Thanks everyone, and especially Mark for doing this. The reason for the thread was re-assurance, and so I knew a bit about the work which would need to be done - so those who gave the 4 hour time helped me out a lot. I always like to be as informed as possible when dealing with anz garage - but it was especially important when there was a significant language barrier.
The garage took 5 hours, and charged 540 Euros altogether including labour.
Full (but succinct) story:
Drove up one side of Alps (which was bloody brilliant). Started to drive down other side, got ABS failure and EBD warning messages. Thought brakes might be overheating so stopped on a gravelly bit just ioff one of the hairpins. After leaving to cool for a while, went back - car would not start at all. Luckily I had left it pointing downhill, so bump started and hoped to hell I could get to some sort of civilization. I just made it to a hotel car park with much struggling and lack of response to the accelerator. Was getting every warning under the sun by this time, and realised the issue was almost definitely a flat battery - but no idea whether due to bad battery, or bad alternator.
Garage tried new battery and car started perfectly, but on checking voltage, it was to low, so alternator diagnosed.
Poor car. All it's done is pootle between tanning booths in Cheshire since Bazza got it and now it's doing some serious work it's taken it's bat home.
Just because we on this side of the pennines have some class, doesn't mean we're so effeminate
Tell him I say to enjoy his chips in the meantime.
I had Cordon Bleu actually.
"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so." - Douglas Adams
"You know, sometimes the world seems like a pretty mean place."
"That's why animals are so soft and huggy."
- Calvin and Hobbes
To err is human, to moderate ursine.