4600 miles and 9 countries.
A month ago I left on a business trip to Southern Germany. I intended tacking on a couple of days at the end to take some stuff to Greece for our boat. The lure of the German unlimited Autobahn was strong so I packed Angelina with luggage, toolsn an outboard motor and a new set of companionway steps and engine cover in kit form that I had made in the workshop here at home. Not a lot of space left but even with a full sized hold baggage case, two laptops, outboard, woodwork and tools I could still get the roof down, but no room for a passenger!
From Wales down England to Folkstone and the channel tunnel ( it's the best way to cross the channel! ) on to Calais in France. 85 mph down the A routes in France, Cross into Belgium then Luxembourg. Fill up with super petrol at €1.10 a litre and head South. Germany and the chance to open her up a little. 200 kph or 125 mph is an easy 3450 rpm in top in eco and just 4 cylinders doing the work on the flats. The car feels like it's doing 40. The roads are superb, the weather spectacular.
Southern Germany and the first client visit. A recent installation and they are not happy, nothing working, failures and irregular operation. 15 minutes on site and it's all good. Don't drive DC equipment with unrectified, unsmoothed, unregulated, AC transformers! Happy days! No need to stay over but push on 3 hours to Lake Konstanz and client 2. Spend a week working on new developments for them. Do a bit of touring about every evening. Southern Germany is spectacular. The food is great, the beer better, the roads excellent and the drivers intelligent. A 25 mile commute from Konstanz to site is a treat as most of it is up the autobahn and can be done mostly at 220kph.
A week on site and I need to catch the ferry to Greece from Ancona in Italy so off via Switzerland. 800 odd km, the roads around Zurich are clogged with roadworks so the better part of 9 hours. Go 'over the top' at Goddard in what pilots would describe as IMC, Instrument Flight Conditions, cloud at ground level and visibility in single metres. Cross the top into a spectacular valley. To my right brilliant sunlight and spectacular mountains and in front and to the left cloud pouring like water over the moutains and down into the valley, evaporating just at my altitude, truly spectacular, reminiscent of Cape Towns Table Mountain tablecloth. Stop short at Bologna and book in to the Holiday Inn. Next morning a quick visit to Imola and Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari. Push on to Ancona. The port is HEAVING. Everything from 40 ton artics, campervans, motorcyles, and young people lapping up the European sunshine without a care in the world ........ and almost a few clothes, the freedom todays youth have is mind blowing. Two ferries leave and the whole heaving mess clears up in minutes! it is chaos but a surprisingly organised chaos.
Some trepidation about the ferry and being crammed aboard but fortunately when the marinerros parked a Range Rover less than 10 inches from the passenger side of Angelina the people aboard were good enough to climb out the other side of the car. bought them a beer for that when I bumped in to them later aboard. Overnight to Igounomitsa. The ferry was so full I'd been unable to get a cabin and had to resort to the busisness class 'aircraft seat' actually not too bad. 3 1/2 days in Greece. Angeline got a lot of comments and admiring looks. Greece has knobbled large car ownership, the vehicle tax on a 5.5 litre car would be over €2000 per year and with premium fuel at around €1.70 a litre .... not for those with limited funds! Carded a couple of SLK's!
Back on the ferry for Igou to Ancona late on the Sunday evening, ferry almost empty, car deck about 30% full so plenty of space around Angelina. Up through Italy and decide to swing East to avoid Zurich and get to Vaduz in Lichtenstein for an overnight. Back on site following morning early. Have to take a run to Stuttgart to track down some networking kit. Time the journey just right, roads are clear.
Wind Angelina up to 250 kph. 7th gear all rock steady.
Give it the beans, she drops down 2 cogs and off we go, 260, 270 and finally 282 kph. ( I've removed the limiter with star ) a couple of KM flat out. around 180 mph. the wind noise is deafening, the tyres are roaring and the road comes up spectacularly fast. 77 metres per second or a kilometer every 12.8 seconds and a mile in 23 seconds. That fast is simply too fast to be sharing road space with anyone who is not expecting it, roll off teh throttle, job done. I'm happy. been there done that, tee shirt well and truly deserved.
Another couple of days on site, then Sunday morning 4 am start for the UK. hammer up through some of Germany at a leisurely 100 mph then in to France and back into Luxembourg, Belgium and France again for the tunnel. ( flexiplus and you just drive on to the next train, bargain! ) The rain starts as i enter the tunnel.
And it barely stops all the way to Wales. 14 1/2 hours driving with a couple of nap stops. Around the midlands I witness people driving at 80 mph in torrential rain about a car length from the car in front of them. I'm off in the middle or left lane, leave the lunatics to it. Listen to the news and there's a report of a totalled Lambo on the M6, they don't make good boats. ( And a flash car doesn't make a good driver of an idiot either )
Now I'm looking for a top notch valeter for Angelina she's dusty and could do with some TLC. Time for an oil change and new filters but having spent 4600 miles and some spectacularly good driving over the past month I'm convinced this is probably the best car I've owned!
Angelina IV - 2014 Silver R172 55 AMG
Angelina III - 2005 Mystic Blue R171 55 AMG
Angelina II - 2002 Silver 170 320
Angelina 1 - 2001 Silver 170 230
Realtime Tracker, SmartTop, retrofitted Panoramic roof, X-Pipe, 400hp atrw, wired in dashcam, carbon boot spoiler, Maxton splitter,Chrome bonnet fins, USB charger in console.