Yea, Another Euro Trip . . . . - Page 5 - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #61 of 97 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
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Last of Porto.
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post #62 of 97 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 12:16 PM Thread Starter
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Drive to Burgos. The drive up the Douro River valley was a planned drive inserted into the trip to Burgos as we did not do it as a day-trip loop. It added a lot of time to that day but was worth it. This is a great wine producing area. In fact we found Portuguese wines quite nice and drinkable and reasonable. We terminated the scenic part of the drive at Ragua with lunch at 13:30 and made it to Burgos on freeway at 20:00. Hotel de Ciudad de Burgos out of town. Very nice.
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post #63 of 97 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 01:38 PM
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Thank you to share with us this nice trip.

It reminds me of family vacations, during the 70's, when we visited Europe (west part at this time) from North to South. West to Est.
It was in the Berlina 2000... Parents in front, children behind, trunk full of luggage. No highways (just in Germany, and some in Italy and France), some trucks, no speed limits, no mass tourism, no GPS, no cellphone. I regret a little this time...

Again thank you

Chris
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post #64 of 97 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 03:17 PM
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Living the vicarious life

Yep, count me as a lurker. Traveling always has its challenges but we can always hope that the good outweighs the struggles.

I have to live vicariously through you for at least two reasons.

One, my Alfa isn't useable at this time. Two, I cannot afford to tour Europe right now.

Keep the reports coming.
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post #65 of 97 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 04:33 PM
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Just read through the trip to date. Loving it! Always educational too. That holiday traffic looks horrendous when you are in a Giulia! Quarter light angling air con unusable!
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post #66 of 97 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 12:10 AM Thread Starter
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Heading North fom Paris to Belgium today. Boring freeway route 450km.
We've had our share of strange Euro weather while it snows in Scotland now. A borasca tropical storm in Spain, rain and wind in southern Portugal and now flooding storms up north. Leaving Paris for northern Belgium shortly.

Some roads out of Paris on the N and A104 were flooded with lanes closed. Some cars spun out and in deep water too. Caused a traffic jam leaving.

It rained hard to past Roissy, then cloudy and windy and just cool and some clouds in Lommel.

Washed and filled-up the car for the next trip. Whenever . . .
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post #67 of 97 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 11:00 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by alfa2go View Post
Just read through the trip to date. Loving it! Always educational too. That holiday traffic looks horrendous when you are in a Giulia! Quarter light angling air con unusable!
Not only is the A/C lousy in 105, but the defroster on a morning like today in the high 40's (F, 10C) and damp and rainy is a pain. You get in the car all hot and wet from rain and breathing heavily from carrying suitcases and loading up in the rain. The windows immediately fog up. We always have a microfiber cloth and roll of paper towels to defog the windows. Keeping them clean helps but they still fog. After 20 minutes of fiddling with the heater/defroster and underway, it gets a bit clearer. The good news is that on this 73, the rear window defogger/deicer works all but one wire.
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post #68 of 97 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 11:17 AM
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I lived in Europe for 5 years in the days before smartphones and GPS and its a wonder I lived to tell the tale. Driving solo into a city at night with a jumbo map was hit or miss. I wrote the exits and city names on a 3X 5 index card and used the map as the back up. As I tried to find a funky old place in the center of town, I adopted the rule "steer towards the steeples". City Centers normally grew up around founding churches. Its wasn't a perfect system but its suited me.
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post #69 of 97 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 11:57 AM Thread Starter
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The trip came full circle today back at the Lommel Broek hotel where we departed about 5 weeks ago. The loop was 6103 km or 3814 miles pus a bit at each end before dep and after arr. Unfortunately very little of that was scenic day drives. According to Google+ MyMaps the loop was 3445 miles. That only leave about 400 for scenic day drives. Some additional legs on the loop were scenic small roads but not enough. Will post some other thoughts after some reflection.

One thing for sure: you need a great pit crew to pull off a long drive like this in an old car comfortably. Only two new small hitches, some small driveline vibs that were present on the last trip but not solved, a trunk lid hinge pin broke and I had to remove the spring to keep it from springing awkwardly and prop it up wiht a stick, and occasionally reverse hung up and locked forward gears momentarily. Food for evaluation befor the next trip. Otherwise flawless, running 11 hours and 1000km legs, 6000km total at 110-130 kph all day long.

