That Was Italy….

OK, we did go to Italy….and then promptly jumped onto the road out!  That in itself is a bit of a shame, cos I really like the country and want to see more of it. It’s really a case of what is there not to like, the food is great, the coffee magic, the wine is very good and the women…well best stop there, but you get my drift? I had intended to visit the Hadrian Arch in Suza, but the weather was so nice I decided to conclude some unfinished business on a French mountain pass, but more of that later. The run from Briancon over Col Montgenevre was a lovely way to get going, hard climbing but sweeping bends and great views. imageIt’s really funny how when you cross a border in Europe that things change so quickly, after all it’s really just a line on a map. Entering Italy was no different once we passed the redundant Customs Post. Everything just got suddenly crazy, but in a nice sort of way! There is no doubt that the Italians are bonkers drivers, I’m not sure that I’d call them dangerous, just eager to get there quickly! The only things that they seem to slow for are to ogle a beautiful car/motorbike or beautiful person! Traffic lights are always to be interpreted like the start of a Grand Prix at Monza, speed limits are negotiable and road markings purely for decoration. That said, it also appears that any demonstration of on road consideration/chivalry will probably get you invited back to dinner and certainly makes you a friend for life! They really are great people, I love ’em. The SS24 road to Suza was pretty busy and actually had me wishing I’d hopped on the Autostrada, but I hadn’t so had to put up,with it. I find that seeing road signs saying “Torino” always gets my pulse going as well, it’s like Europe’s own answer to the USA’s motor city, without Motown records! Today though, the big T was not on the agenda. Suza was crazy busy, so I put off the Roman Arch for another day and took the SS25 north back towards France and Col Du Mont Cenis. What a race track this road is! imageImagine a cross between a hill climb track, the Italian Moto GP and the old Mille Miglia and you are probably pretty near to the reality. Some of the machines were definitely not burning ordinary petrol either, judging by how fast that we’re going and the strange smell left behind! I saw a couple of lovely café racers being ridden like they were stolen and just for once not many GS1200’s. There were loads of Triumphs, classic Bonnevilles none of your modern stuff either. The sun was out, so Ducatti’s were also to be seen and most amazing of all…Vespa scooters being ridden as hard as you like by sharp dressed Italian Mods! Fantastic! I just loved that twenty miles of total chaos, noise, excitement, exhaust fumes, heat, dust and above all mutual respect. Thank you Italy and Chao until next time.

“Sit tight, take hold, Thunder Road.”   Dookesimage

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