The nav said turn right. It was a dirt road. It went straight down and disappeared into trees. I checked around. There’s no other road. It had to be that one.
I was taking a quick morning drive to an out of the way small town on the Amalfi Coast before a meeting in a small town an hour inland later in the day. I wanted to avoid the highways. I’ve seen highways in plenty of countries. I live in the land of highways.
The drive started up a mountain. I stopped at a small town shop to have an espresso. The lovely older woman refused to let me pay.
The road to the top of the mountain was as winding as they come. My little rental Audi took them like a champ. I was driving in Le Mans. O can’t think of a time I’ve had more fun driving.
Then the nav told me to turn right. It seemed straight down. And leading to nothing. I thought of the scene in The Office when Michael drives into the lake because the nav told him to.
Back on the dirt road the car is barely making it through the brush. I stopped a few minutes in and got out. I had a feeling I was driving on someone’s farm.
According to the nav I was on Via Casa Falcone. Am I in the Falcone’s driveway? Aren’t movies made about people with that name? I’m in a small town in Southern Italy driving on the Falcone’s property.
It was getting smoky. In a clearing I come across the man who must be the farmer. He’s burning some trash. I’m definitely on his land. I waved. He waved, cigarette in his hand, with the baffled look only a 70 year old farmer in the middle of nowhere who sees a black Audi driving through his farm can.
I kept going. There was no use stopping. I speak the kind of Italian that gets you a coffee without sugar. Not the kind that explains why I’m trespassing on his farm. My best hope was that the road didn’t dead end at his house forcing us to meet again. A few minutes later I was back on pavement.
I followed the nav again. Take a right at the fork. There’s no way the car will fit through that passage. It did. Another. It’s smaller. It fit. All the while I’m passing parked cars. They made it. Surely I will.
Just in front of a shop the road forked again. But one way went up and the other down. A three dimensional fork. Shit. I have to turn around. How?
And there’s a dog that keeps getting right behind me. Now I have to do a 45 point turn while trying not to kill a dog.
A lady just came out of the shop to watch me. That must be her car I have to avoid. It’s more fun to watch me suffer than to move her car.
I just need to get back to the fork. This time I’m going left.
For the next 20 kilometers it was back to the same kind of erratic, winding wildness of the first part of the drive.
I come to the base of the mountain. I see water. I don’t know where I am but there’s water. And a restaurant.
And now I’m sitting at a cafe on the Amalfi Coast having a salad.
Then I’m getting in the car and making the two hour drive to my meeting in a small inland town that Anthony Soprano claimed his family was from.
First published on May 23, 2017