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Discussion Starter #1
Now I've toured Ireland twice I think the time has come to try for Italy - debating whether to try one of the organised trips - Lake Garda 10 Day Itinerary - sceniccartours - or to sort it out myself - the organised one seems a reasonable price but I'm sure it would be cheaper to DIY, could I be bothered with the hassle? - don't know.
Languages are not my strong point, smattering of French but no Italian, I would of course get an intensive course before I go but is poor language skills a problem?
This sort of thing never used to worry me - when I were a lad I used to drive everywhere in old bangers with no mobile or breakdown cover and never really had a problem - as I get older I worry much more which is why I'm thinking about an organised trip.
Any thoughts please?
Ta
 

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I'd say wing it.

I broke down in my GT a couple of years ago in the south of France, no breakdown cover.... actually the resulting experience of trying to get the car sorted in a small rural village was refreshingly fun, met a lot of nice helpful people.

We also drove the circumference of Australia 10 years ago in a very dodgy toyota hiace van, again no breakdown cover and same story - now I'm not suggesting you head to Italy and cancel your AA membership first but I have always found people to be helpful & kind (other than at home sometimes!)...

I would have thought that an Englishman in an Alfa would be welcomed in Italy with open arms, should you have any problems. If you have breakdown cover, so much the better and nothing to worry about. You'll certainly cause interest and an interesting Alfa would be a good icebreaker in talking/dealing with locals.

As part of a group, I think you'd be a bit insulated/isolated and less likely to have the fun "real Italy" experiences...
 

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We use our S4 abroad regularly but not on organised trips.

Has to be done.

We had the clutch arm start to go in France. AROC / CKI Breakdown cover & some of Nev's local knowledge, quickly sorted :)
 

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Each to their own but I'm not a fan of organised trips, I'd much rather take things at our own pace and stop and stay where we like, plus it's probably much cheaper. We're driving to Croatia this summer, 30 days, 7 stops and 7 countries not in an Alfa though but our '76 VW Camper.

Get some breakdown cover for peace of mind and book the ferry!
 

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Now I've toured Ireland twice I think the time has come to try for Italy - debating whether to try one of the organised trips - Lake Garda 10 Day Itinerary - sceniccartours - or to sort it out myself - the organised one seems a reasonable price but I'm sure it would be cheaper to DIY, could I be bothered with the hassle? - don't know.
Languages are not my strong point, smattering of French but no Italian, I would of course get an intensive course before I go but is poor language skills a problem?
This sort of thing never used to worry me - when I were a lad I used to drive everywhere in old bangers with no mobile or breakdown cover and never really had a problem - as I get older I worry much more which is why I'm thinking about an organised trip.
Any thoughts please?
Ta
Go for it, nothing to worry about....

As you say the older you get the more you worry about things. In most of the world sooner or later someone who speaks English turns up. Take out some breakdown cover if you need peace of mind.
 

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Have done a few trips to Europe.
One time went to Nurburgring. Don't know how we managed it I managed to get into the 'new' circuit. Really funny.
We turned up early one morning, not knowing where to go. Drove up to a security gate and were promptly waved through. Drove up to another security gate and were, without question, waved through to to the Paddock. I was pretty impressed at the facilities- the Paddock was full of Ferraris, some race-prepped. I pretty much lost my bottle seeing all these people who obviously new what they were doing but I thought, well I've come this far and because I still thought I was in the Nordschleife I got out of the car to pay my 15DM (£5 - this was before the Euro) but the Marshalls were excitedly screaming at me & waving me onto the track. Then, just then through the entrance between the paddock & the pits I saw a flash of red & there was this wailing screaming banshee noise as a Ferrari V10 (F300 I think) at full chat went by, being driven by Luca Badoer. (Ferrari test driver)


When I finally got to speak to someone in charge it transpired what had happened; I had gatecrashed a meet of the German Ferrari Owners Club. Luca Badoer was there to give demonstration runs of the then current F1 car. And because my car was red and had some (vague) passing resemblance to a 1930's racing Alfa Romeo (AR 2900a) one of which had actually been run by Scuderia Ferrari, Enzo Ferrari being team manager obviously the gate people/marshalls thought I was part of the attractions. We all had a good laugh. Eventually.

I still have nightmares of thoughts of had I wandered onto the track, driving around at a nice steady 50 mph on a sighting lap, with my missus beside me and being overtaken - on a bend - by a F1 car going at 150mph. I'd have soiled myself. And I suspect Luca Badoer would have had a 1DM:1pfennig* moment coming around the track and seeing me wandering around, oblivious and without a care in the world, admiring the scenery.



* translation to English 5p:50p sim. Anal/numismatical comparison descriptive of the rapidly alternating diameter of one's rectal sphincter at moments of sheer terror!
 

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Italians in the tourist industry speak enough english for it not to be a problem. Italian mechanics are unlikely to speak any english, but all know how to fix old Alfas, and probably even know where to get parts at short notice.

