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Premium Member 2018 SLC43
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Discussion Starter #1
Euro Road Trip 3 - Day 1 of 17...

So, Day 1...

Having working out how to fit 17 days of stuff into a SLK, departed just before 7am for the ~100 mile drive to Folkestone: Luckily 'operation stack' with all the Lorry's waiting for the channel crossing had been removed, apart from all the porter loo's every mile or so along the M20..
We got to the Euro Tunnel Terminal just as it started raining..
But managed to get inside the retail area for a coffee & bacon bap (well, it was a Sunday) before the‎ heavens opened with torrential rain.. The poor bikers heading on similar trips to ours in Europe, didn't look impressed.

Loosing a hour having crossed into Europe Time Zone, hit the French Toll roads to get some miles (or kilometres, should I say) under the tyres‎.
This time, I got a French 'San‎ef' toll tag to make the toll barriers quicker, and means the one's credit card does get left in the toll booth machine because the navigator/passenger didn't snatch it out quick enough, when the light went green, the barrier pop's up and the drivers foot hits the Gas Pedal ..!!

Find the French Motorways on this Southerly Route fairly quite on a weekend, as most of the lorry's are grounded and the Motorway Services and picnic areas are better than the UK offerings..
We only drove down as far as Troyes this year (350 miles total), so We had some much appreciated pool time, as it had turned into a warm mid France day..‎
 

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Premium Member 2018 SLC43
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Discussion Starter #2
Day 2 << Troyes to the Alps >>

After leaving our Best Western Hotel just outside Troyes, checked out some of the local roads in the “Parc naturel régional de la Forêt d'Orient” (Large forest, to You & Me) and fuelled up 'cheaper' before hitting the French Motorways again to get some distance under the wheels:‎

Top ‎down of course, but soon seeing the temperature in the low 30's.
To avoid 'Lyon', We left the 'A42/E661' ‎at junction 8 and took the 'D1504' heading for 'Belley'

With a minor diversion on some back roads, leading to a previous found picnic stop that We'd came across last year.
Then over the 'Col du Chat' for a view of the lake just north of 'Chambery' (Lac du Bouret)

On re-joining the 'A43/E70' heading into the Alps is where the temperature peaked at 38'c, still top down if course - You just have to remember how cold and wet a British Winter can be, to realise why the top stays firmly packed away in the boot..‎. (But do cheat, with a bit of Aircon re-circulating cold air around the feet, when required...!!) Though the down side of this ‘Hot, top down driving’, is the Red Wine, that is stored behind the drivers seat had been turned into Mulled Wine..!!

Once again avoiding‎ 'Grenoble' by driving over the 'Col du Glandon - D927/D526'
Though a lot slower route, has to be done on a sunny summers evening :)

The final destination for‎ our second night was the ski resort of 'Alpe-d’ Huez' and My Chief Navigator/Partner Carole said on arrival, if I had two tails, they'd both be wagging after all the hair-pin bends‎ to get up their..!! R)

That was another 352 mile, 8 hours of driving day, but mpg dropped to 28mpg due to the top down driving & mountain passes....
 

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Registered Still SLK-less. Maybe one day ...
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Enjoying sharing your journey vicariously.

Stunning scenery, good driving roads in an amazing convertible, and good company. The perfect holiday :)
 

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Premium Member 2005 SLK55 AMG
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Looks like you had a great start to the road-trip, once you'd got across (or under) the Channel!

Thanks for sharing... looking forward to seeing further updates (and it's great to see the pics too)! :tu:
 

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Premium Member 2018 SLC43
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Discussion Starter #7
Day 3 << "Mind the Gap" >>

OK, Day 3's Report....


Clear blue skies, and Google Maps claims of only~120Km from "Alpe-d' Huez" to our Hotel in "Gap" Carolethinks We'll be sitting by the Pool with ‎a cold Beer by mid afternoon, at the very latest...??


