Yea, Another Euro Trip . . . . - Page 2 - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #16 of 97 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 11:18 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martin1133 View Post
You certainly know what you are doing and give very good advice. Driving a classic around Europe is a great way to see the place and allows you to interact with all kinds of folk who you wouldn´t meet in a rented Focus, but is not always plain sailing.
This is kind but we feel like a pinball in a pinball machine much of the time. Trying to sort the Portugese highway toll card out now (not the transponder thingie). I much prefer Switzerland's blanket freeway pass. You actually have to set up an account via their antiquated PTT system on-line and activate it with with hidden codes and secret handshakes. And add money if you go over your account. All in Portugese. They do not make it very tourist-friendly.

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post #17 of 97 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 12:56 PM
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On the bright side; the food looks to be good...

On a serious note; highway driving in a classic is not the most fun thing to do, let alone in torrential rain.
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post #18 of 97 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
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Looking back on 2017 trip and driving through southern Tuscany from 4 day base in Sienna including the Val d'Orcia. A perfect old-Alfa driving day.. There are many of these, just not those long haul days to get there. Eyes on the prize. This is what today and the next 2 1/2 weeks are about. Fun shorter exploring drives interspersed with visiting bigger cities. Just wanted to inject some reality also on the hard stuff.

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post #19 of 97 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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Day drive trips east to Lagos and its breathtaking yellow and orange cliffs with azure waters, and west to the Sagres area. Sagres is the 2nd furthest west point in continental Europe. One of their two national beers is named after this area. Lots of traffic circles inserted into roads as the exurbs have expanded. I like them versus traffic lights or unsafe intersections but they do slow the drive.
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post #20 of 97 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 01:56 PM Thread Starter
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Sagres, and lunch back in the village. Sagres has an old and new maritime school going back to Henry the Navigator. Sagres is a thin peninsula jutting out and receves the full force of the Atlantic northern swells on one side and is relatively calmer on the other southern side like the southern facing beaches of southern Portugal at Lagos. Weather has been coolish 50's night and 60's day and quite windy at Sagres today after the front came through.
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post #21 of 97 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
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And a walk around the village before evening tappas.
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post #22 of 97 (permalink) Old 04-27-2019, 09:09 AM Thread Starter
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While I am converting my wife's HEIC files (WTH??) to JPEG to see what to post, I'll put some in of the visit to Italclassic in El Campello Spain several days ago. They just recently sold via a broker in NL a very nice 67 graphite gray over brown Giulia, for $43k. They have two rusty Giulia shells in the shop now. I eyed a very nice Alfetta GT 2.5 in red over black and a nice S3 Spider with a hard top. The Sprint is for their partner in the NL. The blue GTAm R is not for sale but for a client. 2L rally prepped. The color was not standard but gorgeous. Has me thinking . . . There were many projects in the shop, in fact, it was stuffed. Hard to tell what is spoken for versus for sale. Working on a white Giulia spider. Some later GT's. John sayd they have about a year's backlog for a major resto project right now.

Check this out:
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post #23 of 97 (permalink) Old 04-27-2019, 10:25 AM Thread Starter
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Last 3 days taking some short driving trips along the lesser roads, east and west poking into small villages and taking roads down to small pocket beaches. The big A22 ends at Lagos and the N145 two lane continues on from Lagos out to Bispo. The M537 Departmental road winds down to Salema. We took other small "yellow" departmental and local roads and explored east and west including Sagres N268, Bispo, Raposeria M1257, Pria de Ingrina, and some small local roads east of Salema via pocket beaches and Burgeau to Luz and the gorgeous beaches there. I'd consider Luz for a future visit. Not too big like Lagos and not as small and quaint as Salema. Plus a good beach for surf. In fact, this southern Portuguese coast is a flashback to US west coast 60's surf culture but with hippies in vans and rastafarians mixed in. This is a center for surf. Many beaches packed, small towns had surf shops and training camps. We are running into a lot of foreigners; lots of UK but a smattering of the rest: E, D, F, CH, some Scandahouvians.
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post #24 of 97 (permalink) Old 04-27-2019, 10:44 AM Thread Starter
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BTW. I keeping with New Rule #1 above, we are leaving a day early from Porto and dividing a ~1000km day to Bordeaux into two days, staying at Burgos along the way. It's all highway driving and 500 is enough. Passed through before in 2010 but did not get a look. We got a 1 day refund from the AirBNB already that went towards the hotel night. It will also put us into relatives home earlier and somewhat "capacitated" and ready to party. Here's a mix of some of my faves from this area:
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post #25 of 97 (permalink) Old 04-27-2019, 10:56 AM Thread Starter
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Cautionary Tale: know your Euro holiday calendar and the impacts. We have been blithely ignorant of this in the past but got walloped in 2017 with a big religious and bank holiday leaving Italy north and had HIDEOUS traffic in very hot conditions. Literally stopped going up the Gothard tunnel road from Lake Como area, and then stop and go for miles uphill in the heat. Had a bad case of vapor lock. Everone knew about this except us and all the German ans Swiss tourists caught up in it peeing alongside the road.

