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Lotus in the Peak
Chatsworth, 8th-10th July 2022

Planning This Year's Epic Trip!


Simon Mac

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Playing a game of pin the tail on the donkey with a map of Europe, and I'm thinking of completing the Top Gear trinity, I've done Stelvio and the Trollstiggen so ....

 

..that just leaves the Transfagarasan Highway.  drive1.gif

 

Rough planning stages but Hull ferry over to Rotterdam, then down through Germany into Austria. Vienna is on the bucket list before heading off to Budapest.  Down from here to the start of the 150km long road, on the way to Bucharest. 

 

Ideally I'd like to get as far as the black sea, before heading back through some more of the Balkans.

 

 

Any tips?

 

 

 

 

 

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Well you know Germany... yawn. There are some lovely roads around the lakes in Austria to the east of Salzburg... Mondsee and Attersee especially. Beautiful scenery too everywhere you look. Speeds on these roads are rather like Norway though, but with more traffic. Personally, I much prefer Salzburg to Vienna if you're looking for a day off driving. Just as picturesque, but easier to see everything and less crowded. It takes no time really to get between the two cities, though do watch out for speed cameras just after changes in speed limit. (By the way, I really like the Austrian system of moving to the edge of the carriageway when in queuing traffic so there is always effectively a lane for emergency vehicles down the middle.) Once you're in Vienna you're a stones throw away from Budapest!

 

You don't mention which country's Black Sea coast you want to get to. I've driven in Bulgaria, through approaching via Italy and Greece, and then I only stayed in the west of the country. Sofia is a beautiful city, sadly with very evident extremes of wealth/poverty. Off the main routes, you'll find roads are often like those you experienced in northern Sweden... but I suspect this only applies in the west. 

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Thanks Keith,

 

Yep it will likely be Romanian coast , probably south of Constanta, in one of the ex Eastern Bloc luxury resorts in a "some communists are more equal than others" sort of style,

 

TBH I love Austria (took the Elise there in 2014) as you say stunning part of the world.

 

I contemplated coming back via Sofia, so sounds like it's worth going that sort of route.

 

The only other thing I need to plan is how many Hard Rock Cafe's I can visit in a day. Need to top 3 ;)

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4 Hard Rocks in a day...  How about breakfast in Cologne, late lunch in Munich, tea in Vienna, dinner in Budapest?

I think there are easier ways to do 4 hard rocks in a  day though... but maybe that's not the point?! 

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4 Hard Rocks in a day...  How about breakfast in Cologne, late lunch in Munich, tea in Vienna, dinner in Budapest?

I think there are easier ways to do 4 hard rocks in a  day though... but maybe that's not the point?! 

 

I need to add one more requirement 4 Hard Rocks in 4 countries ;)

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Hi Simon,

 

I looked at going to the Transfagarasan Highway a couple of years back but bottled it due to the distance..... What's you plan in regards to miles per day and total days for the whole trip, there and back ?

 

Cheers,

Andy

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@andy I'll try to cap it at 400 miles per day this time.

 

The Arctic trip was 4k in total over 10 days, we had a couple of "half days sightseeing", but spent the lunches + evenings in nice cities with some time wandering around.   It was probably a smidge too much driving to "sight seeing" ratio, as we didn't have even one whole day anywhere.

 

I'm planning on the ferry from Hull to Rotterdam again, as it saves a chunk of mileage + 2 nights accommodation + I can set off on a Friday after work,  and be ready and refreshed to go at 9am on Saturday for the first big day of driving already on the continent.

 

Rotterdam to Bucharest is 1400 miles, so 4 days there, 4 days  back, leaves some slack in the schedule, (which I might stretch to 14 days)

 
My biggest day last year was 600 miles and I was knackered, but I might be tempted to pull that sort of distance on the first day to make some progress.
 

All will be done via booking.com, so no real set stops, other than to get to the Black Sea, and make it back for the ferry :)

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I'll be doing a twitter feed like last time (I have a few followers who've had nothing but radio silence for months blush.png ). 

 

One is Lotus Munich, so I might pop in there en route :D

 

The hardest part for me of doing the miles is the noise with the roof off on motorways, but I love the open feeling so much I end up driving everywhere with the roof off and just use earplugs.

