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Driving bliss Best roads? Best music? Whatever makes your 8 the best place to be, share it with us

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  #11  
Old 23rd July 2017, 10:53 PM
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briang9 briang9 is offline
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Originally Posted by Johnmed View Post
We use Ibis budget, they're utilitarian and reasonably priced. Me and the boy like them, his mother not so much. To be fair there isn't much she does like. Can book them online/through Accor app.
That looks like it could have been written by me....seems a common issue
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  #12  
Old 24th July 2017, 09:27 AM
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Got back last week from doing a banger rally on these exact routes. Drove down from Essex and stayed in the Formula 1 hotel near Reims ready for the off the next morning. There's a few other hotels around there including a decent budget one next door but you know what you're getting with the cheap and cheerful F1 so I don't mind them too much. Start point for the rally (with 20 other cars) was the straight on the old Reims track. Be sure to explore behind the pit area and you can even climb up in the old viewing/race control tower.



From Reims we cruised down to Interlaken, Switzerland (always avoiding toll roads/motorways). Unfortunately there aren't many breathtaking roads on this route to make the long drive more exciting. Enjoyed a few beers at Hooters, Interlaken (we liked to enjoy the local food and people) with the white cap of Mont Blanc rising high above the other mountains and seeing another rally made up entirely of mk1 Skylines driving from Abu Dhabi.





(Yes, it's the Smokey And The Bandit Trans Am )

Day 2 onwards is where the scenery started getting tasty. We drove from Interlaken to Bormio, Italy.

Day 3 the route was from Bormio dipping back into France to Val d'Isere taking in lots of Switzerland and northern Italy including the Stelvio Pass, St Bernard passes, Contra dam (from Goldeneye), Lake Como, Lake Menaggio and the Aosta valley. If the weather is decent the mountain passes will be flooded with bikers and motorhomes. It's easy for Top Gear to hoon it around these roads when they have them closed but you just can't be that brave when you don't know if there's a Dutch motorhome around the corner and have a 500ft straight drop with no barrier to your offside so you have to settle down and be sensible sometimes. There are fearsome switchbacks on some of these mountain passes. Last year we did the route in an old Jag XJ Sport and were reversing on some of the tight switchbacks to get round them, not making for an elegant sight. If in the vicinity you can even take an excursion to Mont Blanc to cross the French/Italian border but there is a toll of €43.50/€54.30 one-way/return respectively so be prepared for that if you are doing the tunnel!





The nav looked like this most of the time:






Day 4 we left Val d'Isere for Monaco and Nice skirting Turin, driving through the ski town of Isola 2000 and heading south to the Col de Turini. Did the obligatory lap or two of the Monaco circuit (the police take a dim view of any speeding here) then drove the coast road to Nice and settled in the port for Bastille day evening so everywhere was lively.

Day 5 everyone dispersed and our journey home was a non-stop slog from Nice to Calais, the fastest route possible. Raced to catch our 9pm train only to find out there were massive delays and we eventually left Calais on the next train which happened to be the last train at 1:55am.


As said, if using Swiss motorways you will need a vignette sticker which can be bought at the the motorway checkpoints for €40 iirc or you can buy online before for €32. In Switzerland you can pay for anything in Euros and you'll get Swiss Francs back in change at an unfavorable rate but it does save juggling Sterling, Euros and Swiss Francs around in your pockets and wallet all the time.

Swiss police don't mess about either. A member of another team dodged an 80CHF fine for speeding 3 years ago and thought it would go away. Unsurprisingly the car's number plate flagged up at a motorway checkpoint in Switzerland this time and they wouldn't allow him to leave until he paid 1,550CHF! Needless to say he wasn't very cheerful for the rest of the rally.

I fancy going back and doing the same routes in my S8, I think it would be surprisingly confident on the mountain passes, but it's a whole day of solid driving to get down to the good stuff. An alternative is to fly to Milan (flights sometimes come up for £40 return!) and rent a tasty car from Avis Prestige or similar for the trip. You can rent an Abarth for the week for just €120 or even an Alfa 4C for €300. Some of the fast mountain roads can really punish cars and destroy brakes so it's much easier doing that in a rental car or if you are lucky enough to have ceramic brakes! One team had an automatic Micra and obviously didn't know about engine braking, by the bottom of one of the mountain roads the alloys had MELTED to the centre hub where the guy was on the brakes non stop. Another team had a big old Lexus LS and the paint on the alloys was visibly bubbling at the bottom of the same road.

You aren't a million miles away from southwest Germany there so that shouldn't be ruled out either. The Black Forest and Triberg have some decent roads that not many people know about.
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Last edited by Conquistador; 24th July 2017 at 10:14 AM.
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  #13  
Old 24th July 2017, 09:40 AM
1781cc 1781cc is offline
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Sounds like you did the same as some of my trips, mine were part of the Crumball rally, then doing my own variants after with the wife and friends.

I found Switzerland beautiful, but we diverted off route and over the mountains as the motorways were shut because of a huge shunt, some mountain passes were still shut because of snow - and this was in May!

I'll nick some of your stop off points for variation next time
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  #14  
Old 24th July 2017, 10:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1781cc View Post
Sounds like you did the same as some of my trips, mine were part of the Crumball rally, then doing my own variants after with the wife and friends.

I found Switzerland beautiful, but we diverted off route and over the mountains as the motorways were shut because of a huge shunt, some mountain passes were still shut because of snow - and this was in May!

I'll nick some of your stop off points for variation next time
Yeah, we did the same rally this year as last year so we could afford to go 'off-piste' a little and explore after discovering what is worth driving and what not to bother with again.

Beautiful part of the world though. Switzerland has some amazing scenery and stopping for lunch around Lake Como in Italy was most agreeable.
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  #15  
Old 24th July 2017, 07:44 PM
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Just brilliant!!!
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  #16  
Old 30th July 2017, 10:16 AM
tc4332 tc4332 is offline
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Oh Dear, the memories.
I've travelled those areas many times with the coaches. I used to dodge the tunnels and go over the top to give the tourists a decent view/experience. Couldn't do it in the winter though. One August while the passengers were having breakfast I was scraping snow off the coach windscreen.
You are correct that some of the hairpins are tight But then I have taken a coach up Vesuvious and negotiated all the bends without reversing, though the first time was a bit frought, IIRC two of them caught me out. Soon learnt the best approach.
On one of our Yugoslavia tours I used to do an overnight at Lake Como and on the return at Lake Maggioro. We had to stop them when the silly buggers started shooting at the coaches.
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  #17  
Old 1st October 2018, 09:55 AM
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Resurrecting an old thread, but I drove from Geneva to Calais to get the Eurotunnel back home to Essex on Sunday and made a 5 minute detour off the long dreary A26 motorway to go via the old race circuit at Reims and stretch my legs and refuel the Polo. I can report that it's all still standing and is still serving as a pilgrimage site for car rallies and motorsport fans

It's always worth going to if you are heading down to the south and it's 3 hours from Calais.



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  #18  
Old 1st October 2018, 11:14 PM
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Nice! I think that will be my next on list if we donít have a hard Brexit
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List to do: Redo rear tint, RVC, FL rear lights, FL speedo (bought) 20 alloys. Rear seat entertainment..... Any donations welcome

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