Back in Italy from the UK, great trip, great car but what a sad, sad UK…

Crazy plan indeed but hey I enjoy crazy cos I love to challenge myself and I certainly did but to be honest the real challenge was not the fantastic journey but the new UK Brexit/COVID regulations, more below.

When I set off on a Friday afternoon I decided to break myself in gently to the long trip so I drove from Amalfi up to Orte (300 gentle kilometres) and stopped for beers, dinner and a sleep at the fantastic Hotel Lazio which is totally convenient cos it is all of 300 metres from the motorway junction and has a 24 hour fuel station right next door. This hotel is a truck stop specialist with a massive truck park outside so there is a guy there all night so your car, van or bike is not likely to be stolen or touched. Phew.

The food is truly excellent and the portions too cos the Italian truckers would go elsewhere if the food was not good enough, I also have a mate who lives nearby so we often meet up for dinner and a beer. The next morning I had a quick breakfast, filled the car with petrol and hit the road direction north. I had already booked a night in the lovely Ibis Style in Sallances which I have already visited twice, which gave me about 750 km to travel including of course the Mont Blanc Tunnel between Italy and France.

I was in lovely Sallanches checking in by about 3pm as the road was clear and the traffic very light, in Italy at the weekends the trucks cannot use the motorways unless they have a special permit so the heavy commercial traffic is much reduced. The weather was cold but ok so the old Audi made really good progress and I try to keep her down to about 150kph to avoid excessive fuel consumption. I checked in and then went to eat a snack plus some shopping at the nearby Carrefour and headed to bed early.

The next morning I left at about 7am and headed north towards Calais which is another 800 km day, but this time France was covered in snow!!! The motorways were cleared very quickly but as the snow was heavy we were often forced to use just the right hand lane as the outside lane was covered in snow!! I did take the old S4 onto the snow a few times with great caution and she almost did not feel it!!! Amazing car indeed, the Audi 4WD system is really great and does everything you need without protest or drama, just go!!

The total trip that day was in the snow BUT the motorways were almost perfect and snow free after the first 100 km, so the going was fairly easy and I stopped only for fuel and coffee and snacks. I pulled into the P & O check in at Calais at about 2pm and then the real drama started to unfold. I had completed my Personal Locator Form (PLF) in advance and I have a Green Pass as well as an open ticket so I thought that I had all the bases covered. No way. My stupid PLF refused to download so I was sent back to the P & O office where the lovely French ladies struggled with my phone until eventually it worked and I was free to check in!!! Blimey. A big thanks to those ladies cos you saved my day!!!

As I had an open ferry ticket I was pushed onto the next sailing and waited only 30 odd minutes to go aboard. In the old pre-COVID days an open ticket included the Club Lounge whereas now they want another 25 Quid which I did not pay cos the ticket was already very dear, and I even had to pay 1.50 for the wifi!!! Terrible. Anyway when we docked I headed towards Cambridge and yes, the M2/M25/M11 were terrible and slow and then the M11 was closed at the junction before mine so I headed cross country but eventually found my way despite NOTHING being signposted. Goodness.

My few very cold days in the UK were cut short thanks to the stupid track and trace system and the fact that the COVID regulations were fast changing, I was forced to wait almost 3 days at my sisters house before my negative COVID test results were registered, so I then headed to the Midlands to visit my mates and the wonderful Yamaha motorcycle shop Alf England where I finally sat on my wonderful Petronas R1M mmm.

Well my return journey was luckily quite smooth and uneventful. The weather was again very cold indeed but I had snow only in the Alps which is fairly normal and the old Audi again coped well. I stopped at Troyes in the lovely Brit Hotel and then in Italy in Fiorenzuola at my fave Mathis Hotel, and then home. In total I covered just short of 6,000 km and the car consumed zero oil, the fuel consumption was around 25 mpg which is not bad for an old V8. GREAT trip!! And ps I did not purchase the lovely Jaguar simply because the Audi in the snow was fantastic whereas the thought of 420 horses and rear wheel drive was not good.

Published by Simon

I offer an ever-developing range of services to satisfy an ever-changing set of markets. Born in the UK I have lived in Italy for more than 20 years. I can help you to experience a touch of the real Italian experience which goes beyond your dreams but without stress nor unwanted suprises.

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