January in Molise, Italy
I recently had to return to my newly adopted hometown of Montagano, Italy (see here and here for why). I didn't think much of the trip until the day before I left when I checked the temperature there. Hmm... same as Warsaw... in January... wait, what? Now, Montagano is in Molise, which I believe is the least-touristed region of Italy, so all is forgiven if you don't know much about winter weather there, because, hey, apparently I didn't either. It was quite the shocking change, check out the photos:
I've never had to put chains on a car before, but now I've been baptized by fire in that department. Maybe not unsurprisingly, my rental car from Rome did come with snow tires. As soon as I crossed the state border in Molise (which is via driving through a mountain tunnel), it started snowing. A lot. Everything was fine until about an hour in when I had to take a road that went started going uphill. My momentum carried me about halfway up the slope, but the tires quickly lost traction and I had to pull over to the side. Luckily, I did have chains. Knowing what I know now, I could have put the chains on then, but, at the time, I thought I'd have to make it up (or down) the hill to a flat spot to put them on. So I waited for a big opening, put the car in first and gunned the throttle. I managed to get moving uphill, cranking the engine at about 5000 rpms, slipping and sliding across both lanes of traffic at 5 mph. Just as car headlights began appearing in both directions, I made it to the top and pulled off to the side in a flat spot... in 6 inches of snow. Luckily, the chains had an easy to follow Ikea-like instructional guidebook, and I didn't mess up too many times with the snow and traffic going by, so I got them on relatively hassle free. The drive afterwards was easy, except limited to 40 kmph. I got used to putting them on and taking them off over the next 4 days. So when there was another snowstorm the day I left, the chains were a breeze.