Ok, so first, let me start out by reminding everyone that i am 19
and i know DAM well how lucky i was to get this opportunity.
also, I just saw MRTHEENGINEER's post that he might be going to italy soon, so i hope this give him a few ideas. Anyone know how to tag someone on this?
also, I dont have all of the pictures. the vast majority of them are on my dads laptop back in toronto, and I'm up in thunder bay for university. so i'll insert google images for what i think its needed for.
ok, anyways, on to the story. (heads up, long post is long)
this, like MRTHEENGINEER's trip, started out as a family meet up.
now, if you have read my intro, you would have noticed that i am not from italy, but Romania.
so this ended up at a 2 week trip to europe in the middle of July 2013.
first we flew from Toronto to Frankfurt, then to Venice. from Venice, we had 20 hours to get to Verona (dad had gotten the tickets using aeroplan, so fuck them and their retarded layovers and 50 different transfers)
so, in those hours, we got a rental (a Nissan qashqai 1.5, i think. turbo diesel) and headed to Verona to catch a flight to bacau, Romania. we stayed at a small hotel over night and got there in the morning.
I also got to drive the nissan a couple of times around the block. it was my 5th or 6th time driving stick, and the first time on a turbo diesel. Didn't stall, was quite proud of that.
ours looked exactly like this one:
once we got to bacau, we got a taxi to take us to onesti, my home town and where my grand parents live. got to drive my grandpas car around for a little (a 1995 dacia 1310) 1300cc motor. had 75 hp when it was new in 1995. (for comparison, my SV650 motorcycle [650cc] has the same)
heres a pic.
his looks the same, but silver steelies, and its more of a baby blue.
(fun fact, these cars had so little HP the wheels only had 3 bolts)
anyways, after a week in Romania, we got back on the plane, and went back to Verona, this is where our trip started.
now, seeing as we were on a longer trip, we decided to spring for something a little more sporty at the rental desk. Audi A1? dad has an a3 tdi at home, so no. Alfa? none left. VW? they only had the polo with the 1.1. Most of the rest of the cars were all eco boxs or vans. ew
then we saw that they had a convertible. a 2010 Renault Megane coupe cab 1.5. we grabbed it.
same as the one in the pic, but black.
here is a fact to confuse you. the brake lights? they are actually only 3 Surface-mount LED's in the silver part of the housing. weird, I know.
So, this was the start of our trip. we got the car, and headed west. went to a small town north east of Bergamo called Lovere and got a room at the Hotel Lovere resort. had a beer with dad, and turned in early, wanting to be fresh for our trip. I should add at this point that we were lucky enough to have the best weather possible this whole trip. sunny skies, about 27 degrees C, so not to hot or cold, and not very windy. beautiful.
we had planned on staying in italy for about a week, so i'll have each day under a different heading
so, this was the start of our trip. we got the car, and headed north east, looking to the famous stelvio pass that top gear found.
thanks to GPS issues (mountains have shitty reception) we didnt find it. doesnt mean we didnt have fun.
we took the SS42 north, and then we ended up on the SS300.
now, i would like you to take a break from oppo, go to google maps, and take a look at it.
all those twists and turns were on a road that was a constant 5 or so degrees upward slope (steeper in some places) and wasnt more then a lane wide.
oh, and it had no guard-rails. needless to say, dad drove this bit.
what was really funny to us was the that i think 5/8th of the way up or something, we found SOMEONES HOUSE.
WHAT HAS HUMANITY POSSIBLY DONE TO YOU TO MAKE YOU LIVE UP HERE. [to be fair, the guy had a bad-ass offroader with 37' tires, and a full exo-skleton. i think i was a fj80. not sure though.
anyways, the climb down the other side wasn't that bad. we were so scared that at the top, dad took a 30 minute smoke break. keep in mind we live in Ontario, so our roads are mainly flat and at least 2 lanes wide. this was a HUGE difference to me. less so to dad, as he lived in Romania most of his life, and travels to italy for work a LOT. (think 4 - 9 weeks spread out through the year.)
so yea. we got down the other side, took the ss38 down through tirano to tresenda, where we turned left onto SS39, made our way back to the SS42 and went back to the hotel in Lovere, where i had my first Italian made pizza.
what a fucking disappointment. the topping are each spread out in there own corner. and it wasnt cooked thoroughly.
so, a beer that night and a shower, and to bed we went.
