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Sicilia - road maps
on 2 August 2011
One of the proudest moments of my life was handing a hire-car back in Sicily without a dent or scratch - a considerable achievement after seven days of white-knuckle driving across much of Sicily, including Mount Etna. Trying to follow the spirits of George S Patton (west), Omar Bradley (mountain middle) and Montgomery (east coast) we saw much of it by car. Having driven in many countries of the world, for most fun and enjoyment, I have grown into the view that one must become one of them, i.e. when in Rome, drive like them. In most countries, I found this easy; "In Cyprus, we drive on the right, left and sometimes in the middle" said the advertising many years ago. The same is true of Sicily but it should also read "at speed, with scant regard for anyone else and, 'certamente' without signals. By day five, I was driving a little like them but, unfortunately, still indicating my future intentions with signals, thereby giving myself away as a hesitant stranger with time to spare.
One of the secrets to avoiding accidents, is knowing where you are going and this map provided all the information required, although it was in small print. Even when I use a SatNav - for which the inventors should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize - I always look at a map to have a mental image of where I am going. Despite the problems of using a large map in the sea-breezes and finding how to fold it again, it was a useful addition to the holiday packing as have others in the past.
P.S. Having said all that about Sicilian drivers, we never saw an accident in our time there despite constantly feeling we had just narrowly avoided one.