This year entering Spain, there was a backlog of traffic heading to France for miles. Friday. Same thing. Spring break and holidays ending and people heading home north. Miles of traffic stop and go traffic. As Peter (Kember) advised last time, know the holidays and plan around them wisely.

Snow in the Pyrenees, nav setup (two devices one for pre-planned routes and one live for traffic), trucks passing trucks, holiday traffic, Ben, Carmen and me at visit.
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post #26 of 97 (permalink) Old 04-28-2019, 12:33 PM Thread Starter
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Shout Out. I'd like to give a shout out to Fred Frey. Without his help on navigation tools we'd be lost and frustrated. More than even normally possible with international travel and navigating. Starting in 2017, Fred shared his navigation set-up and behind the scenes techniques for trip and route prep, preparing custom routes using MyMaps, saving KML's, converting to GPX's and using various NavApps for preplanned routes and real-time road info. The weak link seems to be real time info. Google Maps and Waze are not very good. Any good alternates? Using TomTom Go and MyDrive but not getting road hazard data.

Fred is a Jedi master at planning and executing long trips both in the US and Europe. He does a Euro trip every year and has beat us all on cross-country US trips. I'd be interested to hear his comments on some of my points raised if he is lurking around. Fred?

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post #27 of 97 (permalink) Old 04-28-2019, 12:49 PM Thread Starter
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The 5 hours drive up from Salema to Cascais outside of Lisbon was a delight. Especially the first 60% on the N268 off the N125 at Bispo to the N120 and N120-1 to the A26 highway at Sines. It went along the edge of coastal forest with occasional views of he ocean and passed through several villages. Mostly looked like some scrubby pines and eucalyptus and later a lot of live oaks just in flower (tassels). Perfect old Alfa roads from Bispo to Sines. Then highway the rest of the way. And white knuckle big city driving over the bridge to Lisbon and all the way to our place. Note the speed statistics of N vs A roads below. For some reason the Tracker crapped out at two points so the distance data may not be accurate. This was a 338 km day.

And some videos:



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post #28 of 97 (permalink) Old 04-30-2019, 09:22 AM Thread Starter
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K ran across this series (we've watched several others before coming over) and it seems to ring pretty true. Even for visitors. A Danish couple who moved to Portugal. We have been surprised at how much English is spoken everywhere we've been, much ore than rural France and even much of Spain and definitely Italy. But then it's been a real smorgasbord of international travelers and residents and English is the new Liungua Francia. Many tourist site placcard narrations are in Portugese, Spanish and English only. One Euro - several languages and even more dialects.

The Pros and Cons of living in Portugal.

Cons: dealing with bureaucratic administrivia (not unique to Portugal trust me), lack of urgency and time consideration, car dings and crashes, scary driving, driving is expensive, expensive air travel.

Pros: nice weather (compared to Denmark anyway), big diversity of things to do and see, good public transit, reasonably inexpensive but being gentrified and creeeping up with the rest of Europe, increasing diversity of commercial development with influx of forengn money, super friendly, kind warm and welcoming people (verified), low crime rate, widespread use of English,


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post #29 of 97 (permalink) Old 04-30-2019, 10:35 AM Thread Starter
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Yesterday was a busy hard tourist day. Those can be as hard as driving 1000 km in old cars in wind and rain!!!!

