maanantai 16. tammikuuta 2017

Cruising in Brescia

One of my most recent business destinations was Italy. I have been at the same region twice and driven exactly the same highways both times. Well, at least I drove the first time. On our latest trip my colleague demanded to get behind the wheel. I wonder why - I only got two fines... anyway, since our meetings were in Brescia area, we flew to Milan Malpensa airport and rented a car. It is easiest to drive from Malpensa to Brescia in order to avoid heavy traffic near other airports. In addition, Finnair offers direct flights to Malpensa.

Last time we got a hybrid Toyota. It was a first time for me to sit in a hybrid car, and I think I will prefer one the next time I need to rent a car. I love the idea of less fuel consumption leading to less pollution load. I wish this kind of technology evolves fast to replace today´s vehicles.

I have few remarks regarding the fines I got few years ago. I think the traffic is quite vivid compared to Finnish accurately controlled road transport, thanks to four-laned freeways with only a few surveillance cameras. They do have them in cities though. I noticed this since I got a ticket in 60km/h speed limit somewhere near Lake Iseo. I didn´t realise this until my colleague received a letter from Italian authority about six months after our trip... the other surprise I got after two years: a letter titled "Non-payment of motorway tolls". Worth 4,21eur + mailing expenses. Better late than never, right? I know these tolls are worth around 6 euros / 100km and we did conscientiously pay them, but apparently we didn´t pay enough. I hope 4,21eur ticket was worth 2,58eur mailing fee. ;)

About roads in (Northern) Italy. The freeways are mostly smooth and well maintained. Gas stations are easily found. Smaller roads between villages in the countryside may have few bumps and tough curves, but otherwise driving is carefree. I enjoy cruising between small cities and admiring the lovely views. Vineyards, mountains, farms, suburbs. Even the smallest village has at least one minimarket and restaurant. During my latest stay in a commune of 800 residents, I suddenly had to pay a visit at a pharmacy. Thanks to a caring hotel clerk I found one: in connection with a butcher´s shop! Definitely not feasible in Finland.

Torrazzo of Cremona

Even though I´m currently not a fan of do-it-yourself backpacking travels (since I really have had my share of arranging trips for work), a road-trip in Italy would be something to consider. I bet renting a car is a much better way to see the country compared to bus or train. You can choose your own path and accommodation along the way. During summer time it might be a good idea to book hotels in advance, but otherwise the hotels in small cities are usually not fully booked.

By the way: if Lake Como or Lake Garda are so last season, I recommend a visit to Lake Iseo. It is not that known but I wish to be able to see it during summer time as well. Such a beautiful place.

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