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Old 3rd January 2019, 23:03   #11
bl52krz
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Seems they had a momentary lapse of concentration. Perhaps I have been lucky. I have done perhaps 15,000 miles driving on the continent over the last 30 odd years. Seen some horrendous accidents, fatal and otherwise, but luckily have not had even a scratch. If you saw the speed some of the cars go in Germany, you can understand why so many are fatal. Some nasty ones with Deer at night especially.I will say that I think that the driving standards are higher than in GB though. Holland is a country where you need a guardian angel. Also Italy. But I must add that driving standards are getting towards dangerous in this country. I was stopped at three separate sets of traffic lights today, and observed three cars going over on red, one that was so late he was nearly hit by a car coming towards me that came through the lights at around 20 mph because they changed as he approached. All caught on car cam. My advice to everyone is GET A CAR CAMERA.....NOW
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Last edited by bl52krz; 29th September 2019 at 12:31.. Reason: Not 150000 miles but 15000 miles doh
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Old 27th September 2019, 14:57   #12
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Default September 2019 update

An update to my 'December trip to Italy' post which seemed to have been read quite a bit, here is the return report.

Wednesday, 'Rodrigo' was driven back to Britain from Italy after taking it out there last year. No problems during the long stay while in Italy other than the exhaust shield coming loose which was fixed at an Italian Bosch garage for free! Much amusement at the steering wheel being 'on the wrong side'. We left fully loaded at 4am Monday morning, driving from near Ancona, Le Marche, Italy, to avoid the morning traffic through Bologna onto the A22, up through the Brenner Pass in the Alps into Austria and then into Germany staying at a small hotel in the village of Allersberg just of the A9 autobahn about 15km south of Nuremberg. Arrived at about 4pm. Good time for rest and meal with some German acquaintances we met when travelling last year.

Left refreshed Tuesday morning and onto the A6 toward Heilbronn before merging onto the A61 toward the Netherlands. The A61 which passes Cologne and Koblenz becomes the Dutch A73 (how seamless it all is, no borders, checks etc – wonderful!) before eventually joining the A12 to the Hook of Holland and the Stenaline ferry terminal.
Absolutely dreadful weather in places, with the car getting drenched at various times during the drive totalling 1771km (1,100mls).

Fast check-in and through to Customs. Again quick and efficient but had to ask if the Dutch had any guidance on what might happen after Brexit. They could not say much, except be prepared for a much longer time spent getting checked, being asked more questions and more intensive vehicle checks – Oh joy!

The Stena Hollandica is a lovely ferry frequently used before and the standard of cabin, meals and experience onboard is excellent.
The ferry departs at 10pm arriving at Harwich for disembarkation around 7am. Welcome to Britain and grey rainy skies. Refuelled at Morrisons just outside the terminal and on our way home. The A120/A12 to the M25 is a miserable road and the M25 even worse with traffic unfortunately very very slow with much start stopping due to a broken down truck until we could reach the M40 and welcome stop at the Beaconsfield services for a Wetherspoons full English breakfast.
Leaving the services, a warning light came up for a sidelight bulb failure!

Onward to Oxford, the A40 and eventually to home in Hereford 1303 miles in total. Diesel fuel consumption was pretty good considering the 70/80+ mph speeds for long periods worked out around a reasonable 53mpg. The only tolls were Italy 40€ and Austria 18€ as currently Germany and Netherlands do not charge passenger vehicles a toll which is helpful in keeping costs down.

Just need to replace the failed bulb and give the car a good clean! Never saw another 75 or MG across the entire continent until spotting a grey facelift near Gloucester! That trip will be repeated again next year, whether we will do that trip again in the Rover is uncertain for all manner of reasons, but it truly demonstrated it's tremendous capability of doing so. Next week, a service and MOT …
I didn't get to take many photos, but 4 are attached. From February on the seafront at Senigallia by the Adriatic, evening shot outside a Restaurant, Up on a ramp having the exhaust shield attended too and finally in Austria at Munster Sud for a 'comfort stop'.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg February seafront, Senigallia.jpg (140.7 KB, 43 views)
File Type: jpg Rod Infinito Ristorante.jpg (127.4 KB, 41 views)
File Type: jpg Rod on ramp.jpg (140.8 KB, 44 views)
File Type: jpg Munster Sud.jpg (136.0 KB, 43 views)
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Old 16th December 2020, 19:05   #13
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Default Another trip under Covid...

Since the posting for general interest a travel tale of a trip to/from Italy which is a regular occurrence, Covid-19 has changed everything and travel (rightly so) been restricted. However, flying is a big problem, so reverted back to using the car for ‘bubble’ safety and distancing. With the world in travel turmoil, I thought I’d share how driving across Europe in recent weeks has been.

Since doing the Italy/UK trip in the Rover, 2018 and flying over to UK in March 2020 then getting trapped due to the first lockdown and two return flights cancelled, we finally made it back the end of July – but had to fly into Verona airport, a good 4 hour drive home in a Hertz Panda.