It might be tricky to get someone to help with translations in a garage but is all part of the fun. They will want to help you although may charge you a fair whack, but probably would still be cheaper than the UK.

go for it!
 

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I did my first tour of south of France and into Italy myself.. It's just a case of taking time to do route planning, hotels, cool roads and some sights to see along the way!!

Few tips on Google search, get a nice road map of Europe to see the routes and spec it out. It's more rewarding!!
 

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We do France most years... mostly in a new car but some times in a classic.. I always have Euro break down cover as I think you would be crazy not too considering the price. The arranged tours could be quite good if you wish to socialise and have every thing planned out for you. Planning and doing your own route at your own pace is also a great experience. I think both are good options. Perhaps try the organised one first and then to your own?
 

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Organising your trip to Italy, with the help of Google maps and Booking.Com makes for an enjoyable post Christmas winter pastime. We did a bit of Northern Italy and Emilia in 2013 in the 939, fantastic!! Next year we are going again, trying to persuade the wife we should go in the S2. Hey! How about us have a group trip!!??
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all the ideas - think I'll get a decent map - thanks PJ - and cost it up - I normally go with my daughter who is the best shotgun you could wish for but she cant go this year and my wife has to book hers hols years in advance so isn't available either.
I've driven abroad quite a lot but it always been in moderns so the Spider will more of a challenge, as it did so well in Ireland I don't know why I worry about it, the thrash down to the Alps looks pretty tedious - I dislike mways especially in the Alfa but guess it has to be done
 

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I agree with everyone on here Martin, just go for it DIY!

As you know, I've done it many times in the S4, and 916. Going again this year but not decided which car to take yet. Part of the fun is planning the route. Breakdown cover will give you peace of mind. I speak reasonable Italian, but don't think you need worry if you don't as a lot of Italians will speak some English but they will appreciate you more if you try!

One big word of advice though, make sure you don't put E10 fuel in and stick to 98 octane which has no ethanol. There are long term affects to the fuel systems in older cars with continued use but you need not worry about that, it's the running issue which is the problem, as I found out last year when a garage attendant put E10 and I didn't realise until too late. I thought it would be ok but when the ambient temperature goes up, in older cars the ethanol becomes volatile and causes vapour locks in the fuel lines causing poor running! Read more here:

Biofuels | AA

See you next month for a catch up! :thumbup:
 

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Thanks for all the ideas - think I'll get a decent map - thanks PJ - and cost it up - I normally go with my daughter who is the best shotgun you could wish for but she cant go this year and my wife has to book hers hols years in advance so isn't available either.
I've driven abroad quite a lot but it always been in moderns so the Spider will more of a challenge, as it did so well in Ireland I don't know why I worry about it, the thrash down to the Alps looks pretty tedious - I dislike mways especially in the Alfa but guess it has to be done
I've promised myself if I drive across France again, I will avoid motorways - even though it'll make the journey 4 times as long.
 

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and if you overnight in the cities, make sure the pensione/hotel has a garage....many/most do not, so ask first (some pensiones club together and use a garage up the road) and pay the charge.
Out in the countryside it is not so much of a worry.

.....you sorta sleep better;)
 

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I'd avoid motorways in France (they could cost you quite a bit) and stick to the Route Nationale, which are fairly quick and the scenery is much better. A nice route might be hugging the Belgian and Luxembourg border down to Alsace (nice wines and the Bugatti museum at Mulhouse - a must see) and then enter Switzerland at Basle. Avoid Paris and the dreaded Peripherique if you can. Plan you trip through France to stay in Gites on the way. These are much nicer than hotels IMO and they can sometimes do an evening meal for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks again all - coming round to the DIY route, on my own by the looks of it - Tom, you can give some more hints and tips at BIAMF - from the results of the CAD quiz I have a feeling you may know some good bars and restaurants on the route ..............
We got caught up in the Peripherique when we drove to Disneyland Paris back in 96 - its like a giant spinning top with a black hole in the middle - it either sucks you in or spits you out at some random point nowhere near where you need to be!
The RN's were wonderful when we drove down to the Vendee in 95 - lovely and empty and some amazing bridges
Good tips everyone - much appreciated
 

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You could always let the train take the strain, im planning on using this to Nice when we take the Spider down the Amalfi cost. Avoids the slog down through France and gets you straight to the good bits.

We just need to wait a few years until the kids are old enough to fend for themselves at home!

Guide to Motorail trains in Europe | Taking your car by train
 

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You could always let the train take the strain, im planning on using this to Nice when we take the Spider down the Amalfi cost. Avoids the slog down through France and gets you straight to the good bits.

We just need to wait a few years until the kids are old enough to fend for themselves at home!

Guide to Motorail trains in Europe | Taking your car by train
That may just make a trip next year in the S2 acceptable to wifey.:biglaugh:
 
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