Wednesday, 10 March 2010

2nd - 5 February 2010

Thanks to Eva we had a good night, good food, a hearty breakfast and a nice route partly on two lane roads but with a cheerful morning sun between rich snow covered mountains. Just before Innsbruck we picked up the motorway again and then quickly over the Brenner pass.
Then the sunshine finished ... as it seemed.
Each meter increase was accompanied by a reduction of light and an increase of snow threat. At the top it was no longer a threat. Until far in Italy all was white and became whiter, passed on in rain, much rain and much wind.

Near Venice TomTom was not completely updated so we have diverted a little bit and then we had to have paid the toll. Unfortunately we do not speak Italian. And unfortunately there is no instructions other than Italian on those automatic toll gates. The slip in ... .. (billet looks like it) now a slot for the credit card .... After all we must pay 3.50 Euro. "Here S, you can use my credit card" (you remain a gentleman).
Ehhh this slot looks for tickets .. and this seems for coins ..... Enthusiastic S presses M's card in between, while hard rain ravage her arm there in that deserted northern Italian countryside.
And then it stopped. No reassuring rattle of a printer that ensures that one slip comes back together with your plastic money card. No buzzer indicating that the payment is agreed. No happy swishing up of the bar. It remains silent.
S looks m in the face. "It's not coming back, nothing happens.
Fortunately, the red stop button is international.
"Prego?" sounds the squeaky speaker. "We need your help ', we yell simultaneously with an undertone of panic.
Is there bigger doomsday scenario possible, to already loose your credit card on the second day of your 4 months trip? In your mind you see the boat cheerfully make sail, leaving us at the dock of Venice, where we have to wait three weeks to the emergency service of the ABN-Amro for a new card and you can just hope they don't sent Gerrit Zalm personally to hand it over ceremonially, because you just can't take that right now.
Fortunately the young Italian duty officer of the Toll company understands our inconvenience and set off to help us. Buttoning his raincoat he oversees the situation, puts the red light on for our lane and closes it for all traffic. In our best "me tarzan - you jane' - English we explain what is going on. The boy looks not understanding to the machine. And he looks at us. Since .... there is no slot. Credit cards have the same slot as the receipt. Ohhh, but our card is there ... No, can not .. impossible.
He gets behind in the toll. Soon There rolls out a voucher. That we have to take. It is the voucher that we have to take to the post office, to pay the toll .....
OK, we will, now our credit card ...
S, has to move the car to the shoulder, M waits at the gate. The boy crawls in behind.
There is serious work. The entire device is unscrewed. From outside one can see that there are two different devices to each other. The top for the coins, the lower for the notes. Hermetically sealed cabinets likely only to be opened by the bank. "No card" sounds from behind the cabinets. "Has to be!" M calls, while he looks between the grooves through the holes of the toll cabin. The shiny boxes are not going to give up their secrets and the young man moves slowly back into place.
"Stop" "Arreto" "I see it".
"No, its not here".
"Yes, I see it. Its Between the two machines !"
And yes, the nice young man wriggles the card from in between, shaking his head. Loosing a credit card by putting it between two machines? .. He had a story to tell tonight.
Ashamed we left the toll road.
It was still raining.

And it kept raining.
One day we have to come back to Venice to see it dry. Despite the treats of the impending carnival, which starts here one weeks earlier than in the Netherlands, we found a hotel (Violente d'Oro) and from under the umbrella a, very average restaurant. I've eaten a better lasagna.

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