Who says these cars are unreliable? This is the 5th long-haul trip in an old Alfa with over 23,000 miles and no significant failure that stopped the parade - some vibs, a cranky solenoid, broken hinge pin and occasional crabby shift into reverse on all those trips combined.
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post #70 of 97 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 12:16 PM Thread Starter
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I did rediscover one design flaw in the Giulia that is not apparent in driving in the US: it has the turning circle of a VLCC (large freighter). Don't try u-turns on even medium sized roads. They become tedious 3-point turns and without power steering. We rediscovered this maneuvering in the typically tight Euro parking places and some very small roads. In many ways my Suburban feels more nimble.
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post #71 of 97 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 12:21 PM
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A Leffe seems like a perfect cap to a great trip. I've done an Abbey cruise in Belgium. There are something like 8 beer producing Abbeys-I'm a few shy of having completed the full census
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post #72 of 97 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 01:32 PM
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Glad you are enjoying it. Yes, Texas/Austin resident, car stored with a good friend in Belgium, and reg'd in NL. Used it in the 2017 trip. See other trip blogs linked in signature block. Cheers,. B

PS: for the most part European drivers are very good and well trained, and there is both a known and hidden set of conventionis and rules here that Americans slowly - or maybe don't - grasp. Normal friendly people can become absolute schizophrenic maniacs behind the wheel, their socialistic suppressed over-regulated controlled alter-ego Mad Max emerges in a car. And everyone is an F1 or rally driver in a car or on a moto or scooter in Italy. Once in Bordeaux I was struggling to make the destination even with GPS having made several rounds on one-way and blocked streets. So on the 3rd round, I slowed down to really study it. The French guy behind me went mad honking his horn. I stopped the car, turned it off, got out and went back to have a discussion about civility. In the southern US you do not behave like that, and my "red- neck" came out. In some areas you could be legally shot*. He immediately realized he had made a grave mistake as he was easily a foot shorter and 40 kg less. From an American POV he was lucky he did not get dragged through the window and stomped to beef jerkey. From a Euro POV I gather that leaning on your horn for some like a petulant 2 year-old is just fine. Viva la difference.

* only slightly SARC
Well thank God for the internet ... But just in case you were considering a trip further down south of the Mediterranean, consider leaving the car behind... Peep peep

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post #73 of 97 (permalink) Old 05-12-2019, 04:36 AM
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Nice documentation and photo log and your candid comments of what goes right and wrong added to the picture... I'm exhausted...Traffic over there is underestimated. It can be very frustrating and ruin a schedule/plan. Ireland and Scotland and Poland are less densely populated and still make for fun driving with little regard for freeways.
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post #74 of 97 (permalink) Old 05-12-2019, 10:22 AM Thread Starter
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Parting shots: Kerkoven BE. At Eindoven airport ready for early AM flight.
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post #75 of 97 (permalink) Old 05-12-2019, 10:56 AM Thread Starter
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A nice end-of-trip visit and debrief with the pit crew over lunch, toddies, waffles and walks around town. We concluded we tried too many long driving days to get to our objective of Portugal, 1000km days that would be trying even in a nice big modern car and no snags. Logistics and time dictated that we do some long hauls to maximize the sweet spot after some parties weighed in late on their availability and were added into the schedule after the air window was set. So - more time or less stuff.

IMO in an older car with unknowns of traffic, accidents and weather, one should plan on +/- 550km/Dy on boring highways or 250 km/dy with smaller more scenic roads and more stops (we learned that in 2017). Another consideration, at about 11.5 km/L (26 mpg) and Euro 1.65 per L, just getting to and from Portugal was over 4800 km or Euro 700, $800. plus some Euro 300 in tolls plus 8-10 nights in a hotel at 500-600 km/day. That all really adds up and makes the case for RyanAir and a rental car for such a long haul trip. As Roland & I discussed, southern Tuscany is about half that far and more doable BUT taking small roads RT at 250 km is still 8-10 days. Either way it's gonna cost. One way spares your time and nerves but depends on your objective: a scenic loop (or combo scenic and boring) or fly in, rent, and do local trips.

Roland's two most recent acquisitions: a pristine virtually new 1987 3.0L "75" and a plush pristine 1978 big cat. Went to the airport in real comfort and style in the big cat.
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