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Old 14-12-2017   #16
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Re: Driving to Italy from Scotland

Thanks all for the help. Anne now has a date for her op. Its on the 11 January so we can now do some more planning. I think is going to be September ish.
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Old 14-12-2017   #17
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Re: Driving to Italy from Scotland

I have driven a couple of times to Courmayeur ( in 2007 & 2008), and more recently to Switzerland ( twice ) and last year to Monaco.

The 'hardest' part of the trip is getting to Dover : due to our congested motorways and awful services!

Make sure you read all the stuff about driving abroad, and what you have to have in your car ( use the AA website which has a list etc). France has different requirements to Switzerland which is different to Italy...etc etc !!)
Get all the stickers/headlight adjusters/breathalysers (!!)/warning triangles/high viz jackets etc online as certain high street shops ( sounds like halfrauds... ) charge a fortune for them.

My preferred route south from North East England is via Dover- Calais. I usually book a lunchtime ferry : try to book/pay for it well in advance to get a good deal. If you use the Dartford Crossing during the day, there is an electronic toll system ( it's free at night IIRC.)

You should register with the Dartford Crossing company online, then pre-pay before you travel. Otherwise you will get charged/ fined if you do not pay promptly as the cameras take your number plate details etc.

I also registered with SanF ( the French autoroute toll company: they have an office in Harrogate I think), so that you can buy a Transponder to stick on your windscreen and that picks up the tolls as you go through the automatic lane ( no need to stop as the barrier just lifts up ). You then get the total bill from SanF about a month later. These transponders make using the autoroutes so much easier, especially with a RHD car ! The price is the same as paying with cash at the Peages.

I tend to stay overnight in Reims, which is only about 3 hours from Calais. The Novatel is very good, plenty of parking and literally just off the Autoroute. It has a good restaurant as well.

The French autoroutes are great IMO, especially in Northern France where they are not too busy. Apparently they are getting more speed cameras now, but the last time I drove over there they were well signposted !

The French Aires ( rest stops) are very good, the larger ones have excellent facilities ( so much better than anything in the UK). They are clean, the restaurants ( and they deserve to be called that !) are very good: in fact you actually look forward to stopping for a meal ! They serve excellent fresh coffee, and the prices are OK ( Not like ours at all then !)

The fuel is expensive on the Autoroutes, and most of the pumps have credit card options. Also there is the option to fill up & then pull off the pump forecourt and park outside the shop to pay...most civilised !

As you travel further south the traffic builds up, in fact Lyon, being France's second city, gets very busy at any time of the day.

I have stayed overnight in Annecy en route to the Alps: that is a lovely city with canals and a lake, although I would not recommend a hotel in the city centre as the traffic is quite hectic !

I would try to avoid Geneva if possible, the traffic around there is very busy.



Anyway, I hope you enjoy your trip, you will find it so much more enjoyable than driving anywhere in the UK !!
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Old 14-12-2017   #18
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Re: Driving to Italy from Scotland

We go every year (except this year due to my detached retina and multiple procedures and still on going) and love the Dolomites.

If you are travelling from Calais and going France/Belgium/Germany/Austria and into Italy then you will be "up top" with the Dolomites on the path of your travels to the South.

Not wanting to spoil any delights if you decide to visit the Dolomites but here are some of the wonderful views you can see (by region)

http://www.marmotta-photoart.co.uk/la_ital_index.htm

This website is my Wife's site so thanks to her.

And please note the picture descriptions as they are accurate with respect to view, location, etc. and not just a bunch of "tourist" snap shots.
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Last edited by s130; 14-12-2017 at 20:03.
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Old 20-12-2017   #19
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Re: Driving to Italy from Scotland

Quote Originally Posted by Goudrons View Post
Next March we are heading to Florence, Siena and Lucca, but we'll fly and pick up a hire car.
Just been looking at hotels, flights and car hire for next March.

Cheaper to fly to Pisa rather than Florence and what I save there I can spend at the Hertz desk.
They can hire me a 595 Turismo for a week for 109!

I think I'm going to enjoy this trip, a lot!
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Old 21-12-2017   #20
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Re: Driving to Italy from Scotland

Quote Originally Posted by Goudrons View Post
Just been looking at hotels, flights and car hire for next March.

Cheaper to fly to Pisa rather than Florence and what I save there I can spend at the Hertz desk.
They can hire me a 595 Turismo for a week for 109!

I think I'm going to enjoy this trip, a lot!
Very tempting and probably cheaper overall than staying two or three nights while driving south, though you can't bring back a load of wine and oil. Just one word of caution - the roads in Italy are in a bad state, I reckon worse than in the UK. Autostrade are OK but SS roads (Strada Statale equivalent to our major A roads) can be very ripply and you might find a 595 very tiring after quite a short while; SP (Strada Provinciale - more or less minorish A roads and B roads) can be very uneven. If your health could be an issue the 595 may not be the best option, unfortunately.
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Old 21-12-2017   #21
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Re: Driving to Italy from Scotland

I think I can live with a firm ride and 165hp for a week, just.

