Blast into Europe 2009
Blast into Europe
A considerable amount of time had being spent planning routes and hotels for our 12 day July blast in to Europe,which took us across northern France, with a stopover at Joinville, Beckenreid (Lake Lucerne), then via the San Bernadino pass to Davos and then on to Lake Garda for 5 nights taking in the Stelvio pass on the way. Whilst at Garda we had trips on the lake and also a day trip to Venice via train (hence no pictures of cars in canals!). After the stay in Garda we travelled west via Milan and the Mont Blanc tunnel for a stopover in Sallanches, further overnight stops in Dijon and Laon.
We were graced with excellent weather, the only exception was exiting the steamy Gotthard tunnel when we received a deluge of rain on our heads and had to make a swift stop at the first services to put the lids on. The hotels lived up to, and even surpassed, our expectations.
Road signage varied quite considerably between France, Switzerland and Italy, with Switzerland being the easiest to follow. Roads were a delight to drive as no congestion, traffic jams or road works to hold you up. The standards of the road surfaces were fantastic, no potholes!
This trip was also a gastronomic delight and the Italian ice cream wonderful. Not to mention the equally wonderful Italian wines.
At times, driving home through France, the only traffic we encountered was the harvest machinery, tractors a-plenty, but no cars.
In looking back on this holiday, it goes down as one of the best in a lifetime. The things we saw were quite amazing with the most impressive highlights (hard to choose!) being Venice, Lake Garda, Mont Blanc, Stelvio, Malcasine, Lake Lucerne, and so many more hit the wow factor. We were even spotted on the Stelvio Web Cam.
This has to be a trip to recommend to any Caterham driver for sheer enjoyment. Not just a delight for the driver but as much for the passenger as well.
Robin and Andy planned this down to the minutest detail and it paid off. The trip went like clockwork and literally nothing went wrong. Robin did lose a headlight in Switzerland but it didn’t cause any problems. Andy’s number plate bolt broke before we had driven half a mile from home, but 2000 miles later it was still not a problem!
The challenge must be on – what will they come up with next year?
Day 1 - Tunnel crossing, night stop Laon
Day 2 - Montbeliard, crossed border at Delle, to Beckenreid, Lake Lucerne for overnight.
Day 3 - San Bernadino pass, drive to Davos for overnight
Day 4 - Drive Davos to Stelvio - top gear's noted best road journey in the world, Stelvio pass, drive down to Lake Garda, Sirmione for 5 nights
Day 5 - Relax at hotel day
Day 6 - Train journey to Venice for the day
Day 7 - Water taxi 2 hour trip to Malcesine for cable car to top of Mont Baldo
Day 8 - Pescheira and Sirmione
Day 9 - Drove motorway to get past Milan, Mont Blanc tunnel, Mont Blanc, night stop in Salanches
Day 10 - Drive by Lake Geneva, overnight in Dijon
Day 11 - Drive to Laon
Day 12 - Laon to tunnel and then home.
For the techies, we averaged 40 mpg which considering the tightness of the engine (only 500 miles on the clock when we left) was really good. We drove 1949 miles and the fuel costs (for anyone else considering such a trip) was £249.
Pictures and Story By Lesley Read