After Covid restrictions were eased we needed to return again. After all the airport hassles, decided to drive over, but this time in our Fiat Croma diesel. Done that trip many times before and considered it a much safer way to travel and reliable than air. Left early on 23rd October to drive through Alps to Germany, with no problems entering Austria enroute and were waved through a German border control. An overnight stop at our favourite hotel in Allersberg, south of Nuremberg just off the A9 where restaurants were still open albeit quieter than normal. Masks and precautions being observed. We were the only hotel guests, but still given a warm welcome.

Next day on to the Netherlands and Hook of Holland for overnight ferry to Harwich. No border controls between Germany. With barely any waiting, we were directed to board. Here we had a temperature check taken and then in the lift to the cabins. There were definitely very few cars or vans and not so many trucks either. One restaurant was closed and the usual self-serve one was table service only. A surreal feeling as there were so few passengers with acres of dining space to choose from. Food this time to be honest was for the money not that good, and decided not to bother with breakfast there and then.

For the first time ever, the sea crossing was bad, much slamming of waves could be heard and felt so not much sleep enjoyed. In the morning came an announcement that there would be a delay as the bow doors could not be opened!
Meanwhile there were TV screens asking everyone to complete UK Gov. passenger locator forms online with dire consequences if not done. Hurried tapping on the phone and forms submitted and ready to show at Passport control.
Thirty minutes later and we were told to go to the car decks. In fact we were on a truck deck as there were so few vehicles. Sat in car, then told to reverse up the ship around to the opposite side, then drive up a narrow ramp to the usual car decks and out the other end. Interesting.

Finally at Passport control, bearing in mind the car is LHD and has Italian plates, might, just might raise an eyebrow? Not a bit. Passports handed back and a cheery “Enjoy your trip”. Very surprised at the lack of any questions or checks.
It was Sunday, so easy traffic from Harwich on A12 to M25 and then M40 toward Herefordshire. Stopped at Wetherspoons at M40 Beaconsfield services. Usually a nice full English could be trusted here, but alas not this time, standards had slipped and what with various anti Covid measures in place took the ambience out of it.
Arrived in Hereford by 11.30am

Of course what happened next was the 2nd lockdown. As a consequence all plans cancelled, including getting the Rover MOT’d and serviced already a month late. Being on SORN, little point getting him taxed either, so apart from a couple of covert runs out on quiet rural roads to top the battery up when there was an odd dry day he was covered up and stowed away. Battery has an isolator switch fitted, as there is no electricity available which has proved invaluable. (Thanks sewerman).

After having flights cancelled (still waiting for refund Lufthansa) we thought it better to book a one way ferry and get a return when possible. The Channel Tunnel was considered but the distance to Folkestone or Harwich is virtually the same. Arrival is in France and then a drive into Belgium both having a really bad time with Covid, plus only having a 35 minute stop on the train before having to drive another 750km did not give any chance of rest, so practicality ruled and booked Stenaline from Harwich again. (The thought of Brexit hold-ups especially in Kent was another consideration for leaving).

Sunday 6th December was the date, leaving at 2.30pm to drive to Harwich. Being Sunday, traffic was not too bad but still more than expected. Most of the journey was of course in darkness and arrived at a desolate ferry terminal at 7.30. Boarding is said to be 8.30 but was told it would be 9.30pm. Time came and were directed onboard after a vehicle check of sorts. No interest in the fully laden boot with mince pies and other British goodies, no they wanted the bonnet open! A quick cheery inspection and off we went. Interestingly, there were several more cars on board this time.
After the previous trip we went prepared and as the Comfort Class cabin comes equipped with a kettle, tea/coffee/cups etc and a stocked help yourself mini-bar fridge, took a supply of Pot Noodles, rolls and Pot porridge for breakfast too. No need to leave the cabin and watching the pennies saved a bit too.
Ferry sailed at 11pm on calm seas thank goodness.

Very quick disembarkation on Monday morning, other than Dutch passport control, no other checks and that was it. 8.12am in the dark again onto the A20 heading for Rotterdam. A20 merges onto A12 through the Dutch countryside (though traffic was unexpectedly heavy what with the so called lockdown and did experience a long delay near Utrecht. The Dutch A12 seamlessly becomes the German A3, again no controls whatsoever. For safety we did not stop in the Netherlands, especially this time. The German autobahns are pretty good and have many simple rest areas some with toilets which is all that is needed meaning we could keep our distance from anyone. Actual service areas were open only for basic needs, all dining/sitting areas were closed.

Arrival at the same Allersberg Hotel was by about 5pm, but this time were told that no restaurants or bars were open due to their ‘light lockdown’. No problem, out came more Pot Noodles! It is essential to take a travel kettle as very few Continental hotels have hot drink making facilities in rooms. Our host did provide a hot breakfast for us which was tasty and filled our thermos with hot water!

