18th July 2017
Well that was quite a 24 hours! No matter how well you plan your holidays you can guarantee something (yes I’m talking about you Eliza) gets thrown in the mix at the last minute to throw everything into chaos.
Eliza managed to get thrown from her horse in full gallop the day before she goes on holiday and the day I am supposed to go. I was with Vernon who was fitting a sump guard to the Aero before my first big outing so I was a bit stranded. Paramedics had to carry her across a huge field before the ambulance takes her off to hospital. Luckily there was no major damage. Her back is sore and she has fractured a shoulder blade. In a sling for 6 weeks but that’s all – phew! Although in some discomfort she is determined to go to Greece with her friends.
I left home (a bit late) last night to catch the 11.30 pm ferry from Portsmouth to Le Havre. The run down was uneventful and I arrived at the port with just a few minutes left to check in. After a reasonable meal on board I settled into my cabin for a sleep. I’m on my way. This afternoon I really didn’t think I would be here.
19th July 2017
I left the ship at 8.00 and headed across France. The route isn’t too inspiring this morning but I made excellent progress. Skirting Paris wasn’t too bad and some more interesting roads this afternoon. I deliberately left the main roads in the afternoon as I had made such good progress. The countryside was pretty rather than spectacular. I made my guesthouse in a tiny village of Savagnier in Switzerland by early evening.
This is my first big trip in the Aero 8. What a machine! It cruises effortlessly but if you need a bit of acceleration the thing can really take-off. I’m really looking forward to the more interesting roads through Switzerland tomorrow – lets see how it handles the twisty stuff. 720km today and after the turmoil of yesterday I’m off to bed.
20th July 2017
Now that was an excellent days motoring in the Alps.
I left Savagnier and skirted around Bern and Thun before going through Interlrken and onward towards the big passes.
Grimsel Pass 7100ft
Furka Pass 7969ft
Gotthard Pass 6909ft
These were the highlights but not all of the great roads today. Mixed in with the high passes were beautiful gorges. It is amazing how many people blast past so many quiet, beautiful roads such a short way off the main roads.
The car performed perfectly. It really does fly up the hills and darts round the hairpins when asked to.
I’m in a little village called Bivio tonight. I hope the weather stays as good as it has been today. Almost 1000 miles with the roof down since I left home on Monday night. Can I make it all the way to Venice with the roof off?
Let’s see what tomorrow brings…..
21st July 2017
After a good breakfast in a very quiet hotel again I got the car out of the garage, cleaned the bugs off the windscreen and hit the road again – straight into the Julierpass. A great start to the day.
I continued on through St Moritz before heading north east into Italy to the Stelvio Pass. What a road. Luckily it was not too busy and the ascent was amazing. I had to linger a little at the top to admire quite a few very nice cars and to admire the large number of cyclists mad enough to take on this monster.
After coffee and the obligatory fridge magnet I tackled one of the most famous road descents. An impressive piece of Engineering to say the least. It just goes on and on. Hairpin after hairpin snaking steeply downwards for mile after mile. Nice! The only thing you have to be really careful of is the occasional motorbike coming the other way overtaking a slow moving (understandably) cyclist. Twice I had to break sharply as a leather clad madman rounded a corner on the wrong side of the road.
When I finally reach the bottom my attention turns to Venice – the target of this journey. Josephine left at 4.00 a.m. This morning and should be at the hotel a couple of hours before me if all has gone to plan.
The motorway to Venice is not for the feint hearted. Round Verona it’s more like a racetrack but with lorries and caravans thrown in just to make it more perilous. I ended up just staying in the outside lane and going with the flow.
My sat nav programming turned out to be spot on and I went straight to the Venice Lido ferry. After a slight communication and credit card issue I eventually purchased my ticket and one for the car.
Looks like I’m in luck when I’m called forward to take the last spot on the ferry. Oops. I don’t fit. I have to reverse back up the ramp to the queue whilst they call forward a smaller car. I have to wait 40 minutes for the next one.
The 20 min ride was nice and landed me only 300m from the hotel where Josephine is waiting. After all the planning with routes, Eliza, flights, animals to be cared for and the cruise to come it was great that everything had come together. I have to admit that in A & E at the Manor Hospital on Monday afternoon I did have my doubts.
The good people at the hotel had kept me a covered parking place (the only one) as requested and I carefully parked the car for a well deserved rest. Looking forward to a few days relaxing now before the journey home.
22nd-29th July 2017
30th July 2017
1 day, 4 countries. Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Lichtenstein. I decided on a hotel in Lichtenstein purely because I have never been here before – must get another fridge magnet!
The day started damp and drizzly as I left the hotel. Within 20 minutes I had bought my ticket and found my way on to the ferry from Venice Lido to Tronchetto. I decided to avoid motorways where possible today so I headed cross country towards Trento. The weather cleared within an hour driving so the roof came off. The run was pleasant enough if a little frustrating with the speed limit changing every 100 yards or so it felt.
After Trento I headed north to skirt past Bolzano before heading west. I passed by the bottom of the start of the Stelvio Pass and I was tempted to go up again but the traffic on a Sunday was heavy that way so I headed for the Resia Pass as planned before turning off for Martina. The Fluela Pass was next towards Davos. At the top the weather ahead looked terrible so I put the roof on and headed down.
As I exited one tunnel the heavens opened and it poured for the next hour. Glad I stopped. It went extremely dark and I took things very steady down to Davos before heading for Vaduz in Lichtenstein. I turned of before Vaduz, now under clear skies again and took the road up to the ski resort of Malbun. The hotel is very nice and I have indulged in an excellent Pizza at the place opposite.
Not too much of this trip left so I must make the most of it. Another country tomorrow. Luxembourg.
31st July 2017
New PB. Lichtenstein, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Luxembourg today. Should have popped into France for lunch! If I include England and my route through Belgium tomorrow I will have travelled through:
My route down from Malbun was spectacular. The roads soon levelled out though and I settled into the motorways which was to dominate today. The hood was down and I bowled along nicely.
I got caught out this afternoon. I could see a little rain but at speed this is no problem. It turned out to be a bit more than a shower and became quite heavy. Then came roadworks which stopped the traffic. Not for long but long enough for me to get a soaking. One passing lorry driver jokingly held an umbrella out as I crawled along next to him. What a gent 😂.
I stopped at some services and continued to get wet as I erected the roof. This is no 20 sec motorised Mercedes affair – this is a Morgan roof!
I made my way through further showers to my hotel in the town of Echternach in Luxembourg. It turns out to be a very nice old town. I squeeze my Aero into the garage I prearranged and head out to eat.
I’m now watching the lightning light up the sky. I hope that passes by the morning. I have an early start tomorrow as I have a ferry to catch in Calais. Night night.
31st July 2017
After a quick breakfast I left the hotel by 8.00 in light rain. I made my way towards the motorway through Luxembourg. The heavens opened and I spent the next two hours in a severe thunder storm. These were terrible driving conditions and my speed was severely impaired as I could hardly see where I was going and aqua planing was a real danger. I could not believe how fast some people were driving in these conditions through rivers of water. I just followed a group of lorries that cleared some of the water away.
Eventually, somewhere in Belgium the rain stopped. After a brief fuel stop I set about making my way to Calais. Timing was going to be tight without the rain and I made check in with minutes to spare.
I ate on the crossing and headed out back into England remembering to drive on the left. Apart from 20min round the M25 I made good progress. After exactly 2500 miles I was home.
A great trip where everything went to plan. The car has been fantastic. Can’t wait for my next trip. Where next?