August. Whole Europe goes on vacation. TTAC’s insular correspondent Cammy Corrigan often mentioned that she would want to write the story of her first trip to The Continent. Last time we left her somewhere on the mountainous road between Nice, France and Ventimiglia, Italy. Let’s catch up with her …
As we were leaving France, my spirits started to lift. Even though I was waving goodbye to the beautiful beach, I saw the silver lining. I’d been to France many times before and was sick of it. I was sick of a country I didn’t like to begin with. But Italy was different. I’d never been to Italy. The closest I’d been to Italy was a Spaghetti Carbonara I had once. I didn’t know what to expect.
My father, if you remember, was driving. And he knew EXACTLY what to expect. You see, driving in the UK is quite a sedate affair. You may get the odd person who’ll stick 2 fingers up at you, but on the whole, it’s quite a stress-free experience. Italy, on the other hand, was its polar opposite.
Traffic lights were just seen as pretty street lamps, road signs were seen as “suggestions” and the most used part of the car was the horn. You see a friend in the street? Honk your horn. Someone cuts you up? Honk your horn. Police stop you? You scream at him and honk your horn. Football team won? You drive up and down the streets honking, you guessed it, your horn. Want to insult an Italian man? Give him the hand signal for two horns, indicating that his wife is sleeping around. If you want to completely disable an Italian car, simply disconnect the horn.
This should give you an idea of how noisy the streets of Italy were.
If the noise didn’t drive you (no pun intended) mad, then the driving would. And the only way to survive on these manic roads was to drive just as mad. And so, for the Italian leg of our trip, my father disappeared and the spirit of Ayrton Senna arrived.
August. Every year, one of the largest barbarian migrations is taking place: Whole Europe goes on vacation. Off to warmer climes. Off to other countries. Or off to The Continent, as they say in Great Britain. TTAC’s insular correspondent Cammy Corrigan often mentioned that she would want to write the story of her first trip to The Continent. What better time than this?
“What’s going on?”
“We’re going on holiday!”
“France! Go pack your things! Quickly! We’re leaving in half an hour!”
This didn’t bode well. I hated France. I hated the food, the people, countryside, just everything. It’s not so bad now. Now, I just hate the food. And I’m still not too keen on the people, but it’s a start. In case you were wondering, that was my father. He woke me up to tell me we were going to spend two weeks in France.