 

I am seriously considering the Visium perspex top.  I know it's a lot to spend on a hardtop, but the reviews from the Tesla Roadster owners (generally silicon valley folks with more money than they know what to do with) is they are fantastic, and a large proportion of Visium's production went in that direction.

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  • 5 months later...

So day 1 :)

 

I am currently sat in Frankfurt, having a nice beer :)

 

I set off from my dad's house in Cambs to give me an earlier crossing.  Done a around 500 miles, and 5 countries today: UK, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany.

 

Slight problem with the car is I think my rear tyres weren't balanced properly, so get some terrible shudder over 100mph, which has been a bit of an issue on the Autobahns. There's a Lotus dealer in Frankfurt, so I plan to pop in tomorrow and get some advice.

 

Other than that the car has done better than me, who is now a nice lobster colour :D  Temps. hit 35c today, and even I gave up and put the roof and A/C on.

 

Tomorrow is a cannonball to Vienna, then plan to press on to Bucharest.  Followed by some much more relaxed progress on the way home avoiding the motorways as possible.

 

Pics will follow :)

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Went to the Lotus "dealership" which is also a McLaren, Lamborghini, .... Amazing place with millions of pounds worth of stock including a full museum and restoration shop. They had an Evora sat outside in a glass case!!!

 

Wheel balance required but they couldn't fit me in right away. Sent to Germany's equivalent of kwikfit,and they had an Exige in the reception!!!

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So another day of full driving means I am currently sat chilling in Vienna (i.e. another 500 mile day)

 

Much better now the car doesn't shake itself to bits at 100+ mph ;)  LOTS of road works between Frankfurt and Vienna, but all in a fairly easy trip, which took around 9 hours including fuel stops (and topping up on Red Bull)

 

Highlight of the day:  Booking.com / Dearest Daughter's choice of hotel is a stately home on the top of a mountain overlooking the city, all for the price of your normal purple prison.

 

Lowlight of the day: My  "waterproof" phone has developed condensation in the camera lens :(

 

Have some picks on daughters iPhone, but I'm going to have to get them uploaded somehow.

 

Next stop Budapest!!

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So fair amount of travel since last post.
 
The car has been faultless, but have had to resort to the roof going on a fair bit, purely as it's so hot. A/C has been a god send!
 
We drove from Budapest (after a stay at a very swanky 5 star hotel right in the city centre) to a place in the east of Romania called Brasov.  The journey was eventful as I'd not bought a toll ticket thing, and got busted for that. Then at the border I realised I didn't have my V5. I managed to blag my way across using the folder of Lotus stuff I still had in the car and my last service invoice!
 
Romania was as far from what I expected as could be. You could have easily thought you were in a nice French town, café style bars everywhere, everything was clean and tidy, and a real historic feel. I did have a slight "problem" with the hotel, meaning we spent an extra night. (Long story, but the owner, myself and a welsh ex soldier somehow ended up on a stash of home made palinca.). The extra day spent recovering and taking daughter to Romania's answer to go ape, which was an experience in itself!
 
Then on to the Transfagarasan. Brasov is probably not the best starting point as it's a good way past the main route on to it, but we used back roads to get there and these were beautiful too (if a little bumpy, which being a Lotus was no problem whatsoever). A long day of driving, but once on the highway itself, it's just amazing. I can't recommend it enough.  So much better than the Trollstigen or Stelvio, and it goes on and on, winding it's way up from small towns, up through forests, across a huge dam, and up above the tree line.
 
The night ended up in another Romanian city called Sibiu. Here we were treated to a free open air rock concert cheers.gif
 
From Sibiu we pressed back into Hungary staying at a lovely hotel that sat on the edge of the Danube in a small town called Pacs a small way south of Budapest. We'd tried to stay off the main roads, and the scenery was ok if a little contourless. But it beats the highly efficient if boring Hungarian motorways.
 
This morning we drove over to Slovenia, shopping for lunch in Maribor, before arriving in Ljubljana for 15:30. This gave us plenty of time to have a stroll round, and scale the hill on the way up to the castle.
 
All in we've put nearly 2.5k miles on the car, been to 8 countries, and still have to get back across the Alps for a cheeky alpine pass or two. drive1.gif

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