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Phill

2020 Alpine Road Trip

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It's now possible to buy the 10 day Austrian autobahn permit online though it must be done 17 calendar days in advance of its 10 day validity period. See https://shop.asfinag.at/en/ Saves 15 cars rocking up at the first petrol station and clagging up the forecourt. Sadly the Swiss won't have an electronic version for another 2 years or so.   

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That's a good point and I will be doing that for Austria.  You can buy the Swiss vignette online from Switzerland Travel Centre, but IIRC, they add a lot of post to the cost so its a disincentive.

You can also pay some of the tolls in advance as well (like Grossglockner, I think).  And of course (as you know) having the French toll dongle also makes a great deal of sense if you plan to go thru France at all.  Making a list of those things that can be done in advance should probably go on the to do list.

Repeating what I have posted on the "do not reply" thread, all those on the trip should have got an email from me on Saturday with updated materials for the trip (I have already found mistakes in it, but it's getting closer to finalised).

For anyone still looking to join, please get in touch.  Two of the hotels are now full, but there are back up hotels in very close proximity.  We are (IIRC) now at 14 cars, making this one of the bigger IB events ever.  If you have always wanted to do a big euro car trip, then this is a pretty easy way to do it - hotels arranged, route laid out, etc.  All you really have to do is arrive in a healthy car and keep filling it with petrol.  

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A cautionary tale on the Swiss vignette:

On purchase if you look on the reverse side of the vignette it shows where it may be placed on your 'screen (assumes LHD). Take note. 

On my last drive through CH my RHD vehicle I had a collection of current vignettes applied to my 'screen "not" in the location prescribed by the Swiss authorities. You wouldn't think it would matter would you? Well, to the Swiss it matters beyond belief. As I handed my passport over at the border the "non-compliant" location of my vignette was reason for an extended conversation with the border authority who stated that the vignette should be located on the other side of the 'screen. Ok, not a problem I said, I'll move it and as I peeled the vignette off all hell broke loose with shouting and a stern invitation for a longer chat inside the nearby offices.

In the following two hours I was formally interviewed and subsequently fined five hundred euros for my "crime" of not having placed the vignette in the correct location and "defacing an official mark" (the vignette is designed to delaminate if you try to remove it). I was also made to purchase a replacement vignette before allowing to continue on my journey. Nice.

Some eighteen months or so later, and our daughter's primary school were looking for temporary volunteer help - something I was happy to do. Helpers were all required to have DBS checks etc. and the school organised these. When mine arrived in the post, I was astounded to read that the Swiss authorities had applied an entry against me entitled "Fradulent defacing of an official mark". I subsequently successfully defended this in appeal with the UK authorities, and had it removed from my record. 

I've driven plenty in most european countries and been stopped lots of times (common place outside of the UK). It's the only experience of it's kind I've ever had, and I still don't really understand why they got so bent out of shape over it. 

 

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Wow! What a bunch of t*ssers. Nothing better to do than mess with a porsche driving brit 

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My $0.02 - I think it has nothing to do with messing with a "porsche driving brit".  If you spend any time in Switzerland, that is just the way they are with rules.  They apply them to everyone.  The outcome seems absurd, but its hardly unique for bureaucracy to result in absurd outcomes and I am not convinced the Swiss have a monopoly on absurd.

BTW, where are you supposed to put the vignette?  I have put them on the top LH corner each time I have needed them (probably bought 6 of them in the past) and never had any problem.

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On the off chance that you did the "let's stick the vignette to my jumper/trousers a few times" so that you can easily remove it upon leaving and possibly apply it to another car or resell it they really really do frown upon that. I entered Switzerland with a group of Caterhams perhaps 20 years ago and one of our group did just that in the car park of the customs/immigration building and had the misfortune to be spotted by an customs official who happened to be walking past. She got done on the spot; I think the vignette cost 30 SFr and the fine 250 SFr.

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We ship our products to the Swiss sometimes and they really are sticklers beyond any other country we ship to. It seems a national obsession from my limited experience. More so than any other country. Probably because they bore themselves silly and need to vent somewhere. 

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😂

The Swiss approach is simple. The make rules. They publish the rules. They enforce the rules. What's so hard to understand? 😉

That said a more pragmatic attitude towards mean in green's situation would hardly have been a hardship on their part.

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I think its remarkable that you can still have quite so much driving fun in Switzerland.  You do tend to play a little more by the rules though.

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Would be best for me to PM you info, so you have the latest (like 2 hotels are full now).  Can you send me your PM and I will get you something tonight?  I can also help on connecting to the main hotels given I am on first name terms with most of them.

