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To Monza and Beyond (Part 3 - Stelvio and Monza)

17 May 2023 8:56 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

After leaving Como we all headed our separate ways. We headed north towards the Stelvio on Monza +1 .


Quite a long drive from Como, the route along the lake looks amazing but is quite tedious to drive. Narrow and traffic filled. Once north of Lake Como traffic drifted away and we started to make good progress. We took the opportunity to give the car a bit of a wash and we arrived into the mountains and started to really enjoy the drive. 


Reminding us of the dangers of over driving these roads, we soon came across these two wreckers. A Porsche on one and a UK new gen Vantage on the other. 


Just before we reached the summit you get great opportunities for some photos. We also came across a group of German Lotus owners and had a good chat. How lovely they get to access these roads so easily?


2.75 times the altitude of Snowdon. Car was faultless and was really enjoyable. Not feeling heavy or ponderous. The good tarmac and wide roads helping. 


These roads often attract commercial photographers who picture every car and bike that goes up and down the mountain. You look up the location, time and date when you get home and buy the picture if you like it. 


This one is mine. Cost about €15 to buy. 

Kanyarfoto - Locations Europe


The car is parked here just below the summit café. Showing the roads going down towards Austria. 

There is the opportunity to take a funicular to the higher café but the cost was quite ridiculous. 



We stopped overnight at a Ski Hotel near to the bottom of all the hairpins. About a 15 minute drive from the summit. Several other drivers cars were present at the hotel. Quite a few bikers and nutter cyclists also present. 


Our destination on Monza +2 was Berchtesgaden via the Grossglockner pass. Another very long drive as including the "High Alpine Road" means a bit of a detour. But when would we next be in the region? We had to include it. 


I wasn't expecting the Toll on the Italian side. No wonder the bikers where nowhere to be seen till after this toll. They ride over from Austria/Germany and summit, ride down and do a U turn at the Café just past this toll booth...  


Summit on the Italian side, just before the short tunnel. Their is a café here and gift shop. Immediately after the tunnel there is another Café & shop. But its a little bigger. The Austrian side is probably the better stop. This is a great road, well worth including on any trip. But very hard to get great photos as few places to stop and nowhere that gives you the bends as a back drop.  


 This is the second café stop. Only about 1/2 mile apart. 



Tunnel entrance to the Eagles Nest.


The Golden Elevator. You can imagine the names of some of those who frequented this place in the 30's and 40's era. 


Views from the top.


Believe it or not, it only had one fireplace and no sleeping rooms. The man himself kept a house in the Garrison grounds at the foot of the slopes. 

Berchtesgaden itself was lovely and a nice place to spend a day or two. Decent restaurants and bars in town. 

Monza +3  & 4 meant heading to Baden Baden. But many will know I had a funny noise in the car by this point that would later be diagnosed as a dodgy rear wheel bearing. I was also starting to get low on tyre tread despite having 5mm on the rears when leaving Cheshire. The Swiss Alps had taken their toll. When planning one of these trips, take notice of tyres and if needed plan in the tyre change on route. I hoped Munich would yield tyres. 


We swung into Munich and headed to the AM dealership. Dirk Pannier was amazing. His team took a good look at the car, despite the noise being very loud by now and concerning me quite a lot his team was unable to detect any play in the wheel bearing. Their opinion was tyres, they were worn badly by now. But still had tread. They searched everywhere for tyres. Even the Pirelli centre didn't have any. One of the issues was Vanquish have a bit of an odd size. But as it was September they all mostly had Winter Tyre stock only. 


The drive to Baden Baden was a long motorway slog, made terrible by rain and a 4 hour traffic jam. We arrived so late we had supper in a fuel station in town. At least they made the food fresh, much better than a UK affair. 


Morning brought more rain. Torrential rain. So a beautiful coffee shop came to the rescue until the rains stopped. Then we did a little shopping in the excellent centre district. Then the afternoon was int the Spa, we came out to pure sunshine. 

To our delight the Town fair was also on that evening and we were treated to local street artists, street food and lots of music. 


We had a lunchtime RV with the legendary Paul Bollinger, fellow Aston Martin enthusiast at Ramstein Airbase. It had been a long time since I'd been to a PX. They used to be the cheapest shop in the world when I was serving in Germany in the 80's & 90's but sadly exchange rates have killed all that. 

Monza +5  & 6 was our final stop at Bruges.  Land of chocolate, medieval city and beautiful buildings. A sort of mini Venice with all its canals. A great place to spend a couple of days unwinding, enjoying the local food and wine. 


The final run home was nearly 500 miles. I was worried about the tyres and the bearing is getting noisier still.


The trip computer says it all really. 

The tyres were probably not legal by the time we got home. But the car was brilliant. The wheel bearing was replaced as part of winter maintenance.

I'm already planning the next big trip. But I fear it will not be until 2025 as I have far too many things in the diary for 2024 already. 

Next time round where will it be? Pyrenees, Iberia and France I feel deserves our attentions. 

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