I thought I'd post a short clip of the drive over the Fluela Pass yesterday. It really doesn't surprise me that it is rated as one of Europe's best driving roads. Take a look for yourself...
So, I can tell you one thing: the Stelvio Pass is currently shut.
I'll be sure to check such things out in future. It is one of the key roads that I wanted to drive and I wrongly assumed that it would be open by mid-May. According to the local tourist office in Trafoi, we may well have been in luck in ten days time. Now though, there may be ice on the road. I had better check whether we'll be able to drive over the Col de la Bonnette as planned...
The last two days have been a blur. The problem with a road trip is that you rarely spend more than one night in any given place and, as such, you rarely get a real feel for anywhere or get a chance to get to know anyone. The latter of these points is a bit of a disappointment but I know it will be offset to some degree by the people with whom I have and will be speaking with back in the UK.
Since I last posted, I have driven from Francorchamps to Nurburg; a town where car manufacturers test their latest products, taking in the challenging Nurburgring to hone the dynamics of their cars. If you have read anything about the Audi R8 GT Spyder over the past two days, we saw it driving through Nurburg in plain sight on Wednesday along with a number of disguised cars, such as the new BMW M5.
I have driven and sat as a passenger on the Nurburgring and can tell you that I am not a great passenger, though I blame some of the feelings of nausea on the racing-style balaclava and helmet I had to wear for safety purposes. For what it's worth, I think Ned and I may have developed a tiny addiction for the place and we were both reluctant to leave, promising ourselves that we’ll be back to do some more laps before long.
Together we drove to Zuffenhausen, outside Stuttgart, to visit the architecturally amazing Porsche museum, feeling like imposters as we arrived in Porsche-land in an Italian supercar. I have now experienced life in the fast lane, charging down the autobahn to Zurich at absurd average speeds and witnessing the moment that the road goes from a derestricted speed limit, three-lane motorway to a round-about and passport control in a matter of metres.
I have changed co-drivers, dropping-off my cousin Ned at Zurich airport after having built a strong relationship after years of no contact and swapping in my good friend Spencer, someone with whom I have shared many adventures over the past ten years.
Yesterday felt like the beginning of the real road driving as Spencer and I drove across the Alps to experience the legendary Fluela Pass - a route still lined with snow many places even at this time of the year - before finding ourselves at a dead-end as we discovered that the Stelvio Pass was closed to us. We have already seen the cultural shift, in terms of passion for cars, having crossed the border from Switzerland to Italy and noticing how the F355 suddenly became acknowledged much more frequently by fellow drivers, road workers and pedestrians alike. We even found ourselves chasing a Ferrari F40 and an old Porsche 911 Turbo through a tunnel at one point only to realise that we had missed our turning. It was worth it though. The combined sound of the three cars in convoy through the tunnel was incredible and the closest thing to a Formula 1 car that I have heard on public roads. We eventually made our way to the hotel in Brescia and I had my first experience of an evening in this part of Europe. The food, weather, architecture, music and people are all great and I look forward to spending the next couple of days in Italy.
Despite the many experiences had so far, today is due to be one of the most exciting parts of the journey yet as we drive my Ferrari home to Maranello and take side trips to Lamborghini in Sant’Agata and Pagani in nearby Castelfranco Emilia. First the car needs a much needed wash to remove the grime, brake dust and dead bugs from four days of hard driving...