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Step two: Pick up the car

Visiting Imola and Faenza

Arriving at the car rental I went through the administrative details of getting the car (both license and passport are required). I was advised to get full insurance and, being the cautious sort, I did. Perhaps I could have done better. Unlike North America, the service person did not walk around the car with me to take note of any damage. When I did a walk-around myself I could see why. There were dings and scrapes and dents everywhere.

Arriving back to the towns along the Via Emiia, I went to Imola and Faenza. Imola was dead quiet—many of the locals work in Bologna, so the town was quite empty. Faenza was just down the road but I got it into my head that since it was such a beautiful day, I would go to Ravenna and see the mosaics.

I went back inside and had them take note of everything. Step three: drive I have driven in Italy before—but that was 11 years ago. What I found then was that the further south I went the more frenetic the traffic. I wasn’t too concerned about Bologna. I had found the city to be quite relaxed and I expected the traffic to be pretty good. And it was. But looking down the road from the rental office, I could see that I had my first roundabout within 500 meters. I negotiated it with ease and felt exuberant. This is what solo travel does. Small feats can feel like real accomplishments and I whooped my way past the roundabout to another and onto the ring road out of town.

Unfortunately, that didn’t work out. I took two runs at Ravenna – two! – and still didn’t manage to get to the city center. At a certain point one has to figure that it just wasn’t meant to be and give up. So around I turned and went to Faenza. I was glad I did. While I only explored the central piazza, I found it to be a really lovely town and could have spent more time there had I not been required to return the car. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out. I took two runs at Ravenna—two!—and still didn’t manage to get to the city center. At a certain point one has to figure that it just wasn’t meant to be and give up. So around I turned and went to Faenza. I was glad I did. While I only explored the central piazza, I found it to be a really lovely town and could have spent more time there had I not been required to return the car.

The town center of Faenza.

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