Adventures in the marvellous Mini of doom!
Heading for Rome
I had thought the ferry was due to dock at about 6am but, as it was, we didn’t dock ’til just after 9am, then, after a little faffing around, we eventually got on the go about 10am. I had breakfast in a really beautiful little cafe on the edge of a harbour and began to head north.
The roads were great, really good quality, plenty of twists and not too much traffic. As I headed north, I couldn’t help but notice the number of ladies sunning themselves on plastic patio furniture at the side of the road – what was that all about?
Once a little up country, I pulled over and started looking for wiggly bits on the GPS. There is a spine of mountains, the Apennines, between the west and east of Italy and I was just dying to play in them.
On my route to the wiggly bits I saw a classic Alfa coming the other way. All of a sudden it started flashing its lights and, as we got closer it was tooting its horn too. The turned out to be the lead car in a wedding procession, full of old and new Alfas and all of them flashing, tooting and waving – it would have been rude not to return the compliment!
A little further on, on some great fast sweeping bends I was caught by a more modern Alfa and, for a while I couldn’t understand why it didn’t overtake me as it was obviously capable of doing so. I then realised that we were being filmed on the passenger’s mobile phone. Eventually as I peeled off to go for some of the more mountainous stuff , I tooted and got a toot back and a little applause from the passenger.
I arrived in Rome about 6.30pm and, with no accommodation booked, I looked for an WiFi hotspot to book somewhere to stay. However, it turned out Italy had introduced an anti-terrorist piece of legislation under which all visitors have to register with their hotels etc., and have all their surfing details logged so all the hotspots were secured. This made life pretty difficult but eventually I found an unlocked hotspot and found a hostel that claimed to have available beds. Unforunately, when I turned up, that wasn’t the case.
In the queue in front of me was an American guy and I overheard they wanted 170 Euros for a room, but they could reduce it to 100, but no breakfast and you would have to pay for Internet access.
Later, whilst looking round another hostel, I bumped into the same guy and we decided to share a room at 50 Euros each. Car parking would be another 25 Euros so I decided, with trepidation, to leave the car on the street but that turned out to be okay.
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.