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You could not visit the centre of Brescia and fail to notice that the Mille Miglia was in town, as well as posters, banners and flags in abundance, the main square was cordoned off with a village of corporate tents and media cameras everywhere. And then there are the cars, priceless examples from the 1920s onwards, O.M. (The car that won the original 1927 event), Bugattis, Alfa Romeos, Astons, Mercedes, Lagondas and many more.
We found a table at a café in one of the squares and watched as the cars queued up and proceeded on to the Sealing ceremony, it was like a moving classic car show where the fantastic cars came to you. After sealing, the cars were parked all over the city centre, in squares and side streets, all quite amazing.
We got to Brescia by driving to a town on the end of their Metro system, a very modern multi-story car park looked after the Enigma and we were whisked straight into the centre of the city by a driverless train, very clean and efficient.
Today was a rest day, no motoring at all. The town of Sirmione is really something special, the sun is shining and the lake is a beautiful blue colour. We spent the day being tourists, visiting the amazing Roman villa and trying the gelato in the old town.
The Mille Miglia has a time check here on Thursday and the town is getting very excited with event flags and posters in all the restaurants and shops.
We left the alpine town of Nauders and headed south, our route took us through one of the highlights of the trip, the Stelvio Pass, however on the approach road we came across a sign saying that the pass was closed – big disappointment.
This meant quite a long re-route to the west in the direction of St Moritz and then over the Bernier Pass, this was stunning and well worth the diversion, the snow was piled up along the side of the road about 6 feet deep.
Whilst up there we came across a helicopter with large bucket on the end of a wire rope, it was relaying concrete from a truck by the road to a location well up the mountain.
The decent towards Brescia involved numerous hairpins and switchbacks and the extra width and length of the Enigma made it a joy to drive through the endless curves. Lower down we travelled through mile after mile of tunnels and the ventilation left a lot to be desired.
After a very long day we reached the lovely town of Sirmione, occupying a peninsula stretching into the waters of Lake Garda, our hotel was on the small island at the far end which meant we had to drive over the drawbridge of the old castle and through the narrow medieval streets.
Any thoughts of a Sunday lie in were dashed by the incredibly loud bells from the church behind the hotel, so we pointed the cars east and headed off. We hadn’t gone far when the road was closed for a marching band leading a procession to church.
Rather than head directly east into Austria, we dropped down so that we could pass through Liechtenstein, as we had also bought a pass that allowed us to use the Swiss motorways, we thought we might as well get some of our monies worth and took the A13 for a bit.
Liechtenstein was a pleasure, very clean and tidy, although for some reason Jason (the sat nav) threw his toys out of the pram and wouldn’t find us a route through there, he was OK again when we reached Austria.
One of the problems with this trip so far is that you run out of superlatives, as we headed east into the Austrian Tyrol, to well above the snow line, the scenery just got more and more dramatic with the snow covered peaks towering above us on either side.
We reached our alpine chalet style hotel in Nauders just before the rain, so in five days we have had the top up for just one hour in the central Black Forest area – proper motoring.
Our hotel in Rodern, Peche de Vigne, was a real surprise, from the outside it just looked like a wall with a big doo in it, on the other side of the door however the rooms were arranged around a courtyard, very picturesque, and comfortable.
Sticking to our policy of avoiding motorways, we headed east and after a diversion to Colmar, we crossed the Rhine into Germany near Freiburg and headed up into the hills on the edge of the Black Forest. Being in the Black Forest, we had to have some Black Forest Gateau but it didn’t quite work out as we expected and we ended up with Black Forrest ice cream.
Being a Saturday, there was a lot more traffic around, including a number of enthusiasts clubs out for a run, which slowed things down a bit, but the scenery was fantastic.
We crossed the German/ Swiss border near Lake Constance and carried on to our hotel near the lake at Arbon.
Despite threatening skies, the roof came down before we set off and it proved to be a good decision, the sun came out and with fresh air and beautiful scenery, there is little to better top down motoring.
Having been asked to ignore motorways, Jason – the sat nav – chose a superb route that took us across the Belgium/France border and down through the Alsace and Jura regions of France to our destination for the night in the little village of Rodern.
The road varied with the scenery from undulating curves through forests to the wide sweeping bends over the flat areas near Verdun and then into the switchback over the Col du Donon and all of this was an absolute pleasure with the Enigma taking all in its stride.
Lunch at a roadside restaurant had the added entertainment factor of a convoy of very large trucks transporting a huge wind turbine mast in several sections, the vehicles were so large that street signs had to be removed for them to get past.
It was good news/bad news overnight. The North Sea was like a mill pond with barely a ripple making for a very comfortable crossing, on the other hand, a fault with a gearbox on the ship reduced the speed and we were 5 hours late arriving at Zeebrugger.
With the temperature just over 20 degrees C, it was top down and Autoroute right across Belgium to the Ardenne where we met up with our friends Dave and Rita Barratt at our hotel in the lovely little village of Chassepiere.
The Barratts will be accompanying us for the rest of the trip in their Alfa Romeo Spyder.
The social side of Enigma ownership came to the fore before we had even left the ship, a fellow passenger came over to admire the car and ask what it was and the ensuing conversation revealed that he had worked for 15 years about 10 miles from us. This followed by a “Nice car” from the man in passport control started the journey off on a good note.
I am hoping to make it possible to post photos, in the mean time if you would like to email them to me, I can add them
Roy Wood has sent this picture of his bracket
Fuzz Townsend used a special induction heater when trying to remove a stubborn stud on the rebuild of a Datsun 240Z. It consisted of a coil the surrounded the stud and within a short period, the stud was cherry red and came our very easily. I’ve never seem or heard of these before but it was very impressive
Hello Richard and Diane
I’m catching up with the posts on the forum so apologies for the time it has taken.
Well done on your build, any chance of some photos?
best of luck with the IVA – which testing station will you be using?
- This reply was modified 5 years, 8 months ago by Mike.
Welcome to the Healy Enigma clab and best of luck with your build, we would be very interested if you kept us up to date with progress.
There is a link to Richard’s blog on the Articles page