Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Italian Driving School Diaries - I drove into the Historic Center and lived to blog about it.

Dear Diary,

The lessons continue.

Last week I had to start on a hill. Not fun. ME NO LIKE.

Anyway, today we tried the hill again and I only stalled out once. I seem to have a problem with releasing the clutch too quickly.

Bruno asked me to drive part of the way to the Parco della Auditorium. It wasn't too bad. I'm used to that street now.

However, this time on the return trip back to the school, I drove the entire distance, which meant into the Center.

The scooters are one thing, then you have tour buses and a billion tourists who don't know how to cross the street.

After I made it in one piece through Piazza Navona and driving on Corso Vittorio Emmanuele (a major street here) I had to park the car. Putting the car in reverse I managed to back up without knocking down any scooters.

Bruno said I'm getting better but I really need to work on shifting from 2nd into 3rd and back. I keep going from 3rd into 4th instead of 2nd. That's a problem.

Downshifting from 3rd into 2nd before curves is going to take some time to get used to as well. So much to remember.

Over the weekend part of me was thinking, "Screw this. I'll just take the test on an automatic car and be stuck with an automatic license. It will be easier."

While I miss how easy driving an automatic is, I've been driving standard for less than two weeks. I don't why I thought I would drive like Formula One driver.

A couple of friends offered to practice with me. I think (hope) with more time behind the wheel, my comfort level will increase.


Tracie B. said...

hang in there, it's worth the trouble in europe! you'll get "the feel" one day and it will all be sugo after that.

Moscerina said...

What kind of car is it? Sometimes you have to just become one with the gear shift.

Lucia said...

Keep trying it is worth driving a standard! I learned on automatic and then I went to driving school for standard! In the end my friend just took me out and I would practice everyday! She even taught me little tricks and things that I don't remember too well because I eventually took up with an automatic car but keep doing it, you will get!

Ms. Wooden Shoes said...

I feel your pain. Although I was able to trade in my US driver's license for a Dutch one when I moved here, I couldn't drive a stick. Since we only had/have one car, which my husband's company provided, which was a stick, it was either learn to drive it or use the bike or public transpo. I opted to learn to drive the stick. Fortunately, Holland is flat so it wasn't so bad. Like Tracy B. said, hang in there.

homebody at heart said...


I learned stick on my Dad's 3 gear column stick (no 4 on the floor for me) pick up truck that didn't have power steering either. I didn't think I would ever be able to drive a stick shift. Didn't give it enough gas as I was letting out the clutch, over and over again. He made me drive up a really steep curvy hill, the worst possible scenario as I killed the engine over and over again. I couldn't immagine driving a stick shift anywhere yet in a big city like San Francisco and yet, I did.
You haven't hit the groove yet. It will come and someday in the future you will remember and smile.

homebody at heart said...

Plus, think about it. If you don't learn to drive a stick, you will never be able to drive a Porsche, Ferrari, Fiat 500 or Alfa Romeo! Go girl!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

tracie - right now I don't have the feel for it at all but with practice, hopefully that will change.

moserina - good question. I have to check next time.

Lucia - I might be going out this weekend to practice with a friend which will help. I'm still tempted to take the easy way out at this point but will keep on trying.

ms. wooden shoes - although there are some cars that are automatic here (for more money) you're really limited. Plus only one friend has an automatic. She lives in the Center and have a permit to drive in Center so I understand why her new car is an automatic. I don't want to be in position where I might have to drive a friend's car and can't because I don't know standard.

homebody - a steep curvy hill?! Talk about jumping into the deep end. I love San Francisco but had problem with those steep hills even with my automatic...you must be an amazing driver.

Good point about the cars. I don't think the Fiat 500 is offered in stick. Even if it is, I feel using standard on certain sport cars, like BMWs, Mercedes, etc. is sacrilegious. ha

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