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Italian Road Trip

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John Hitchins
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Re: Italian Road Trip

Post by John Hitchins »

I read cars will need the old size GB sticker again after Nov 1st to travel in the EU.

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heh101353
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Re: Italian Road Trip

Post by heh101353 »

Hi Kevin

I live near Basel Switzerland.
I’ve been to Spa-Classic, the Intl. Rally at Peebles and the 60th in Solihull, criss-crossed the Alps a few times, outings with the Swiss SP250 Club, …, you name it.
My SP covered a tad over 6000 miles last year.

Maybe I can give you some advice for your trip from my expierience …
  • General advice:
    • keep off the motorways, whenever possible
      it’s just boring, side roads are much more fun
. In France they charge hefty fees
 ...
    • go at a leisurely pace 
not more than 4 - 5 hours driving per day
    • don't forget to take the "green insurance card" with you
    • on the continent the "enemy" is always coming from the left
      wether it's driving or crossing the street as a pedestrian
    • Headlamps
      Get those stickers for the headlamps in order to prevent blinding of oncoming motorists.
    • Headlamps always on in Switzerland!
    Some nice areas you can pass on your way down to Switzerland with possible routes:
    • Switzerland
      • What to keep in mind
        It’s pretty difficult to avoid motorways in Switzerland unless you use a satnav with the options “Avoid Motorways" and / or "Avoid Toll Roads”
        So I recommend to bite the bullet and purchase the “Swiss Road Tax Disc”.
        It will set you back about £30. It is valid throughout the whole year. So you are welcome back :lol: :lol:

        Image

        There are countless options to pass over the Alps …

        So here I’ll list just two possibilities from different starting points.

        Sorry, I can’t do Google Maps here because the almighty Google knows that alpine passes are closed
        at this time of the year and hence will not show these routes.


    Hope this will help to inspire your planning.
    Hans
Last edited by heh101353 on Fri Jan 31, 2020 10:40 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Ursa major
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Re: Italian Road Trip

Post by Ursa major »

Thank you for that information, Hans. I am planning a road trip through Switzerland down to Provence in the summer/autumn next year and any help will be welcome.

With regard to our friend Google, he can be persuaded to show a route that is closed in the winter if you change your departure date/time to a date in the summer when the route is open. The appropriate place to click is in the darker blue bar where "Leave now" appears.

Hope this can help with planning!

Simon

Chris_R
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Re: Italian Road Trip

Post by Chris_R »

Google have done a great job for themselves in becoming the place where people immediately go but there are other, and better, route planning services.
Try www.viamichelin.co.uk where you can do all kinds of travel options such as quickest, shortest, discovery, economical as well choosing to avoid motorways, tolls and if you wish Swiss Vignettes. You can also ask it to plot hotels, restaurants and petrol stations along your chosen route. You can also put in some options for fuel consumption and fuel costs and the site will calculate travel costs (including tolls if your route uses toll routes). It's not as fast as google maps but the results and information provided are far superior (in my opinion).
This example is a discovery route (so along all the very tiny roads and through tiny villages) from Calais to Mulhouse with hotels. Being the slowest it's reckoning on over 14¼ hours driving time versus less than 6¾ hours for the quickest route. The hotels shown are based on your departure time (around 10am) and are plotted for a reasonable arrival time. The directions include useful tips such as "You've been driving for almost 2 hours, take a break".
viaMichelin route.jpg
The only problem with all these planners is you can't mix travel options so use motorway for some parts and discovery for others. To do that you need to break down your journey into segments and then do sections of route planning, perhaps some quick and some discovery or something like that. To get the best out of these does take a lot of computer time fiddling with options and working out what you want to do. The default bias of all route planners and satnav systems is the easiest and quickest journey time.

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heh101353
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Re: Italian Road Trip

Post by heh101353 »

Updated my previous reply

@Ursa Major
Thanks for the hint with google maps.
I'll get back to you on the Provence adventure.
I've been down there in 2018 for a short 2 weeks trip.

@ Chris_R
I used to plan with "via Michelin" in the past. At some point in time Google then turned out to be more to my liking and overall less cluttered with ads ...
I guess I need to have a look again at it.
Your right, the one thing that's terribly missing is the capability of mixing scenic legs with motorway legs.
But I often go the old fashioned way using plain old paper road maps, as the really interesting side roads are never taken into account. These roads do not match the notion of fast nor short travel.

Thanks
Hans
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Re: Italian Road Trip

Post by Chris_R »

Hans, I think all 3 have their place. The Google one is quick and convenient but with much less information and detail. The viaMichelin one is slower to work, but has so much more information and far more options. Of course you don't get the option of streetview (where it's been done) with the viaMichelin option. What the paper options don't have of course is the ability to plot travel times for you based on actual road speed limits for the different roads along the route so you could come unstuck by underestimating how long it will take to get to your next hotel stop.

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heh101353
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Re: Italian Road Trip

Post by heh101353 »

@Ursa Major

Going to the Provence through Switzerland, well ... ?

I hate to mention this, but hotel prizes in Switzerland are most of the time just ridiculous high for what you get. Plan your overnight stays elsewhere.

There is a really nice option assuming you'll start in Mulhouse because you want to spend a day in "Cité de L'Automobile".
You then should follow the route along the crest of the Swiss Jura. Magnificent views of the Alps and to the lakes below ...
  • Swiss leg:
    Mulhouse (France) -> Altkirch -> Boecourt (entering CH) -> Tramelan -> Saint Imier -> Neuenburg -> Yverdon-les-Bains -> Montreux ->Thonon-les-Bains (back in France again)
    Nice calm roads, winding up and down through woods and agricultural surroundings. This is the region where Swiss Watches were manufactured and still are.
    https://www.google.com/maps/dir/M%C3%BC ... b1!3e0!5i2
Image
  • Alps crossing
    Assuming you start in Thonon-les-Bains (this was one of the starting points for the famous "Coupe des Alpes Rally" which Pat Moss once won)
    you could do two really nice passes, "Col du Forclaz" and "Col du Galibier". There are a lot more but it needs time.

    When I went, I took this route and added the famous "Mont Ventoux" (of cycling fame)

    Neither Google nor via-Michelin are capable of calculating this route at the time being.
    So here just the "waypoints":
    Thonon-les-Bains -> Martigny -> Col-de-la-Forclaz -> Saint-Hélène-sur-Isere - Saint-Michel-de -Maurienne -> Col du Galibier -> Briançon -> Embrun -> Gap -> Sisteron -> Mont Ventoux -> Carpentras -> Nîmes We stayed two days in Carpentras as I have relatives in the region.
Regards
Hans
Last edited by heh101353 on Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Ursa major
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Re: Italian Road Trip

Post by Ursa major »

Thank you, Hans - its nice to have the benefit of local knowledge! That route will fit in well with dropping down to Grenoble and picking up the Route Napoleon through to the coast. I shall explore it further!

With best wishes,

Simon

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Re: Italian Road Trip

Post by Chris_R »

And at the eastern end of Lake Geneva just south of Montreux is Chateau de Chillon; https://www.chillon.ch/en/GP765/history
Famous for many reasons, one is the Poem "The Prisoner of Chillon" from 1816 by Lord Byron who visited Chillon.
Well worth a visit if you are passing. You need about 2 - 3 hours.

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