Yea, Another Euro Trip . . . . - Page 6 - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #76 of 97 (permalink) Old 05-12-2019, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Anfanuts View Post
Shout Out. I'd like to give a shout out to Fred Frey. Without his help 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?
Thanks for the kind words Bruce. I did not know you were posting the trip until now when I noticed it in the sedan section. Still reading... TTYL

Fred - Now: 1966 Giulia Super -1973 1600Z Zagato -1973 Giulia Super-1983 AlfaSud 1.5 - 1968 Fiat Dino Spider, 2012 Abarth. Then: 1971 Fiat 500L-1974 Fiat 500 Abarth replica-1972 GTV
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post #77 of 97 (permalink) Old 05-13-2019, 09:21 AM
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Thanks so much for taking the time and dealing with the slow internet speeds to post the great reports.
I wish I was reading it as it was happening.

Next trip perhaps you can post a message one of your old trip threads where people who followed that previous trip are already subscribed and you could alert them to the new trip thread.

Wow, you did a lot of driving per day. I personally only figure about 6 hrs of driving per day on my routes. Most of the roads planned are scenic with plenty of points of interest. If we find we are falling behind schedule then we jump on to highway. Images below are last years drive and show each days drive and the next the POIs. I usually put more POIs then possible to visit just for options.




Beverley (Copilot) hates roads with big trucks on them and as we are usually driving in Europe with our little, lightweight AlfaSud it makes it worse for her.

Normally she keeps track of the overall custom route via a tablet running OSAMD+ and the phone speaking the turn by turn instructions via a TOMTOM app with pre planed route or if we jump on the highway - google map or waze.


Loosing GPS signal on both the phone and the tablet will pretty much kill the navigation. I've had it happen on one device or another but not on both yet. A restart of the device usually helps fix this.

Slow internet speeds are my "lack of ice" pet peeve. We've found relying on a rental apartments or hotel rooms internet is a bust.. so last few years I've been picking up a local SIM card with lots of GBs for my phone. Then I tether to my laptop.

Your tablet was running down the battery even when plugged indicates your USB plug is not putting out enough juice. New devices suck up more power now then older USB plugs can handle. I use dual 3 amp plugs now that can keep up with the demand.

Thanks again for posting! This year we'll be driving the Sud from NL all the way up to the top of Scotland and doing part of the North Coast 500.

Fred - Now: 1966 Giulia Super -1973 1600Z Zagato -1973 Giulia Super-1983 AlfaSud 1.5 - 1968 Fiat Dino Spider, 2012 Abarth. Then: 1971 Fiat 500L-1974 Fiat 500 Abarth replica-1972 GTV
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post #78 of 97 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 08:57 AM Thread Starter
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Great advice Fred. The disadvantage of short hops (day-to-day) is the constant moving in and out to new accommodations and usual necessity to stay in pricier hotels as AirBNB and VRBO usually prefer longer stays. We did mostly the day-to-day slog down the French and Italian riviera in 2017 and beat ourselves up moving in and out and getting settled and hassling city/village traffic and slower drives, etc. but scenic yes. Plus as you've pointed out you cannot become a "local" and know the place with day stays. OTOH, we did almost all weeklong stays in 2010 with many scenic day trips (most by car, some train) and special long visits to places like the Alhambra or Cordoba, etc. from that base.

We've used various travel models on each of the 4 Euro trips as follows; and knowing your objectives and which mode works for that leg is best: (L-Local, D-Departmental, N-National, A-Autoroute/freeway)

1. Short day-to-day 250km+/- day legs on small scenic roads (L, D and some N) with lots of POI and photo op stops, lots of moving in and out, and mostly hotels.

2. Slightly longer legs, say 350km+ on a mix of roads (D and N) but mostly smaller, stay in a place several days (3-4), do day trips to POI's and scenic drives from that base. This was like much of the 2011 trip and some of the 2017 trip.

3. Longer legs yet - say 500km+ on a mix or roads (N and some A's), stay a week+/- especially in more interesting places (larger interesting cities or lots of local POI's), or for a mid-trip break, do scenic day-trips from that base; the disadvantage in a bigger city is getting out and in for day trips and parking. This was the 2010 trip model almost exclusively.

4. Hump legs, 500km++ to 1000km legs just to get someplace quickly if you have limited time, using mostly boring and expensive "peage" Autoroute freways depending on the country, these will beat you up in an old car. I knew up front that the 3 hump days to get to southern Portugal would thrash us and they did, but we did not have 2-3x the time to get there and back and we had already seen a lot along those routes (after 30+ Euro trips). So perhaps flying to and just renting in Portugal (and forgoing some friend/family visits) might have been better for THIS trip.

Guys that are not retired like me or semiretired like you just don't have enough time for long leisurely trips. Plus the cost/week continues to go (the meter is runing).

In fact, each of these modes will beat you up in an old car for various reasons: heat, inclement weather (wind/rain), city/village traffic, accidents/construction/diversions, holiday traffic (watch this!), tourist traffic, tractors, scooters, bikes and pedestrians, buses, trucks, and vibration and road noise.