 

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So.... after my usual procrastination, just booked my accommodation for this. I think 1 hotel is one Richard's suggested list lol. All now fully booked bar 1.

Here is where I'm staying for any other stragglers;

 Heidi-Guesthouse-Amden Sternen is expecting you on 20 June

Waiting on the Timea to confirm my reservation on 21st June at MyTirol

Explorer Hotel Berchtesgaden is expecting you on 22 June

Garni Cristallo is expecting you on 23 June

Hotel Rosatsch is expecting you on 24 June

Hotel Alpenblick is expecting you on 25 June

All hopefully within drinking distance of the main hotel. On the plus side, I'm not topping and tailing with anyone! lol 

Edited by Busybee

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Was going to say, anyone started making plans for the trip down? Might pootle down to France. Or a drive to Stuttgart to the porker museum (went this year and its fab). Nice hotel not too far away and guessing its a good jump spot for Day 1 of the trip? 

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11 hours ago, Busybee said:

Was going to say, anyone started making plans for the trip down? Might pootle down to France. Or a drive to Stuttgart to the porker museum (went this year and its fab). Nice hotel not too far away and guessing its a good jump spot for Day 1 of the trip? 

Plan to make it to Baden Baden for Friday evening for a Black Forest road boat to the start proper on Saturday. Think RB is doing the same. 

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12 minutes ago, Wingnonut said:

Plan to make it to Baden Baden for Friday evening for a Black Forest road boat to the start proper on Saturday. Think RB is doing the same. 

Sounds good Rich. Might try to get to Stuttgart for Thursday night and stay near the museum. Visit Friday morning then drive to Baden Baden. We did the 500 from Baden Baden to Stuttgart this year. Great road and I’d love to do it again. 

Isn’t the ring not too far out of the way from Baden Baden to the start? 

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Ahh sorry, wrong direction. We came in via Belgium and ring visit first 🙈

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Good work Haith.  And good to post info for other late comers.  I am not surprised some of the hotels are full, but is there really no room at the Bergheimat in Muhlbach?  It's a decent size hotel with 50+ rooms and is a little isolated away from the village and other hotels.  Its up on one side of the valley so I think anywhere else is a little hike.  If the weather is good, it has an absolutely prime balcony for afternoon beers.  Still, a sobering evening stroll is not all bad.

You do have a little walk to some of the other hotels, but nothing looks insurmountable having a quick look on Google maps.

Re the Friday/Saturday/Day 0 bit.  Yes, I am going to come down through the Black Forest.  Most likely I will get to Metz on Friday night and then early start on Saturday across to Baden Baden and then down the 500.  I think the route Felix and I did around the sides of the 500 (to the West) was probably a mistake and I would stick to the 500 in June.  Its not perfect as there are plenty of speed limits I don't recall that seem inappropriately slow and also lots of traffic.  I have this nagging feeling that there are better roads just off the 500, but don't know quite where they are.  The first time I went South to North on the 500, I detoured to the town of Bernau and found a few great empty roads nearby that were as good/wide/smooth as the 500.  Happy to take suggestions.  IIRC, Gordon may know the area better.  Ultimately, though, it may be a case of just enjoy the 500 and accept it may be busy.  There will be good bits.

On the main route, I continue to tweek it based on youtube vids I am finding of different passes.  If they are close to our route, then I think why not.  On Day 1, we can add the Hulftegg Pass into the morning as its only a small route change and the day is a short driving day anyway.  It just makes the lunch stop a 1pm lunch vs a 12:30pm lunch.  Then on Day 5, I am pondering whether to reroute to the Maloja and Splugen passes vs going North and West on the Albula to Davos.   I need to plot that one on a map and see how it looks.  Otherwise, its fairly locked in.

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1 hour ago, Richard Bernau said:

Good work Haith.  And good to post info for other late comers.  I am not surprised some of the hotels are full, but is there really no room at the Bergheimat in Muhlbach?  It's a decent size hotel with 50+ rooms and is a little isolated away from the village and other hotels.  Its up on one side of the valley so I think anywhere else is a little hike.  If the weather is good, it has an absolutely prime balcony for afternoon beers.  Still, a sobering evening stroll is not all bad.

You do have a little walk to some of the other hotels, but nothing looks insurmountable having a quick look on Google maps.

Hi Rich. I've spent a little while on the phone this morning and managed to get reservations at pretty much all the hotels. Updated list;

Day 0 - June 20 - Hotel Sonne

Day 1 - June 21 - My Tirol

Day 2 - June 22 - Hotel Bergheimat

Day 3 - June 23 - Called Barbara, Had a good chat. She said she has rooms available but reserved for week long stays. Advice is to call back a couple of weeks before and these may well be released. Tried the charm offensive but it didn't wash lol Have a reservation nearby so no big deal and I'll try her closer to the date. 

