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The Ice Road to Boosterville

Steve had his booster shot yesterday compliments of the Italian health care system.  His appointment was at 10:30 in Arezzo, which is about 30 minutes away.  There’s a good road to Arezzo which goes through a ravine in the mountains so it’s not hilly.  But because it goes through a ravine in the mountains and it a relatively flat road, there are lots of bridges.  More than I realized.

We set out at about 9:15 because 1) Steve is early for everything, and 2) when I had my booster they took me early.  It was a gray and drizzly morning, cold and miserable.  The kind of morning you wanted to be curled under a fluffy throw sipping hot cocoa with a warm dog next to you.  I had all of those things in my warm living room, but we bundled up and went out.  The first sign that things may be tricky was when we went to get in the car and it had a thin layer of ice over it.  Hmm.  Should we rethink this venture?  Cars were going over the roads and they weren’t slippery.  We figured the temp was going to rise and the cars traveling over the roads would keep them warm enough not to freeze.  We were right for the most part.

We got on the road to Arezzo and were clipping along.  The rain was intermittent and there wasn’t much traffic.  No problemo.  Then we saw flashing lights up ahead on the first of the many, many bridges.  You know that sign you always see on highways?  Bridges ice before roadways?  That’s very, very true.  We slowly came up to the scene and saw a string of cars and trucks that didn’t make it across the bridge.  They were in various states of collision, both with each other and the guardrails.  Now, many thoughts go through your head at a time like this.  The first is that fluffy throw and cozy dog that you left back in your warm living room.  The second is how the heck to get out of this.  We decided our best bet was to proceed cautiously because 1) we could not turn around – exits are few and far between on this road so we either kept going forward or stopped, which didn’t seem like a productive solution, and 2) we thought the other direction, the direction back home, was closed.  We didn’t see any cars at all on that side and figured they had already closed the direction of the road.  So gingerly we went over the icy bridge, then the next, then the next.  There were several cars who made it through with us, all in a well-spaced out train moving along the tundra.  As we neared the end of the highway, we saw why we didn’t see any cars going in the opposite direction.  There was a semi jack-knifed across the road, blocking the whole thing.  Well, so much for coming back that way.  We figured with the road conditions it would be hours before they could get that cleared out.  We finally crossed the last bridge and were on solid roadway.  The temperature was rising and the rain was stopping, so things were getting back to normal.

We got to the vaccination site, went through without a hitch, and while we were waiting for the 15 minutes after the shot,  I pulled out my phone and set to work on Google maps to find another way home.  Here’s the problem:  there are other ways to get from Arezzo to Anghiari, but they all involve windy mountain roads.  We didn’t think that would be a good option for obvious reasons.  We had to think of a way we could go that would be flat and well-traveled with minimal bridges.  We agreed on a route that took us over two hours to complete, but was smooth sailing the whole way.  We had nowhere to be and were happy to err on the side of caution.

So, three hours and 45 minutes after we left home we arrived back.  The whole trip should have taken about an hour and a half.  But we were in one piece and didn’t have to navigate around any jack-knifed trailers.  Steve did a great job of driving over the ice road and I managed to keep my fretting down to an acceptable level.  And he got his booster.  Best of all, when we got home, I settled in my warm living room under a fluffy throw with a cup of hot cocoa and my dog curled up next to me.  It was heaven.

Weather alert:  this morning as we were sipping our coffee and tea, we looked out the window to see a beautiful snowfall.  It only lasted about 15 minutes, but was a great start to the day, especially since we have absolutely nowhere to go today.  I guess winter has officially arrived in Tuscany.



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