One thing I failed to list in the "navigation" planning formula up above (to be added) was all the pre-research you do up front in books (I like the DK series) and on-line to figure out what you want to see and do, and that dictates the route and "scenic" day trips and ultmately trip and stay duration.

PS: we had a small two-tray icemaker in the last stop in Porto and made ice like crazy people and left a large bowl in the freezer. I hope the next tenant appreciates it. And I hope they fixed the WiFi.

Last edited by Anfanuts; 05-20-2019 at 02:58 PM.
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post #79 of 97 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 12:53 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pescara View Post
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
We started out first Euro trips in the late 70's usually starting in Paris (wife s French-American) in a 504 Familial. I described those conditions above. It was not like today.


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post #80 of 97 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 03:11 PM Thread Starter
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Trip Map. It dawns on me I never posted an overall trip map. Here it is. Clockwise. There are several other layers with more details in legs and various planned day drives. Lommel/BE, Nimes/FR, El Campello/ES, Salema/P, Cascais/P, Porto/P, Burgos/ES, Bordeaux/FR, Brunoy/FR, Lommel/BE.
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post #81 of 97 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 04:57 AM Thread Starter
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Informative Q&A comment on a FB post and my answer:

Andy Cuerel: "Enjoyed reading your updates on BB Bruce Berens. We have a 7-day family vacation booked for August in France (Loire Valley) and am debating whether to take the Berlina. The mileage to and from where we are staying is 400 each way (UK and French legs combined), plus 300-400 estimated sightseeing while we are there - with a young daughter to consider we typically stay in the holiday park every other day so we're not car-bound every day. I appreciate your candour on the pros and cons of using an old Alfa - ours is certainly up to it and cruises quite comfortably at 120-130kph with its 4.3 diff, but the occasion is first and foremost a family holiday, not a road trip, so I have to decide whether using the Berlina adds to everyone's fun, not detracts from it by making it an endurance test! Food for thought anyway..."

Bruce Berens: "Andy Cuerel Thanks! We did a Euro trip after visiting daughter last year in Cambridge UK. Did 3 weeks in France in June with the two adult college-aged G-daughters. Great time. Down the Normandy coast from the Chunnel, St Malo, Quimper and then the Loire Valley/Amboise for some castles, then up to far NW FR beach area (Bray Dune) with forays into BE (Ypres). BUT we did it in the daughter's Ford Escape considering the cargo and comfort. I did not blog that trip because it was not in an Alfa. That said, my wife's father did join us in 2011 to Italy for 2 weeks in a Giulia and it was a bit cramped with 3 + luggage and provisions and the rear was on the bump stops. My daughter naively asked if the Giulia had airbags. I said yes, underway we have two hot air bags up front. Safety of your precious cargo is a consideration. The 2017 trip had a lot of driving hardships and learnings also. All 5 trip linked in ABB sig block. Good luck!!"

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post #82 of 97 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 07:42 AM
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Thank you Bruce,
.for the investment of sharing all your experiences and beautiful photos/videos with us.. Fabulous.
- Art
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post #83 of 97 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 08:05 AM Thread Starter
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Art, welcome! Thanks!! I get a PM every several weeks about some guy having read past blogs, wanting to do such a trip. It's on their bucket list. But they quickly get a dose of reality in chatting.

1. First, you have to have a reasonably good and reliable old car. Doing that from afar via an unknown person(s) is hard. It is still an old car and a largely unknown quantity. Not everyone is comfortable with that uncertainty.

2. The car may need mechanical work and upgrades for the trip and it needs to be outfitted with Euro safety equipment, etc.. Doing that from afar via unknown persons is hard. It is still an old car and a largely unknown quantity.

3. You need MOT, registration and insurance on the car and doing that for a tourist foreigner is hard (resident and work visas can be done).

4. You need to have the acumen to plan the trip in a far away land. This is different from an organized group bus or cruise tour where you just show up at breakfast. Navigation planning is important.

5. You just have to be open to more risk and uncertainty and hardship when things go "pear shaped", and some things will.

Did I say, "It is still an old car and a largely unknown quantity." My pit crew friend worries the whole trip while I am away. I just drink more port. And think through backup plans.

I have tried to capture some of this for folks here, together with all the wonderful, and in the 2017 blog. Hope it helps and does not discourage too may. Eyes wide open.

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post #84 of 97 (permalink) Old 05-19-2019, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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Interesting stat: combined the 5 trip blogs have had over 76,000 hits.
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post #85 of 97 (permalink) Old 05-19-2019, 06:36 PM Thread Starter
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Working to bayonet the wounded now back at home. Tally: spent $680 on fuel (6100km) and frigging $640 on frigging toll toads, with most of that on the long trip up and down (2700+2000km=4700km), plus the 4 nights of hotels at say $400 is about $1500 for the luxury of having a nice old car to use on the sweet spot in Portugal. Need to do the math on Ryan air RT and renting a small car for 2 1/2 weeks locally. But that would also have knocked out visiting friends and family along the way up and down.