Now, orginaly what we wanted to do was head to the Nuremberg ring and do a lap or two. but it was far, and would have taken up the rest of our trip. plus i wasnt allowed to drive on it, so it would have been kinda pointless. so we had to remake our plan on the spot.
hey, we are in Italy. lets go visit the ferrari museum in near Modena!
so, we got in the car, dropped the top, and i drove there.
oh. my. god. those are the words i use to describe the place.
its like a small town for Ferrari's. there was the factory, just down the street was the museum, couple of clicks (km) away was one of there testing tracks, plus about 10 stores selling just Ferrari stuff.
now, i don't have any photos of the inside. but. oh my god. the f1 cars from different vintages. one-offs. steve mcqueen's old Ferrari. the bread-van. test cars for new tech. all of their trophy's. just. so. much. awesome. as a plus for me as a cyclist, i saw campagnolo's place here too.
so yea. not even as a car guy, its just such a great collection of history and passion.
also, as part of this town, ferrari had cars just sitting there.
no, seriously, they had a 355, 2 360's (just like Doug's) a 430 and a 458 just parked around the place. all red with show plates (you know, the ones with the model name on it) they were just parked there. not to mention the Ferrari's actually owned by people who came to visit. the were at least 3 458's there. black, black and white. a grey f12 and 2 older 575s. a grey and black. even a lambo.
then we took a look around the shops. one of them was actually a rental place where existing owners would pretty much whore their cars out, and I asked dad if he wanted to try one. (note here i asked if HE wanted. hes 50 now, and i didn't know if he would ever have the chance to drive one again. i still have the chance to (more on that in a different post) but i wanted him to do it.)
he went inside, came out, and said he had gotten ME a drive in f430 scuderia. I was excited, dont get me wrong. but a little disappointed. i wanted him to drive it, not me. and seeing as the owner came a long, he wouldnt have been able to come with us.
5 min before it was my turn, they came outside and told us i was too young to drive. tht i couldnt handle the power of this machine. (ignoring the fact that i ride a 650cc motorcycle on a day to day basis. yea, its not the same, i know, but i know what accel and braking is. besides, its not like i'm going to floor it on public streets that I dont know, but i digress)
so, we changed it the car to a california, and dad was to drive (ha, yes, it worked out) I have the video on a disk somewhere, i'll upload it to YouTube and post the link in the comments.
after the drive, I asked him if he liked it. (keep in mind he only poked it once, and not every hard at that)
his reply: 'well, it rides hard. and its a bit loud. and i was talking with the owner, and its expensive to maintain. granted, that car is used for what its used for'. At this point i was kinda dissapointed. i was hoping he would have enjoyed it. "BUT, when i did poke it....i can see where that money goes. would I buy one? no. did i enjoy yet? you bet" *PHEW*
but where to go now? we knew we couldn't go to Germany.....
so, we decided on France. why France? to see the Milau viaduct. yes, THAT viaduct.
hopped in the car, and I drove off. we got tired as we were passing Genoa, so we found a small 2 star hotel (wasnt tht bad actually. had free wifi) and stopped for the night
WE ARE IN FRANCE!
after switching briefly drivers for the border crossing, i got back in the drivers seat and we continued on our way. passed by Nice and through Avignon (yes, that town mentioned in the first Transporter.
WOW, I have never felt so insignificant in my life (from here on, i have photos from my phone on the trip)
first, i got to drive over it. you dont feel like its so high actually. but then we got down to the tourist store under it, and we realized just how big it is.
Hey look, it our car down in the corner! I didnt even notice that until now
ya. it was massive.
after this, we wanted to head into Switzerland. so, back on the road we go!
saw about 5 of these driving around on the highway. europes redbull mini cooper?
ya. so we holed up in france for the night. forgot where, but i do remember that the first 'hotel' that the GPS sent us too was actually some dudes house. huh. found one a few clicks away along some VERY fun b-roads. 3 star. nice place.
last day in france.
first off, i wanna mention this place
I have no idea where it is. its a small rest stop on the highway in france. it had a single vending machine.
