I was worried about the day for some reason. I was 90% sure that I had told Greta Garmin the right ferry terminal, but there are three in Messina, and I did not want to be playing Ferry Terminal roulette in an old Italian city. It turns out I had nothing to worry about as I had put in the right terminal. I think the other reason I was uncomfortable is I have a feeling we did not give Sicily all of the time it deserves. We have not had a bad day on Sicily.
They have an interesting system for selling tickets for the ferry, there is an island in the road with two ticket booths in the middle, but no designated parking, everyone just drives up to the vicinity of the ticket booths, stops their car, and heads over to the ticket booth on foot, once they have their ticket they wind their way thru all of the other randomly “parked” cars, and head on down to the ferry.
It was a short ferry ride over to the boot of Italy. We pulled off the ferry and on to a really nice freeway for the next 60km’s on our way to the resort town of Tropea. We picked it as it seemed like a pretty easy drive if anything went wrong with the ferry. We were also intrigued with some of the pictures of the town in one of our tour books.
The drive was going along pretty uneventfully until we dropped down into Tropea. The road down from the mountains above town was pretty twisty, but we are getting used to that by now. The real problem was once we entered town we were immediately in typical small city roads which are challenging in a RV, then the real problem started. In Italy they have areas called limited traffic zones (ZTL) where cars are forbidden to enter without special passes. The fine for violating these zones is around €100, and they are enforced by cameras. The problem is if you accidentally blunder into one you may pass several cameras before you work your way out of the area, and you get fined each time.
While I was trying to follow Greta and thread my way down the narrow streets I saw a Limited Traffic Zone sign in front of me. I made a left turn to avoid entering the zone, and hoped it would trigger Greta to find another route that avoided the dreaded zone. She led us out of town on even narrower roads to punish me for not following her original route. We finally emerged on a nice wide highway and I thought problem solved, but suddenly she wanted me to make a right turn onto a road that was on her map. The problem was the road was in a gorge about 50 feet below us, so now we were heading back into town, and sure enough there was another limited traffic zone sign, but I had a place to pull over and sort thru things. As I was looking at the map, I happened to notice that the limited traffic sign had a green sign under it that was flashing a message in Italian, and then a miracle, in English the same sign said Free Access. I took this to mean it was ok to enter the limited traffic zone and did. We were not out of the woods as Greta then told us to turn down the narrowest road yet, a motorcycle behind me honked a warning and I knew that I might be heading into trouble. The road was narrow and the switchbacks were hairpin. Luckily François is short, and most importantly we did not meet anyone coming up. So after quite an adventure we made it to our seaside campground. So I guess my unease was right I just did not realize it would be on the end of the trip.
After I had a beer and did some research on how to avoid a ZTL we walked into Tropea and it is beautiful.