Errr - Wrong, not that We now have the map reading delightsof the Michelin‎ 1:150 000 maps (1 inch = 2.37 miles or 1cm = 1.5km for metricpeople ) which clearly shows the most scenic route, with the most hair-pins...!! >:D


So after checking out the clear mountain lakes above‎"Alpe-d'Huez" headed back down the 21 hair pin bends (lots of enginebreaking of course, to save the brakes..) to the glacial valley bottom. (See enclosed Wikipedia picture)


Then heading South over the "Col‎ d'Ornon" (Trev’Rating = 4.5/5) and interesting passed a Sign claiming to be on the 45'Parallel. (So half way from the North Pole, to the Equator...?) Now I claim to be an Engineer, so takenothing for fact, so checked the Command SatNav for confirmation - was only afew Metres out as it happens and of course only using a civilian Sat-Nav‎.

Stopped for lunch, at a bar in "Le Pé‎rier" with afabulous mountain view. Then crossed the "N85" to "Mens"before working our way around to "Col du Festre" and dropping down to"Montmaur" and the final part along the "D994" to our Hoteljust outside "Gap"

This is the second year running We’ve stayed here: Hotel Les Olivades, Gap, France - Booking.com
 

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Premium Member 2018 SLC43
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Discussion Starter #8
Day 4 << Still Heading South for the French Rivera.. >>

Day 4 - We departed our hotel just outside Gap and before leaving the city limits as they say, located a supermarket for a cheaper fuel stop & a deluxe jet wash of a somewhat dusty SLK... (With all those mountain passes, need them ceramic brake pads, for a start..!!)


Then heading out of Gap on the “D9008” past Lake Durance (Always worth a Photo Stop) Which always looks on a sunny day as though they’ve added a blue “E Number” food colouring to the water..!! And onto the town of “Barcennette”

From here there are 3 choices of Mountain passes to take You South:
> Col d'Allos -- Did this last year, really good views on a sunny day, narrow in places & has a bar at the top!
> Cime de la Bonette -- Highest Pass in the Alps @ 2802m, did this last year late evening to avoid the traffic & gets a Trev’ 5/5 rating. :tu:


But choose the 3rd option this year, of the “Col de la Cayolle” which is narrow at the Northern end, but worth the slow careful drive, for the spectacular ravine scenery, bar half way up for a cold drink (car showing 32’c, so We needed a break!) & green pastures near the top – Least the temperature dropped to 27’c at the summit - 2326m... . (Trev’ 4.5/5 rating)


Once over the top, it was the final run down to the coast, passing under a bridge, that seemed to have been affected by Euro cut backs..!!

Hit the coast near “Nice” before tracking along the “A8” to our hotel in “Mougins” just north of “Cannes.”

Having checked out the hotels in “Cannes” on the Internet, this seem a better option for price/location/parking ect.
Hôtel De Mougins, France - Booking.com?
 

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Premium Member 2018 SLC43
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Discussion Starter #9
Day 5 << Pool Time & Cannes >>

Day5

After 954 miles to get to the South of France, this was a rest our rest day..!!
So hit the pool & had beers, instead of Cokes... :Beer:

Then in the evening, checked out the delights of Cannes, once We found somewhere safe to park a SLK.
Always nice to find a marina underground car park, that has posher cars than Yours...!!

Then had to decide which water front restaurant to dine at – Choose “Plage duFestival” in the end - friendly & spoke a lot better English, than our French :tu:

Glad We had the Sat-Nav to get us back to our Hotel in “Mougins” - Maps don’t work so well at night:
 

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Premium Member 2018 SLC43
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Discussion Starter #10
Day 6 << Cannes - Coastal Drive >>

Day 6

Did the coastal drive between “Cannes” and “St-Raphael” – Well worth it, but My top tip is to drive it West to East,
as all the parking is on the South side of the road: Which is the same side that the French drive on..!! :tu:


The Seaside resort of “Agay” made a good Coke-Cola cold drinks stop – was hot at 32 to 35’c.
(Advertising Disclaimer: Other cold caffeinated drinks are available...!!)

