October 19, 2008

And I thought the Fit was small.

Filed under: technology,transportation,travel — origamifreak @ 12:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,

10/19/2008 8:56 AM

When I got to the Budget counter at the airport yesterday, they assigned me a Citroën. For some reason I associate those with the 60’s and 70’s – apparently they still make them, because mine is a C1, and I saw a bunch more of them on the highway. I can’t believe it has 4 doors, it’s so tiny. The “trunk” area behind the back seats is about 10 inches deep, so I had to fold down a seat just to get my bag in there. It’s a manual with 5 gears and runs pretty rough in the first two gears. I think the timing needs to be checked, or something. The windshield has a red “OK” written on it in what appears to be nail polish, or something else red that won’t come off unless I pick at it with my fingernail.

My Fit is positively luxurious, by comparison. Each window is electric, but the controls are not centralized so I can only control my own while driving. The console is hysterical. It consists of a large round speedometer mounted above the steering wheel, with a little LCD window set in on the right that shows the fuel gauge.

There is a round tachometer attached by a little stalk to the speedometer at about 11:00. The arrangement functions, but it sure is bizarre.

At one point on the drive I passed a familiar-looking vehicle. It was a Honda Jazz, which is the equivalent to my Fit. It was actually fairly large, compared with the rest of the vehicles. I saw only a few other Japanese cars; most of those were Toyotas. And I’ve never seen such tiny Audis and Mercedes before. I think I saw about 5 US-sized SUVs in two hours.

On the advice of several friends I got the GPS navigation system too. This, I could get used to! It was just so very convenient to have the friendly British lady telling me when and where I would need to turn, bear left, etc. I did not need to consult the written directions, at all. I imagine this makes tourists much less of a hazard on the road for everyone else, what with them not trying to drive and read maps at the same time. It was also really helpful to have the ETA visible right there on the monitor.

The Citroën’s windshield is so small and angled that I had to really think about where to attach the GPS. Down at the bottom of the windshield I couldn’t reach it. Just about anywhere else would obscure an area I needed to see out of. In the end I settled for putting it up at the top, to the right of the rear-view mirror. Part of the windshield up there that is dark, anyway, to help block the sun. After about an hour of driving the suction cup fell down because the darkened glass isn’t as smooth as the clear part, so I had to stick it back up again, a little more to the right on the smooth glass.

I’d been warned by many friends as well as my guide books that the Italians drive like crazy. One friend qualified this statement by saying that while they are fast, they are also very aware of what they are doing, and therefore aren’t that dangerous. This seemed true, to me. Most of the way the road was three lanes, and for the rest of it, two lanes. They do go really fast, especially given the size of most of the vehicles, which, like mine, are little more than gas-powered golf carts. Most of the time I was going 110-135 kph, which was appropriate for the “slow” lane. However, in the two hours from Venice to here I only saw two examples of hazardous driving: one was a woman stubbornly going relatively slowly in the middle lane. Like most everyone else, I passed her on the right. The other example was someone in a white Formula-type sports car who was going so fast s/he made the people in the left lane look like they were standing still. The draft from this car was so strong it pulled noticeably at the Citroën.

It’s 9:30, and the church bells just started ringing. I wonder if this is to tell people to come to church, or if they’re ringing them at the end of the service?



  1. Thank heavens they do not have the deer population we have here.I think they would win with cars that small.

    We were informed by a neighbor Saturday that a Black Bear has been seen in Freeville recently. No sitings here though.

    Comment by jpm14 — October 19, 2008 @ 8:55 pm | Reply

  2. Yes, but is it BEAR SEASON in Freeville, right now? Maybe that would make up for the recent incorrect information about the avian game, if Jay were to get one of those? 😉

    Comment by origamifreak — October 20, 2008 @ 12:45 pm | Reply

  3. Just remember, when the nice voice tells you to turn, to verify that there is actually a turn there.

    Comment by Terminus Est — October 20, 2008 @ 9:45 pm | Reply

  4. Hehe. Yeah, and not drive into a lake, they way Michael Scott did in The Office. 🙂

    So far, so good. It even got me out of the airport parking lot in Venice, which I thought was pretty impressive.

    Comment by origamifreak — October 21, 2008 @ 6:43 am | Reply

  5. Ugh. So this really can happen.

    Last night I used the GPS to help navigate to a friend’s house in the nearby town, Mezzolombardo, and the GPS instructions made me exit a roundabout too soon, twice! So I stopped listening to it literally, and just used common sense for the rest of the trip.

    Comment by origamifreak — October 22, 2008 @ 6:35 am | Reply

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