So where did we leave off from Part One? Oh yeah, figuring out how to get to Florence! Well we noticed a car rental spot when we first got off in Venice so we checked out of our hotel and headed there. Everything. Was. Closed. Whaaaaat? Just cause it’s Sunday? But they say Sunday hours here? Oh wait….its EASTER SUNDAY!!! I completely forgot it was EASTER!!!!
A man that rented mopeds was open next door, I for a minute contemplated riding to Florence on a moped, then figured I would just ask him where a car rental would be that might be open. He laughed a little. Then suggested IF any was open, a big IF, then it would be at the airport. Alright, I can deal, if there are no cars we’ll just fly!
So we take the bus to the airport, I think it took us about….30 minutes to figure out where the car rental was. There were signs pointing towards the car park, but only booths there and all of them except Hertz were closed and unattended. So we asked Hertz about renting a car one way to Florence. She said the only thing they had available was a luxury sedan for $320 Euros. Yeeeeeesh. AND that we would have to rent inside the airport, this is just pick-up once you have the rental. I said okay and that I would see if anyone had any compacts available.
We head inside and I literally lined up at EVERY single car rental. I mean every single brand. I talked to at least 10 different companies and they either had NOTHING as in not one single car available, or they didn’t have drop off points in Florence, only Rome. I skyscanner searched for cheap flights and they were about the same as the Hertz rental car so I said well, at least if we drive we can see more, let’s just go with Hertz!
So I head back on over to Hertz and the lady from the booth was there, she said “I remember you!” (it had literally been about an hour at this point from our first encounter) “I’ve JUST had a compact brought in!” I saw other patrons death stare at me and inch their way closer to the counter, I mean, I’m not even kidding when I say there was virtually nothing available especially a cheapo compact, economy that is, not euro smart car lol! I was like OMG!!! YES! I immediately took out my ID and cards and thanked my lucky stars for this awesome twist of fate. She walked us over back to the lot as we annoyed her I’m sure with a dozen ‘Thank-you’s’ and ‘This is awesome!’ and we drove off with our amazing little Fiat (in true Italian style!) for a steal of $130 Euros! Winning!!!
I had to get used to driving stick again for a hot minute because it was on the other side of the road, which I’m used to from L.A. but not so much a stick shift, I definitely whacked my hand into the door a few times searching for the gear. PLUS there was this amazing little device which I want to invest in and take everywhere with me called Huawei Pocket wifi, Huawei is like the product brand and WIND was the local provider plan that was given, so Huawei would be like an Iphone and WIND would be like AT&T. But it’s virtually pocket wifi, you can leave it plugged in to the USB port in the car to charge and have your google directions, skype with mum, Instagram and FAST too, not like slow little useless wifi it was really fast internet and then you can take it out the car into the shop with you, it was as though I had entered into 2050 and I was going to see a ‘hover’ button to push and make my car float. Needless to say I was super impressed.
So electronics and car rentals aside, we got through that whole kafuffle and started researching cool places to stop off on the way! Everyone on tripadvisor – all of YOU in fact, gave me the handy suggestion of Lake Garda being a MUST! So we drove through a little of Verona on the route there, passed castles on hills, amazing Italian landscapes and honestly to date was the most freeing and exhilarating feeling. Driving through unknown territory, towards an unknown destination on a completely random and spontaneous road trip – THESE are the moments that you feel like you’re “living” in every essence of the word. Going with the flow, taking the experiences as they come and being open to opportunities.
Well, we got to Lake Garda and just like everyone suggested it was a beaute! I mean wow! What a view!We walked around the Lake a little bit taking photos and enjoying the view and various colours of the shops, restaurants and hotels surrounding the lake. I saw a little boy and his Grandpa playing on the rocks and also enjoying the view. I hope they don’t mind I took this snap of the two of them just staring out into the lake, I thought it was a really cool moment!We made friends with some ducks along the beach and walked the beachfront markets looking at different stallholders trinkets and treasures for sale.
Afterwards it dawned on us that neither of us had eaten anything today yet! Well in the land of never-ending Pizza we thought we would give this place along the lake a try! I like Italy. You just eat bountiful amounts of Pizza and Pasta, drink wine and stare at amazing landscapes, listening to locals speak that beautiful Italian language and once you’ve finished your meal you get some Gelato and do some shopping. What’s not to love?!
Seriously considering a 3 month living experience, if anyone wants to host me I’m all yours! Not even kidding.We found some benches to dance around and sit at just staring at the lake and ‘being’. Blissfully unaware of the time or that I should’ve been arriving in Florence in 45minutes and instead choosing to take it all in. Noticing the various hotels around and making a mental note of already returning before I had even left as we chatted to a few locals sitting down near us and then as dusk approached decided we had better hit the road!I’m so glad we took a little detour and experienced the Lake for a few hours, it truly is SO incredibly beautiful! We even drove half way around it on the way to Florence before realising we weren’t going the right way and doubled-back. But it’s definitely MASSIVE I’m sure there are so many other areas to stop off at the Lake on the opposite side that I’m definitely making it a goal to return and check out for myself!We arrived in to Florence at around 8:30pm and checked in suuuuper late, but I already knew I had arrived at one seriously secret hidden Gem – feel free to check out our amazing stay when we first arrived at Frattoria Pratale! A true sight for sore eyes! Check out Part Three: exploring Florence!!!