Let’s skip the boring bit and get to the good stuff. We all left together today with the idea that we will not be going fast. Ha! It’s a good job we have been MINI trained because a lot of folk would have just packed up and gone home with the refrain ‘It’s too fast’. I know because I have heard them in recent runs, sad things they don’t know what they are missing.
But there we were rattling along beautiful roads at great speed, curving round bends, hurtling through pine forests and generally having lots of fun. We did a few less passes as such but took more twisty roads through and along the sides of valleys. The scenery was simply stunning. We raced on and up to the Paser Joch where there was still 6 foot of snow. We were behind the Corvette with his 5.7 litres of muscle. We edged him on the bends but then we hit a very long stretch of long straights and gentle bends. The Corvette was in home territory and we hit speeds that were… Well right on the edge of being legal of course. If I say “flip that was fast” then I think you know I never said flip! This was an epic drive.
We paused at the top and a gaggle of Porsches raced up and roared to a stop. But they didn’t stop for long and soon roared off down the other side, I remembered one in particular as it had Martini stripes and really looked the business.
We cracked on and 2.30 saw us up the side of a valley having lunch in an outside restaurant with an amazing view of the valley below. What a simply lovely place! By this point though we needed fuel quite badly and as we left we were told the next stop would be for refuelling, but we should have asked where it would be, as our need for fuel was by now quite desperate. As we entered Merano our car started ‘pinging’ it’s fuel warning, a sign that the end is nigh, and as we had no idea where the fuel stop was we pulled out of the convoy and went to find some fuel in the town.
We soon found a garage, closed but self service, so fine. But it would only accept Italian cards, so much for the EU. So we drove on to the next only a few hundred yard further on and again, closed but self service, and only if you are Italian.
I suppose I should add that it would take notes, but in our usual fashion we had none of those either.
So I sent P off on a mission to get some cash. She soon returned looking glum. The Bancomat she found told her that my card was “not valid for International transactions”. Now this was a blatant lie and P was pretty sure we had used it many times before, but not on this holiday. But it didn’t alter the fact that essentially it had told her to clear off and she wasn’t going to get any money.
So faced with a bit of a problem we set off together back to the Bancomat where I tried again. UK bank no good, French bank no good, both saying the same thing. At this point I had to ring my bank in England to find out what was going on, which took an age, but he did confirm that there should be no problem and advised me to find another ATM.
So off we trotted into town and soon found the pretty centre of Merano with a river running through it, and a bank. We gave the card a try and whoopee! We had struck lucky this time and all was resolved. Our friend Andy had once told us that all stress situations could be solved with ice cream, it was certainly very warm and we were a bit hot and bothered, so ice cream seemed the obvious choice. Luckily the man in the kiosk didn’t mind changing a 50 euro note for two ice creams!
So back at the petrol station we filled up and got on our way. By now though we were a long way behind the rest of the gang, so we made our own way back to the hotel with the help of TomTom. He has been a life saver again for us, as he had been rather shelved with Sat Nav in the Coupe and on the iPhone, but he has come into his own this holiday and been a great friend. Heck we might even treat him to a map upgrade as a reward!
When we reached the hotel, Norbert rushed out to greet us as he had been a bit worried about us being out and about on our own. We explained what had happened and he told us that the fuel stop was about 100 yards after we had pulled out of the convoy! Oh well, we would never have seen Merano if we had stuck with them and Merano is quite simply a lovely and prosperous town.
Another lovely evening meal followed in the hotel and we enjoyed a long chat with Norbert. We then watched the European Cup Final and saw Real be victorious. Ronaldo scored a penalty, ripped his shirt off, pulled his face and flexed his muscles. I’m getting old because it just disgusted me and I wanted to give him a good slap! Grrrrr! Anyway, time for bed so up to the play room we went at the end of another stupendous day driving in the Dolomites. Goodnight. X