I mentioned before that I wasn’t necessarilygoing to recount this chronologically, but it feels fitting to give the first post over to us driving to Acqui Terme from Malpensa aeroporto. Particularly given that Michael was the one who shouldered 100% of the driving…but perhaps I should backpedal a bit.
As of Sunday morning, we had no actual way of getting from the airport to Acqui save taking a bus from the airport to Torino, and then taking local transit from there to Acqui and walking our sorry asses to Baur B&B, where we were to spend a nice majority of the trip, as this is usually our M.O. when traveling to cities we don’t know well. Then we were most helpfully informed that while feasible, this mode would not be optimal in experiencing the local area, so we caved and decided to rent a car. I’ll spare the ugly details–just know that I called AVIS while we were in line for our Amtrak train to Newark Liberty International to arrange for the car, and they came through in the clutch (…..sorry for the pun) in getting us an automatic, economy-class with literally 24-hours of notice.
That said, we made it safe and sound to Malpensa (and, by the way, was given no problem walking through with my passport while Michael got a little business. I guess the officers are a sucker for a cute face) with our luggage in tact, and after thirty minutes of Michael chatting with the lovely AVIS agent at the desk and another twenty of us trying to find our damn car, we had our Fiat and started out–but, naturally, not without the terror of driving through the damn lot with cars parked EVERYWHERE and the fear that we may scratch a car before we even get anywhere.
Following the signs, which were better than anticipated, we headed out to Acqui Terme:
Thanks to the wonderful directions provided to us by our innkeepers (that I ably transcribed while in a bar in the Newark Liberty International airport) we headed out on the series of autostrade that first had us on the A8 to the A26, always heading towards the direction of Varese, Genova and ultimately Alessandria Sud:
Bienvenuti a Italia!
Two-hundred kilometers later, we passed through lots and lots of Italian plains (likely aborio rice patties according to our hosts) as we made our way to Acqui and the quiet, tranquil roads of the northern Italian countryside. I mean, we were passed on the far-left despite us going a good 120-140 km/hr while on the toll roads–now that we had to only go about 70 km/hr I could finally take in everything.
Unfortunately, we hit the only clouds we encountered during the entire week as we were making our way along the SS-33, so these pictures are not nearly as vibrant as I’d like them to be. But I’d rather save the more extraordinary ones for later anyway:
The cars (and the trucks in particular) made me feel like we were in a Playmobil set–mostly because they were all so familiar to me. Because I played with Playmobil playsets.
Look at all the little houses!
Our trip, for the most part, was successful, but we did end up in a vineyard because we over-anticipated the traffic circles and Michael gracefully got our little Fiat out of it without getting it into a ditch.
But I won’t show you Acqui Terme or our inn…just yet. You have to wait for that.