AND FREE WIFI. THE HELL?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?
this honestly confused me so much. like. why? just a totally randon wifi spot on the side of the highway. (dad did explain it to me. something about France being on of the first countries to have a internet connection? or was it phone connection? some sort of connect form France to Switzerland)
We made our way to the mont blanc tunnel and passed through it today. yea, it the tunnel that had that horrendous fire years back (feels weird to call any date in the 21st century years back) I dont have any pictures from my phone, i took them all on the actual camera. (sorry guys)
so yea. now we are in Switzerland!
Fuck. The Swiss. (or their prices at least) no, really. we stopped innnnn...uhh. shit, i forgot the name. here, have a photo or two and see if you cant figure it out
but anyways. the prices. 4 crepes and a small cup of coffee for dad was like 25 euros. thats 37.50 CAD. or 34$ USD. its ridiculous.
also I saw an article in the paper about 2 ambulances that crashed into each other. both had their lights and sirens on. i laughed.
but yea. screw you Switzerland (and apparently, they think the same thing. look what i saw on the free way there)
now, we did stay in a hotel in Switzerland over night. 4 star place.
VERY nice. even though the shower head didnt quite reach the holder (see photo)
it did have an AMAZING view.
and there was a Audi Q7 V12 TDI in the parking lot with ceramic brakes, and a Aston martin DB9.
such car. very torque. much sexy. wow
so ya. no beer here (weird) so we called it a day and we went to bed
so, we are back into Italy today. entered near a small town called Domodossola. we took the SS337 to SS631. i was driving, and BOY was it fun! we eventually made back to Lovere, and actually stayed the night in a very nice hotel a little north of it on the SS42, I think. there are a couple of pics of the hotel.
We had our flight back to toronto the next morning, so we drove back down to Brescia, coming down the OTHER side of Lake ...Iseo? in Italian its called Lago d' Iseo, but I dont know how to translate that. Could it be Iseo's Lake? oh well. Moving on.
we pulled over at one point to take some pictures, VERY short entrance to get back on the road, so i took this chance to have a little bit of fun and try and shift aggressively (because racecar)
Didnt spin the wheels on the launch, but once i had let the clutch all the way out, i had it floored. that little 1.5 turbodiesel spun right up to 4500 rpm, then I stomped on the clutch, slammed the selector from 1st to second, and jumped right back on the gas. IT CHIRPED THE FRONT TIRES!!!!!
It also earned me a slap on the back of the head from dad, but w/e, it was still under the limit XD
we got back, nearly 3000km after we started, and the experience of a life time. we stayed in a 4star hotel near the airport that my dad stay at frequently (enough that the lovely women at the front desk recognized him). we wanted to find something to do, so we dropped down to the local motorcycle dealership just to see what they had in stock. this is also the first time i heard that suzuki was going to stop making the sv650 (my bike) It gave me a sad. That night, we stayed up watching a bunch of movie that we had brought with us, so that we would be tired enoguh to sleep on the plane ride back to toronto. it worked.
leave the hotel at 4am. get on the plane at 6am. get home, wash up, and move photos. trip done.
This section is for anyone who would be traveling there (Italy..Europe in general actually)
Tip #1: Food. Stop at one of the Autogrills on the highway. the food is DELICIOUS. I remember someone making a post a couple of days ago about the best rest stop in the world? he was right for putting these places up. brilliant food at decent prices. sure its not a 5 star restaurant, but you would be VERY surprised. 10/10 pic of the food
i included this pic because i though it was really funny how yuo can obviously tell which is german XD
"sexy italian accent"
"suave british accent"
"smooth french accent"
" HEIL FUCKING HILTER" (in here for comedy effect. dont kill about whether or not I support hitler. that isnt the point of it)
Tip #2: look over google maps when you are planning your trip. lots of small side roads that some GPS dont pick up or are blocked of
Tip #3: be prepared for a LOT of tolls. seriously. i think we spent something like 200 CAD JUST in toll fee's on this trip. so if you are doing a lot of driving, be prepared.
Tip #4 enjoy the scenery. you never know what you have the chance to do this again.
I think that is all I have to write about this time. I hope you guys enjoyed it, and if anyone knows how to get someone tagged, could u mention it in the comments? I want MRTHEENGINEER to see this. maybe Doug Demuro as well.