Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Driving Italian Style

I had to go through a torturous process to get my Italian driver's license. I paid €600 (approx. $950) for a course that I attended three times (it was in Italian and I would frantically flip through a dictionary in the classroom), and for one hour of behind the wheel with a teacher (silly, it seemed, after 30 years of driving in the US). It is a known fact if you try to get your license without the school representing you, it is very likely that you fail. So I studied for more than 100 hours for the written exam (now offered in English on a computer) and during my one hour behind the wheel, I had to ask the guy to turn the radio down when I was trying to ask a question. But in the end I got the license (even though I was yelled at by the examiner while on the road cause I didn't understand what he was asking in Italian) and now happily zip around town on my Vespa. We also have a motorbike for Andrea and a gas guzzling old Audi which we take on trips around the country. Our next car will be one of those politically correct special gas cars - we'll buy it when I start working full-time.

Here, Ray is hand-washing my Vespa while Andrea looks on. We also bought Ray his own helmet but I have yet to take him out alone. Italian law states he must be 5 years old, but he is very tall so I will wait until the fall when I will have to drive him to his new school.

Oh, and about the hours I put into studying the laws of the road - something of a joke as it seems the none of it applies. I never see a cop on the streets - on foot or in a car - and people will park their cars right in high traffic lanes and go in a bar for an espresso. I also yell out "thank you" to every driver that swerves around me and Ray while we are in a crosswalk. agh.

1 comment:

paula said...

how fun!! ray is getting really cute now. i KNOW renewing your license in the US was NOTHING compared to trying to procure one in Italy... teen took an online course for her permit, passed it and we took 20 mins at the dept of motor vehicle for them to print out her official ID. still need to take her out driving, though she enjoys just coming down the street and into the driveway. ahhh, the carefree world of a 15 year old!! anyways, thanks for sharing. just fyi: mary graduates on Friday, will take a pix of her 'all made up' and acting like a lady. can't believe she'll be in HS in a few months!! ly