Leaving around 9am and rejoining the A9 toward Munich, is only 136km away and the A99 ring road to then join the A8 toward Salzburg. Quick stop at service area to buy an Austrian Vignette sticker. It’s a 10€ tax for using Austrian autobahns.
Exited the A8 onto A93 toward Innsbruck and the Brenner Pass to Italy. There is a marvellous website run by the Austrian highway authorities – ASFINAG, where road live image webcams can be viewed, an excellent way of seeing exactly what’s happening on the road, particularly from a weather point of view. Very heavy snowfall had already happened but snowploughs had been busy and the road was clear. https://www.asfinag.at/traffic/webca...tive=favorites

Upward into the Alps and the traffic really thinned out as snow thickened but the road was clean and dry, temperature was down to 0c so kept speed down. Through the Austrian toll booths for the A13, another 10€ but it does help pay to maintain a very difficult road. Much clings to the mountainside on cantilevered sections. (If you have ever seen the second Jason Bourne film there is a brief scene showing the road).
Finally, the Italian border was reached followed by the Italian toll booths. We have a Telepass gadget so can pass through the barriers without stopping. Interestingly as it’s linked to the car’s number plate, other plates can be added, which was done when taking the Rover on UK plates across which also worked. Handy.
Snow gradually disappeared as the A13 which had become the Italian A22 descended towards Modena, though we had booked a Best Western hotel close to Modena. By now it was around 4.30pm and dark.

Another good night (including more Pot Pasta – as the restaurant was closed) allowed us to leave at 8am refreshed to make tracks for the A1 toward Bologna, switching over to the A14 autostrada toward Ancona – our exit point for going inland 35km and home which we reached by 11am. Good to find all was well and check things out in daylight. A sunny day too. Total door to door distance covered 2100km (1,312mls)

The Croma was unloaded in the afternoon which never ceases to amaze how much stuff can be carried. For those who may wonder what the hell is a Croma, it is the largest Fiat made and launched in 2005. It was sold in UK, but typically Fiat not knowing how to market the car and peoples perceptions that Fiat can make small cars like the 500 and Panda, did not really sell. Only about 1400 or less by now exist in UK. In 2008 it was given a facelift (needed as the nose design was very bland), however, despite reasonable sales in Italy they pulled the plug on it by 2010. The MkII Croma is now 12+ years old and it’s diesel 1.9 16v motor has proved very good. It does have a timing chain unlike the Rover diesel which has now been replaced twice as it’s just done over 240,000+Kms (150,000mls). They can be picked up for probably about the same as a good nick Rover 75.
Can’t wait to get back next year for the 75 to be MOT’d as it will celebrate it’s 20th birthday and get it back on the road. Just maybe do it all over again in the Rover …

Some images: Google map screen grab showing route – one of many options but this one is very easy.
A photo taken at Hopwood service M42 area about 5 years ago when using both the Croma and Rover for some reason! Car dimensions are similar except the Croma is 7 inches higher than a 75.
Screen grab of one of the Austrian webcam shots, near the Brenner.
Ray
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Netherlands to Italy route.jpg (19.7 KB, 34 views)
File Type: jpg Asfinag grab.jpg (19.9 KB, 30 views)
File Type: jpg R75andCroma.jpg (139.2 KB, 41 views)
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Old 17th December 2020, 12:41   #14
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Great series of posts.--This last post must be one of the longest ever in the life of the forum.--Well done.-


Quote:---It does have a timing chain unlike the Rover diesel which has now been replaced twice

PS. Do you mean BELT ???
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Old 17th December 2020, 15:52   #15
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Thanks, yes I did get a bit carried away. Glad you got to the end! ... and yes I should have said belt.
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Old 18th December 2020, 06:57   #16
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Talking

"Holland is a country where you need a guardian angel. Also Italy."


What do you mean? we are completly innocencent/harmles
Cant compare us with these lawless Italiens!

Unless you mean in-town driving with all the bicycles comming from everywhere?
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Old 18th December 2020, 19:44   #17
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You'd better blame bl52krz for that quote I'm afraid. Always find the Dutch really nice people and know several here in Italy. Going for lunch with two on Sunday.
Dutch roads (the ones I know of anyway) are usually VERY busy, multiple lanes 'RING' signs etc. Have to say Dutch roundabouts can be challenging. When the Westerleeplein roundabout was 'improved' ... wow!
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Old 24th January 2021, 15:53   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roderick View Post
You'd better blame bl52krz for that quote I'm afraid. Always find the Dutch really nice people and know several here in Italy. Going for lunch with two on Sunday.
Dutch roads (the ones I know of anyway) are usually VERY busy, multiple lanes 'RING' signs etc. Have to say Dutch roundabouts can be challenging. When the Westerleeplein roundabout was 'improved' ... wow!
Never found the Dutch people anything but polite and helpful. More than over here actually. Just that sometimes there seems to be a lot of ‘blind spots’ in some people’s vision.
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Old 6th May 2021, 22:23   #19
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Originally Posted by bl52krz View Post
Never found the Dutch people anything but polite and helpful. More than over here actually. Just that sometimes there seems to be a lot of ‘blind spots’ in some people’s vision.
Quite.--

Another thing is just how many of them speak good English.---
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