Day 4 - June 24 - Spoke to Larta at Hotel Garni Chesa Mulin. They are full. Have emailed the sister hotel just 100m up the road, Hotel Bernina. They have rooms apparently. Backup booking is made just in case they can't fit me in.

Day 5 - June 25th Hotel Am See - Managed to get a room in the Annex at your rate. They started off quoting £250 a night! 

Day 6 - Have you all booked at Hotel Relais Du Ried? 

2 hours ago, Richard Bernau said:

Re the Friday/Saturday/Day 0 bit.  Yes, I am going to come down through the Black Forest.  Most likely I will get to Metz on Friday night and then early start on Saturday across to Baden Baden and then down the 500.  I think the route Felix and I did around the sides of the 500 (to the West) was probably a mistake and I would stick to the 500 in June.  Its not perfect as there are plenty of speed limits I don't recall that seem inappropriately slow and also lots of traffic.  I have this nagging feeling that there are better roads just off the 500, but don't know quite where they are.  The first time I went South to North on the 500, I detoured to the town of Bernau and found a few great empty roads nearby that were as good/wide/smooth as the 500.  Happy to take suggestions.  IIRC, Gordon may know the area better.  Ultimately, though, it may be a case of just enjoy the 500 and accept it may be busy.  There will be good bits.

Are you guys all travelling down independently or is a group meeting this side of the water and going down? Be fun to all meet up and drive down together. Extra driving! 

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I am also had to book  Hotel Bernina  on the 24th,  looks ok and not far at all  .  Also wondering if I need to book Relais Reid ?      

 

I may well end up travelling a day early so could be tempted to a museum visit if time permits ;)

Edited by Henry

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I will sort Relais du Ried.  I need to get numbers of people who want a room, but 18 rooms are reserved/held until 3 Jan without any payment required.  Deposit required is 30% at D-45 at which point it become non-cancellable.  So, all good.  The rate is much better than Booking.com hence worth doing one big reservation in this instance.  The rate is -

- 59 euros per person in double / twin room half board

- + 25 euros supplement for a single room with half board

- city tax: + 1 € per person and per day

For day 0 (or indeed day -1) run to get to Switzerland on the 20th, its very much up to you guys as to what you want to do.  If people want to meet in Baden Baden or wherever, then go for it.  I know what will work for me and my schedule.  I don't expect anyone else to work to my timetable as there is a high risk I leave later than I hope and consequently have a late night Friday and an early start Saturday.  Basically, I am happy to fly solo and meet evening of the 20th.

It seems like some have the time to get to somewhere like Baden Baden on the Friday or even earlier and then do the Museum/Factory in Stuttgart and a run down to Switzerland.  That is all well worth doing, but I will politely decline.  I will see everyone at Hotel Sonne, where there is a big, sunny terrace and a fab view down the valley and over the Lake and good beer on tap 🍺

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12 hours ago, Henry said:

I am also had to book  Hotel Bernina  on the 24th,  looks ok and not far at all  .  Also wondering if I need to book Relais Reid ?      I may well end up travelling a day early so could be tempted to a museum visit if time permits ;)

Great Henry. Bernina posse 👍😂 I’d be up for another visit to the Porsche museum. Great way to spend 2 or 3 hours. Nice hotel nearby with underground car parking that wasn’t expensive. And then the drive from there through the black forest is stunning (if probably busy with traffic at that time of year).

I need to think of the practicalities from home. Have a 4.5 hour drive to Dover from here and a 13 hour drive straight to Stuttgart is a bit extreme in one hit. Might stay in france for the night en route. Or Bruges. 

Can you put me down for Relais Du Ried please @Richard Bernau? I’d nearly booked it myself and have been speaking to Christophe there. Can you put me down for a single room please? Many thanks. Let me know if you need payment for this in advance please Rich or happy to pay at the hotel. 

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Re Stuttgart, etc, what are people doing about German emissions rules?  Bit of background: a little group of us visited the Porsche Museum in June last year, travelling in Caterham Sevens.  Our cars being more recent, we were able to get emissions stickers for our windscreens, allowing us to drive in the Stuttgart area.  But with our IB's being of an age before the relevant Euro emissions regs, I haven't found a solution (there's an 'exemption' for cars over 30 years old, but you need to register it with the German authorities, I think, which explains the 'H' plates you see on some older German Porsches, and there are conditions on use/journeys, etc).  Is there another solution?  Or just leave the car outside the emissions zone and take public transport?

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I never bothered: just drove into Stuttgart and back out again...

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