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post #86 of 97 (permalink) Old 05-20-2019, 10:17 AM
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When you put it like that, it really makes no sense...
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post #87 of 97 (permalink) Old 05-20-2019, 10:34 AM Thread Starter
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When you put it like that, it really makes no sense...
Yea, maybe . . .

Only for the joy of having visited enroute my friends at Italclassic in Spain and Kristy's cousins in Bordeaux and aging Aunt near Paris (all only briefly). Otherwise it was pretty much just a long boring highway drive that cost ~$1500 and took 5 days away from doing fun stuff. Thar room cost would have just been spent elsewhere but not the tolls and fuel, say $1000 less the air RT and rental car. Air travel is no fun either. It might have been a wash if I run some numbers. Five days plus is a big investmwnt in low quality windshield time. Food for thought for trip panning. That's why I mention it.

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post #88 of 97 (permalink) Old 05-20-2019, 12:05 PM
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Sorry, I've got to disagree. Almost yearly I've driven my AlfaSud from the Netherlands to Italy or the UK and loved each drive. Sure, there have been some issues with traffic, bad roads, less then perfect hotel rooms... but as my friend in the Netherlands always says "Its all part of the adventure". The joy of discovery on small French roads as you wind through endless vineyards and ancient castles or WW1 sites. Driving in a old car adds to the adventure. I remember a few years back my throttle cable on the Sud broke and I wound up using a long USB cable to control the carb linkage with my left hand.

I have not published the trips here on the AlfaBB as I did not know where to put them (the Sud section is quite dead) Here's the last two European trips if anyone cares to see them:

https://fredfrey.org/category/europe-2018/
https://fredfrey.org/category/2017_lake_orta/

Fred - Now: 1966 Giulia Super -1973 1600Z Zagato -1973 Giulia Super-1983 AlfaSud 1.5 - 1968 Fiat Dino Spider, 2012 Abarth. Then: 1971 Fiat 500L-1974 Fiat 500 Abarth replica-1972 GTV
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post #89 of 97 (permalink) Old 05-20-2019, 12:53 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry, I've got to disagree. Almost yearly I've driven my AlfaSud from the Netherlands to Italy or the UK and loved each drive. Sure, there have been some issues with traffic, bad roads, less then perfect hotel rooms... but as my friend in the Netherlands always says "Its all part of the adventure". The joy of discovery on small French roads as you wind through endless vineyards and ancient castles or WW1 sites. Driving in a old car adds to the adventure. I remember a few years back my throttle cable on the Sud broke and I wound up using a long USB cable to control the carb linkage with my left hand.

I have not published the trips here on the AlfaBB as I did not know where to put them (the Sud section is quite dead) Here's the last two European trips if anyone cares to see them:

https://fredfrey.org/category/europe-2018/
https://fredfrey.org/category/2017_lake_orta/
Fred dunno whom you are disagreeing with. IMO it just depends on the goal(s). Each travel mode has its purpose - see this LINK - at one extreme from "make good time to get someplace fast" or to "wander slowly" at 3x the time and explore. Another is medium length legs using a place as a base to explore the region. We did not have the time to turn 3 long days down and 3 long days up (= 6) into 3x6=18+/- days. We knew the hump days would be hard, just not as hard as it turned out. Lesson Learned (re-learned actually from fewer long hump legs on previous trips). Roland hits Tuscany (~1300km) in one 18 hour hump - he's a machine. Then plants and takes side trips from that base. Nothing interests him along the way. It's all good. Depends on your personal goals.

That said we have a new rule on hump days FOR US - < ~500-600km on highways. Indeed out best days have been wandering days usually from a base or occasionally a leg on a route. Save the occasional hump or day-legs, what seems to suit us best for the most part is moderate drive days with some stops to a destination for 3-5 days and exploring around by car and train, bus, boat and foot from there depending on the location. This gives you an chance to be a mini-local and get settled in and not schlep luggage in and out every day (especially where there are dozens to hundreds of stairs).

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post #90 of 97 (permalink) Old 05-20-2019, 01:19 PM
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Ok, got it. I guess if you don't have the time to do a proper scenic then perhaps flying in will do... and rent a fun car for while you are there.

I don't personally don't mind one night stays in tiny hotels along the way. I put hours of research to find someplace that is interesting and have a small bag take up the ridiculous European stairs. Keep in mind we always travel with our dog too, so that adds to the "adventure".



In regards to your photo problems... best way to post photos on the BB is to save them remotely and use a link to post
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Fred - Now: 1966 Giulia Super -1973 1600Z Zagato -1973 Giulia Super-1983 AlfaSud 1.5 - 1968 Fiat Dino Spider, 2012 Abarth. Then: 1971 Fiat 500L-1974 Fiat 500 Abarth replica-1972 GTV
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