Went to Sintra and visited the Pena Palace and Moorish Fort. There were other things to do there but that was actually enough. Left early 09:00 for 40 min drive up. Parked easily in parking just outisid of the historic village. So far so good.

The Ugly. Stood in line 40 min in a hot building to get tickets that took us 3 min to process. (It seems to take many people forever to get these things done. You'd think you went to a French political debate in a coffee shop.) Then figure out the bus ride up and stand in line 20 min for that. Then a 500' climb up through nice forest to the palace. Then stand in a slow upward moving line at the Pena Palace for 1 1/2 hours in the sun to get to the door entrance. Once inside it was personal bumper to bumper traffic for an hour walk though. The terraces were overcrowded. This is only April. And it was reasonably cool. Then a 20 min wait in line and a bus ride to the Moorish Fort. Then a 500' ascent to the castle. Coke and chips at snack bar for lunch. Stand in line for 15 min for the snack while folks dither on their 3 selections and exact change. It was pretty crowded here too. Walk down. Get a bus after waiting 20 min in line down the mountain. Miss our off-ramp (dazed and confused) and take the bus circuit around again, another 30 min. Walk down back to the car. Drive home, get 98 gas enroute, fight rush hour traffic, arr. 17:30. RT: 8 1/2 hours, 6 miles walking, 5 1/2 hours standing in line. Got home beat and still had to head out foraging to eat. Long day. Truly, being a committed tourist can be exhausting. I have no idea how those bus tour people do it from 6 am to 10 pm, day after day. Hats off to them.

The Good. The place was good if not amazing in a bizarre way. Still struggling with the architecture. We've seen Nouveau and Deco. We've seen Gaudi and Dali's variation on that at Figures. We've seen Gothic, Rococco and variations on Victorian. We've seem Moorish influence (Alhambra, Cordoba, Giralda, etc,) . And Neuschwanstein castle (Disney based his castle on that). But never seen anything like this. And this place melded that all together with Alice in Wonderland and/or a bad LSD trip and a palette of "It's a Small World" colors. It makes me really curious who commissioned this, and the architect. What were they smoking. Mind you I'm into bold design statements - I own an Alfa SZ Zagato which is outrageous car design to many/most. SO this place - like a Zagato - leaves a real impression. It is like no castle/palace I've ever seen. I'm glad I went, K is not. Wiki says it's "flamboyant romantic" - but I'd say Liberace on LSD in Las Vegas. It is fairy-tale like, the product of a youthful fun-loving mind with a strong dose of Moorish on the side.

You be the judge now.
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post #30 of 97 (permalink) Old 04-30-2019, 11:00 AM Thread Starter
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The Moorish Fort was really cool. I love fighting castles and forts. I love ramparts with crenelations. This one had it all and a LOT of terrain change spreading out all around. But with no flat place to marshal troops and no internal structures; did they sleep in the trees?. It is curious that as fastidious, OCD and really anal as the European nanny state is about regulations and safety and auto safety (exhaustive MOT's, vests, safety equipment required), fluorescent police cars, etc. etc. etc., that this place had 2' wide ramparts with 50' drops and no rails or handholds inside or outside. Narrow sections were open to two-way traffic. You got really intimate passing people stopped to take pictures and feared for your life. It was really really scary and I ski steep slopes and big surf. But not falling 50' onto rock surfaces. I could not imagine taking kids here or teenagers, or older folks. Mountain goats might do well. Now in North America, with a lot more lax regulations about everything, 300 million guns, and a 3 minute MOT and no safety equipment and no chicanes leading into villages on roads, etc. etc., we would have people on belay here with OSHA handrails and mid-rails. Just a strange dichotomy. I suspect it's because we have way too many lawyers and a litigious society. It's worth a visit if you do not have vertigo problems.

Note that we worked hard to get these two sites done and in a full day only visited two of like 12 attractions here. Plan accordingly. Bring water and energy bars, and if in the summer deodorant and a sun umbrella. Better yet, do it on a raining 35F deg day in the way off-season.

Last pic is of the Sintra historic village and palace down below. You do not want to walk up and down unless you have expedition gear and a lot of time to burn.
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Last edited by Anfanuts; 05-30-2019 at 01:36 PM.
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