We awoke on and off for the next several hours. Here, being on a highway, or there, being in the middle of the Alps winding up and down large cliffs with nothing below you but tiny village lights that look far enough away to be fireflies. I will tell you, there is nothing like waking up, and in that slumbered state of fogged mind seeing that you are on your very own Peter Pan ride except you are not in Disney World you are on a stupid bus with a first class ticket to DEAD if your driver falls asleep. But all was well, because the next moment we were at an intersection with an arrow pointing to the town of "Gray," to which Sleepy-Jake responded, "NOOOOOOOO!" when I awoke him to show him the sign. We would have gotten a picture if a. sleepy-eyed or b. it hadn't been 1:30AM but unfortunately, dear readers, it was c. all of the above.
The daytime ride through Italy was beautiful. You don't grow up in Maine without seeing the mountains, but I will tell you I have never seen anything like this in my 21 years of existence. Gorgeous rolling mountains surrounding every side of you- cliffs and green grass and clouds that look like God Himself painted them into the sky for you. And the farms! Sheep and goats and cows and acres upon acres of vineyards. Fields so enormous that you regularly see men and dogs combing the land with rifles to scare of anything that might have intruded. Hours, hours, and more hours later we finally arrive in Rome. We spend the next hour roaming around, trying to find any sign of the direction we must be going. By this time, Jake's compass has eaten shit. "North is wherever you want it to be!" it explains as it spins on it's axis every which way, "your guess is as good as mine!" We had only recently found my compass/rape whistle/money hiding combo gadget so we at least had that to assist my handwritten directions to the hotel. We begin going, what we were told was, south west but had no idea what street it was. In the two hours we had been there, there were zero street signs. Not even a "WRONG WAY" in Italian. Nothing. The sun was beginning to set, and I was becoming angry. My punishment to Jake for even existing during my anger was to force him to carry the Orangina bottle he HAD to purchase at the rest stop rather than water. I know, some punishment, but it was the best I could do in the situation and it had to be done given my rage.
As we are walking, and everything around us is either pigeon or smelling of day old pee, I stop in my tracks. I look upward and raise my arms and say outlaid, forcefully, "If there is a God…this is the time to get me to believe. I really do thank you for getting us here alive- it was swell of you. But now? We are wandering the streets of Rome. The sun is going down. We are doing everything in our power to find where we need to be but we need a hand. PLEASE. Just give us SOMETHING. ONE street sign is all we ask. It doesn't even need to be the right one. JUST ANY SIGN. PLEASE." I sigh. Sulk my head. And we keep walking. We turn a corner and low and behold- a street sign. The correct street sign. I grab Jake's arms and point and say, "This could entirely be a coincidence, but we need to at least say thank-you." And proceeded to spend the next ten minutes expressing our gratitude in various languages.
The rest of the way to our hotel was easy from there. We made it there just before sundown where our B&B host was absolutely wonderful. He gave us a map with detailed instructions to neighboring restaurants, book stores, the train station, and more. After a couple of much needed showers, we hit the town for some dinner. We indulged in gnocchi, carbornara, caprese salad, and vino before returning to our hotel to pass out. Let me also point out that this B&B was 10 Euro CHEAPER than our little room in Paris- MUCH nicer…and had free wifi….AND free (gross, but free) continental breakfast. Ohhhh, Roma.