I've yet to find a worse road anywhere than my local roads here. Even the donkey tracks of Kefalonia are better.

There's not a road within 5 miles of where I live that isn't stuffed full of traffic humps and bumps and mined with potholes you could bathe in.
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Old 21-12-2017   #22
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Re: Driving to Italy from Scotland

Quite a pleasant drive from Pisa airport, through San Giuliana Terme to Lucca, we stay at the Albergo San Martino when in Lucca. Not much parking in the Centro Storica but they have their own carpark.
If your're planning a night or two in Pisa the Hotel Grand Bonanna is a nice place, on the right side of town driving from the airport and it's about 15mins walk from the tower.

If murphyv310 is heading over in September there's plenty going on. The festival Luminare Santa Croce in Lucca is 3rd Friday in the month (they light the centre of town with thousands of candles and have a noisy procession) followed by a large antiques/fleamarket on the Sat-Sun. The womens Giro di Toscana is in September too, if you're into bicycle racing/ladies in Lycra
Venice has the Historic Regatta on the Grand Canal, 1st w'end in Sept, the Film Festival and the Burano Regatta, late Sept. Burano is beautiful (about 15mins on a vaporetto from the Grand Canal) with lot's of brightly coloured houses, not as crowded as Venice itself.
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Old 18-01-2018   #23
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Re: Driving to Italy from Scotland

Hi.
I meant to reply last Thursday, Anne had her operation and is now recovering at home. It is a fairly long recovery and all the extra running around has worsened my issues on the left leg. At least we get some respite at weekends as our youngest daughter comes down from Glasgow and helps out for a few hours.
Will now need to see how February and March go before making too many plans.
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Old 18-01-2018   #24
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Re: Driving to Italy from Scotland

Quote Originally Posted by murphyv310 View Post
Hi.
I meant to reply last Thursday, Anne had her operation and is now recovering at home. It is a fairly long recovery and all the extra running around has worsened my issues on the left leg. At least we get some respite at weekends as our youngest daughter comes down from Glasgow and helps out for a few hours.
Will now need to see how February and March go before making too many plans.
Best of luck - hope everything works out.
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Old 03-02-2019   #25
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Re: Driving to Italy from Scotland

Hi all.
Well 2018 wasn't the year it should have been and this year has been devastating to myself and the family.

Anne didn't recover too well last year, after her hysterectomy in January of 2018 she improved but seemed to plateau after 8 weeks. She never got back to her former self and any thought's of holidays were shelved. She had to give up two of her clients she cleaned for as well. Come September she complained of random pains in her tummy, but thought they were healing pains and didn't bother with the doctor. These got worse a little bit, not enough to go to the doctors. Come Boxing Day the pain was in her shoulder and under her lower right ribs. on the 27th December she went to the doc and he thought it was Pleurisy and prescribed antibiotics. The problem got worse and two weeks after the initial diagnoses she was in Hospital. Within four days she was diagnosed with Bowel cancer and secondary Liver cancer. It was a terminal diagnoses and the poor wee soul passed away in the early hours of the 26th of January this year. We are all so devastated at this, it was so quick and hard to take in she wrote me a beautiful card in the early hours of the morning before being told by the oncologist that treatment would be too risky. She only lasted a few days after this.

She wants me to travel if I'm able but as yet I cant get my head round all this, the funeral is Wednesday the 6th in three days time.

The picture is us at our sons wedding in 2012 standing by my Rover 75 and a copy of the card she wrote.

Anne will be greatly missed by myself and the family.
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Old 03-02-2019   #26
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Re: Driving to Italy from Scotland

Trevor, I'm so sorry to hear your sad news. My wife lost her best friend not so long ago to ovarian cancer. She lived just round the corner from us in the next street so we would see her and her husband often. Over the years we had become very friendly with her family and been on several cruises with her and her husband. Getting used to her not being there any more and trying to comfort and support her husband has been emotional and difficult. I find it difficult to imagine what loosing your lifetime partner must be like, but I shall think of you often, especially on Wednesday, and will be wishing you well.
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Old 03-02-2019   #27
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Re: Driving to Italy from Scotland

I'm very sorry for your loss.

gr J
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Old 03-02-2019   #28
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Re: Driving to Italy from Scotland

So sorry to hear of your bereavement - I lost my brother in the same way in July, two days before his 74th birthday, so I have some idea of what you're experiencing.
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Old 04-02-2019   #29
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Re: Driving to Italy from Scotland

I am so very sorry to hear this sad news, Trevor. My heart goes out to you and your children.
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Old 05-02-2019   #30
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Re: Driving to Italy from Scotland

That's awful - you have all our sympathies, I am sure.
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