Adventures in the marvellous Mini of doom!
More hijinks in Turin then onto Nice, which was nice…
I was up nice and early and out of the hostel by 8am as I wanted to get up to a few hijinks in town. I made a sprint into town, which on this occasion was easy as there was little traffic about, and I drove onto the piazza (a pedestrian zone) where the huge traffic jam scene was filmed and then drove up and down Via Roma, where one of the guys stole the chicken leg from one of the diners and then they turned into Galleria San Federico where the police motorcyclist fell off.
Well, there was no way I was going to get into the covered area on Via Roma as a book sale was setting up but down one of the side streets was the exit from Galleria San Federico, so I stopped there for a minute and got everything together. Stills camera and video camera at the ready, I drove up onto the pavement as quietly as possible and drove into the Galleria, hopped out to take a photograph and got back in and drove through, whilst filming.
As I exited the far end there were a couple of puzzled onlookers, but not a word was said by anyone. I looked into getting into Galleria Sub Alpina, another area the cars raced through, but as one end had 3 steps into it and the other had a longish corridor, not wanting to push my luck, I headed out of the city for Cerestole Reale where the coach was filmed hanging off the cliff at the end of the movie.
I had been there earlier in the year with a friend only to find that the road was closed off by a huge snow wall. However, this time there was no such problem. The road was beautiful to drive and surrounded by beautiful scenery with 3 man-made lakes, one of which supplies a hydro-electric power station. I think I managed to find the spot where the coach was hanging over the cliff – it was a stunning view.
I set the GPS to head for Col de Turini, just across the French border, as I turned where the GPS told me to I caught sight of a No Through Road sign, but thought it was for an adjoining road. How wrong that was to be… After a good 7 or 8 miles of battling hairpins and tree rooted tarmac, the road disintegrated into a dirt track. Knowing the state of the suspension, I decided not to risk it and so had to battle all the way back down again.
I used the main road and some mountain roads to travel south to Monte-Carlo and Monaco before heading to Nice, my night’s destination. The views and the roads were fabulous, but it turned into a bit of a nightmare navigating round the narrow town streets.
At one point I made a U turn, only to get pulled over by a cop, who explained it would normally be a €150 fine for making a U turn over a solid white line but that, on this occasion, he would let me off.
I only wish all Police dealt with such things in this manner – I had much more respect for him and made sure I didn’t do it again (at least for that night!). The trip to the hostel took an age as the GPS believed I was off route, even when I wasn’t. This was the first time I really felt like throwing it out the window and having a strop. I then realised that the effects of driving for such a long time and the number of late nights were really beginning to take their toll on me.
The hostel was a really mad buzzing place, which probably wasn’t what I needed but, after dinner and a couple of beers, I felt much more relaxed.
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.
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