Then carried towards “Sainte-Maxime” and found another Seaside resort for late lunch.
(Check out pic’s of the the cool VW Golf dude, with different coloured sun glasses, forevery week day..!!)

After lunch & a walk in the 35’c sun, gave in and left the roof up to cool down for the start of the drive back... :frown:

Plus, My R171 DRL’s work fairly good in bright sunshine?
 

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Registered Still SLK-less. Maybe one day ...
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Really enjoying my virtual grand tour. Thank you for sharing your pictures and your journey. Your SLK looks stunning.
 

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Premium Member 2018 SLC43
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Discussion Starter #12
Day 7 << Grand Canyon >>

Today We travelled from our Hotel just outside Cannes, to “Greoux-les-Bains” in Provence.
Nice sweeping roads after “Grasse” doing part of the “Napoleon Route” to “Castellane”.

Then explored the “Verdon Grand Canyon”, in more detail on the North side, after a quick drive past last year on Southern side.
http://www.slkworld.com/1659778-post16.html
It might not be the Grand Canyon but still pretty impressive.
Was another 32 to 35’c day, so found a suitable bar for our now daily carbonated caffeine stop, except from the picture, You can see the “chef navigator” has opted for the beer option...!! :|
On exiting the West end of the Canyon, where it meets a lake, resisted the temptation to hire a pedalo (pedal boat) to view the canyon from with-in, though jumping into the water from such a craft was very tempting....
 

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Premium Member 2018 SLC43
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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Day 8 << Provence - SLK Rest Day... >>

Advised by Chef Navigator/Partner Carole that it was a SLK Rest day... :surprise:
So had a pool & explore the French market Town day, from our hotel right near the centre of “Gréoux-les-Bains” in Provence:
Hôtel des Alpes, Gréoux-les-Bains, France - Booking.com
Recommended for location, nice sunny pool, restaurant, friendly staff and good parking for a town centre location.
 

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Premium Member 2018 SLC43
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Discussion Starter #17
Day 9 << Provence Lavender Fields >>

Bonjour,
Carole Chef Navigator here with today’s write up:

Beware.....the gasps from your wives/girlfriends won't be because of the speed & skill of your driving,
but instead as the landscape changes to purple as the bends reveal the colourful fields of lavender.

As you approach the plateau where the most amazing views await you there's anopportunity to park
up by the fruit stall and wander amongst the lavender, taking in the spectacular scenery with the backdrop of the mountains.
The colour and abundance of row after row of this purple crop is spectacular and the hum of the bee's busy at work was so loud....
I was like a kid in as weetshop taking snap after snap and I thought about gathering up a bunch of stolen pick your own - but I didn't of course....
Fortunately there is a perfectly placed little shop where you can 'buy' bunches of lavender along with soaps and oils, but be prepared to linger for a while as your wife/girlfriend parts with your Euros!!

Driving on, I was wowed by the sensual aroma and heavenly scent (especially when a tractor laden with freshly cut harvest passed by leaving a trail of lavender perfumedair behind it).

But beware they harvest it from mid July, so if you want to see it in all its glory don't plan your trip in August or September as your wife/girlfriend won't be impressed as all the fields will be raked bare.
 

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Premium Member 2005 SLK200K
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Provence was the last place we sampled before deciding where to settle down..we rented an idyllic shepherd's hut in the middle of a lavender field... and it was all just as you describe..absolutely wonderful.

Each morning we breakfasted outdoors under the lean-to, and watched as the artists tried to capture the beauty around us..... perhaps we appear in some of the paintings of the region :grin:
 

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Registered Still SLK-less. Maybe one day ...
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Continuing my regular fix sharing your amazing road trip. Thank you for taking the time to share your trip in words and pictures. The lavender looks amazing - shame we can't yet share smells via the internet LOL.
 

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Super Moderator 2010 SLK300 2LOOK
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I'm thoroughly enjoying this thread. Wonderful pictures and narrative...more, more please!0:)
 
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