Trip Italia 2007

It’s August 2006. During a tea break at work my cousin Giuseppe (Joe) and I talk over how we one day hope to watch the World Cup Champions of 2006 in the flesh (that’d be the Italians!!!). All it would take is a quick flight over to Italy, maybe stay the weekend, and that would be that.
However this year we’ve both started to enjoy F1. Surely there’s not a chance we can see both events…
The lucky sequence of events to follow is something I’ll never forget. We look up the fixtures for when the Italian national squad are due to play in Italy and sure enough there are couple of matches scheduled for the summer of 2007. We also note a game on September 8. We later discover to our absolute amazement, the Italian GP at Monza is scheduled for September 9! (The very next day).


Needless to say we made both events happened and not one aeroplane was involved!
This then, is the story of our very first road trip; the one that was to be the catalyst for future trips

Day 1:

As we both currently own sports cars, we agree that’d it be pretty much a sin not to drive the beasts down to Italy. As there are two seats vacant, it doesn’t take us long to find eager friends that also wish to share this adventure. We set from Clevedon with both cars crammed with everything except the kitchen sink.
I’ve not driven further south than Southampton, let alone North Italy! This is truly a journey into the unknown and I for one cannot wait!

As it’s the 21st century we’re fortunate enough to have Joe’s Sat Nav with us which will stay in his car, the lead car. We agree to go at our own pace to Portsmouth cos I quote, “It’s easy to get there” says Mr Ben Kennedy. The Z4 booms off as it will do for most of the trip we later discover. Apart from us taking the odd wrong junction, (oh all right there Ben), we reach the ferry port on time and only a few cars behind the Zed (Z4).

After some light supper and a few obligatory ales at the bar, we crash out and before yo u know it, the crack of dawn illuminates through our little window; we’ve reached the French port of Caen. It looks pretty gloomy and not to dissimilar to England!
A shower later and the cabin speakers blair out “Final call for all passengers”. Bugger. We’re already late and Kennedy is at present busy taking a massive pooh. How do I know its massive? Cos he bleats on about it for the next 10 minutes in his familar, slightly twisted manor! We then leg it down to the cars, drop the hood for the first time in foreign territory and then await the door of the ferry to drop. The time is 7.45am.
Bonjour France!

We proceed down through France’s fantastically smooth, practically empty motorways – probably because the motorway’s are tolled. We need to cover as much ground as possible to reach north Italy by tomorrow as the international friendly match that we’re here to see is in less 36 hours and we have all of France and some of Italy in our way! As you’d imagine with these gas guzzlers, petrol stops soon became familiar. Here we see JP doing what he does best, looking good.

Many hours later we approach the Mont Blanc tunnel which is what will connect France and Italy.
It’s really looking like we’re gonna have made it to Italy in just one day! These last few hours have been some of the most picturesque scenes that we’ve ever seen from the comfort of our cars. Imagine, if you can, roofless motoring cruising down through the Alps, tunes blarring, open roads. Arguably unparalleled.


(That’s the Zed up front)

Below is one of our faves! Great pic Ben.

Shortly after these images were taken, we rock into Italy and find accomodation in Aosta for some well earned food and rest. The time is now 8pm. 12 hours ago we were still on water.
We rock up to the first place we find in Aosta with the view to stay the night. It’s not long before Joe has already received some attention although not the attention he wanted. It’s from a bloke!………the hotel manager. While those two “have chats” about making a booking etc… the rest of us are sniggering away that he’s “pulled” already.

We get a small bite to eat and a couple of drinks and then head off to bed. Joe’s nowhere to be seen though. Maybe he got “lucky” with the hotel manager…. ;-) Ha-ha, joking, although that’s staying in here until he tells me to remove it!

Day 2:

After a night’s rest, we wake to this rather gorgeous view.

Shortly after we set off for Milan which is less than a couple of hours away according to the Sat Nav.

Having made it to the outskirts of Milan without incident, we chuckle at the name of the hotel.
It so happens that Kennedy has has a thing for one of Zoe’s friends, Tiffany. (Zoe is my brothers girlfriend). She’s also known as the “blond bombshell”. No joke, here is where we stayed, much to Kennedy’s enjoyment.

If you’re wondering if whether Kennedy and the “blond bombshell” ever got together, the answer, sadly, is a resounding NO.

We check-in and then head into Milan centre before catching a taxi to San Siro for the big one – Italy vs France.

As for the San Siro, apologies in advance for the cliché but the atmosphere was indescribable. Even pictures can’t do it justice. Fortunately we used the video recording facility from our compact camera’s and recorded the atmosphere around it. Granted the match ended 0-0 but still….

After the match we walked around looking for a taxi. Okay, that’s a bit of an understatement. We walked and walked and walked…
By the time we got back to the hotel we were understandably exhausted so just crashed out. Not a bad thing cos events were gonna kick off early the next day. Destination: Monza.

Day 3:

We wake knowing The Italian GP is only hours away. We don our F1 style gear and head to the circuit.
After a little adventure, by that I mean instinctively following another car that we “think” are going to the circuit, we do indeed arrive in Monza. As you’d imagine, there is “red” everywhere. Well, it is Ferrari land after all.
Why didn’t we use our Sat Nav to get to the circuit? Well, that’s a story for another time…

Check out our glorious view of the circuit from our seatign area and then see the subsequent image capturing at moderate speeds, a Mclaren and a Ferrari in the same frame. Obviously I have to include an image showing the “grid girls”.

We knew the cars would be loud but my God, not that loud! The noise of those V10’s were piercing our ear plugs with relative ease.


Leaving the GP was hell I’m not gonna lie to you. We’re sat in several lanes of traffic in two English sports cars along side rowdy Italians. The looks of death! If we could speak the language I’m sure that’d have worked in our favour but embarrassingly neither Joe or myself could.
An hour or so later the traffic dissipates and we’re ready to head back pretty much the way we came in, initially following signs for Turin.
Oh, nice Sat Nav Joe! – sorry folks, private joke.
That night we get reasonably far into France on the outskirts of Lyon. This should help make the final leg home tomorrow a little easier.

Day 4:

A fairly uneventful day that consisted, mainly, of hooning north on those glorious, practically empty French motorways. We actually got flashed a couple of times by unmanned camera’s but were told before we went away that the French authorities were somewhat more “casual” in the way they dealt with foreigners that are snapped exceeding the speed limit. Thankfully, that proved to be the case as no such paperwork ever landed through our doors.
We board the Channel Tunnel train and before you know it we’re back in this torrid country. Whilist we’re a little ambivalent about being home, there’s was no denying we were chuffed that we accomplished what we set out to do. We had travelled to north Italy via France and back in just four days. We also watched the 2006 World Champions and the 2006 Italian GP. JOB DONE.

Nither car skipped a heartbeat. They were faultless.
Actually, now that I think about it, that probably explains why Ben started humping the car after I dropped him off home. The Honda chose not reciprocate.

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