LA SERENISSIMA – October 12th

Dawn cracks at the Heidi House. I pad about downcast, bereft of coffee. There’s frost on the grass outside. The dark mountains surrounding Cortina give way to pink, developing texture and depth due to the shallow, focused sunlight that breaks on the rugged rocks. Back in the car we drop the keys off, caffeinate at Alverà, and begin a search to find the base for the Freccia nei Cielo (The Arrow to the Sky), the cable car that could take us 10,000 feet up. Up and down, up and down the mountain we drive haplessly. Joss’ directional skills are not working.

Let’s just stop, stop and fill the goddamn gas tank, why don’t we? Something practical, something we can accomplish. How do you fucking open the fuel cover on this VW? I dunno. There’s no sign of a release mechanism anywhere. The cover doesn’t pop open in response to pressure. The VW’s manual is in Italian. Joss’ translator app on her phone makes hilarious hash of it. The tension breaks. We laugh helplessly.

Fig. 160 FLAPS OF THE TANK OF THE FUEL

OPEN AND WITH THE CAP

BEFORE OF MAKE THE SUPPLY OF FUEL,

SWITCH OFF ALWAYS THE ENGINE, THE

PICTURE TOOLS AND THE PHONE MOBILE

AND LEAVE OFF WHILE YES ef- SLICE THE

SUPPLY.

THE INFORMATION ON QUANTITIES OF

SUPPLY ARE REPORTED TO CHAPTER TO.

Pag. 318, data techno-

OPENING OF THE TANK

IT FLAPS OF THE TANK OF THE FUEL YES

tro- K GOES IN THE PART REAR RIGHT OF

THE VEHICLE or pag. 37.

Our predicament must seem pretty abject for the previously occupied attendant comes over and makes the universal sign for ‘Turn on the fucking ignition’. Voila! With the touch of a finger, the fuel cover peeks open. Filling half a tank costs 45 euros.

It’s all downhill now, Autostrada most of the way. We take no chances with ‘restricted traffic’, so upon entering Belluno, leave the car at the train station and hoof it to the hotel, The Albergo delle Alpi. The man behind the front desk offers us parking off an alley in the rear. Soon, we’re situated. Joss got the corner room with a panorama of the mountains; I got a wall.

After ninety minutes downtime, we reconnoiter Belluno, mostly for delayed lunch. Burgers! Then we walk the town. The view of the hazy river valley from Porto Rugo, the original gate of the city, is dreamy. Back at the hotel, we engage the woman at the front desk, our first conversation with someone other than ourselves, who gives us a great dinner tip. La Buca. Italians serve up skirt steak, calling it ‘tagliata di manzo’, and it has been invariably delicious. Tonight is no exception.

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