South via Sud – Day Three

Todays drive was all about the Alps and the Great St Bernard Pass that leads us to Italy. We traveled south with the towering mountains before us, past ugly Swiss industrial areas we wondered why Switzerland was thought of as so idyllic. Only when at the foothills of the Alps, in the small Swiss villages was the beauty of Switzerland apparent.

Any thoughts of the old AlfaSud keeping up with modern autos up the steep twisting roadway over the alps disappeared instantly when we found ourselves glued to the rear bumpers of frightened drivers of big SUVs with brake lights stayed on almost the entire time. Driving a standard shift car is perfect in this region when you are able to choose the suitable gearing but when forced to drive at a speed too slow for 2nd and having to downshift to first (Alfas are not build for this) to climb a switchback is no fun. So we pulled over to admire the scenery and let the timid drivers move on.

Once back on the road driving at proper speed the pass was no problem for the little AlfaSud. Much of the journey seemed to be downhill so only an occasional tap on the breaks was required along with steering.

Arrival in Italy and our stop for the night at Lake Viverone was welcome. Temperatures after the chilly alps had risen quite a bit and a swim in the beautiful hotel pool and walks around the small lake where a welcome change. It’s hard to fathom  how a lush and opulent lake-side hotel with large rooms and air conditioning could only be 73 euros per night – but this is Italy – Switzerland is back over there.

Alfa Centennial – Holland to Milano – Day One

The day started in Kerkrade at a former Abby – Rolduc Convention center/Hotel. A huge facility that included a church complete with a spooky crypt in it’s lower level and an in-house brewed abby ale that was quite fantastic. A great variety cars were gathered for the mornings drive. Also on display were three copies of the newest Alfa Romeo – The Giulietta – on loan from a local Alfa Romeo dealer who delivered them by truck to the parking area behind the Abby. The group of almost 300 cars over-filled the parking lot of the Kempinski Hotel outside of Frankfurt Germany after the scenic 4 hour drive from South Holland. It was quite enjoyable seeing Alfas scattered along the roads – some in groups, some on their own – as they made there way long the twisty roads of Germany.

Padua Trip – Day Five; Alfas, Alfas…. and even more Alfas

Picking up a buddy at the Milan Malpensa airport afforded us the opportunity to visit a little known museum for all things flight. The Parco e Museo del Volo Volandia covers flight wether it be the earliest flights in gliders or space travel. This museum also has some Alfa and Fiat aero engines on display. Housed in several historic buildings this is a great stop if you’ve got a plane to catch or are picking someone up as its almost walking distance from Malpensa.

One of the worlds oldest Alfa Romeo dealers is Fratelli Cozzi http://www.fratellicozzi.it/ just outside of Milan. Not only famous for being a long time dealer – unbeknownst to many, this dealers showroom has an Alfa Romeo museum in it’s basement.  Some very rare and or one-off models are on display here. The museum is by appointment only. Worth booking a visit if you are in the area.

Not that any of the general public is permitted inside at the current time the Alfa Romeo Museum in Arase, but it houses one of the largest number of pre and post war Alfas in the world. Look for the museums grand re-opening during the summer of 2015 coinciding with the Milan Expo.

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Coach builder Zagato is responsible for  some of the most impressive Alfas ever made. Their factory was never intended to produce a high volume of cars but currently they only design and re-body 9 units of each creation they decide to construct. They also are able to re-body your new supercar if you are looking for something more unique. Just be sure your bank account is located in Switzerland.

Some people collect cars, some also include various manufacture publications – A private collector in Northern Italy has taken collecting to an entirely new level. For 45 years this Alfisti has searched for the most interesting and unusual Alfas. Many of the cars in this collection are one-offs or prototypes that the Alfa Romeo museum would love to have. This collection is the life long ambition of a Italian gentleman who prefers to think of the buildings full of rare cars as a club for true Alfisti and membership is very exclusive.

Padua trip – Day four; twisty roads in Switzerland

After a morning walk around the historic section of Barr France we loaded up Dinkys 33 and set our sights for Italy and our final stop for the day; just south of Lake Como.  Before good pizza and a bed we had to pay 40 Swiss Francs to the boarder guard at the entrance to Switzerland for the privilege of driving on the well maintained Swiss highways. After a short time we tired of the main road and followed a predetermined route over the Alps via one two of scenic passes; Grimsel and the Simplon. Both offered plenty of amazing views, sharp hair-pin turns and beautiful lakes.

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