planned traveling..