After picking up Gladys we only had a short time for pleasantries with her before packing up all our gear and heading out of Morzine on our first big trip away from “home”. Val di Sole was our destination a solid 600km away and as Gladys wasn’t the fastest girl on the road we envisioned this trip taking quite some time, however what we didn’t know was that the crafty old girl had a wee surprise sitting under the bonnet for us in the form of a Turbocharger. All of a sudden, slow Gladys was now not-so-slow Gladys and she ate up the miles with ease, after filling her stomach with 70 litres of boost juice we were on fire and looking to set a world record 600km time trial for the commercial vehicle category.
Despite Gladys’s penchant for speed we still managed to spend a bit of time taking in the amazing scenery including Mont-Blanc and the infamous tunnel that crosses it’s caverns (pretty boring to be honest, 70km speed limit). Almost all of the vistas we passed were incredibly beautiful and most of them make New Zealand look like a pancake. Once clear of the alps the roads straightened up about as quickly as the speed limit which was now sitting at a number that would have any speed camera in NZ licking it’s lips in excitement. That said, hooning along at 130km mile after mile made Gladys a little bit excited and she started drinking quite a lot so to keep her in check 105-115km was the chosen speed and off into the sunset we cruised. While we may have been pottering along, there were some people who certainly weren’t and to see multiple Porches and Audi’s cruising past at 160-180+km is a pretty cool experience.
A lightning storm welcomed us into the Italian alps, not a bad light show but nothing that Gladys couldn’t handle as we ploughed on into Trento after about 8 hours on the road with 2 F1 style pit stops that any team would have been proud of. A bit of street cruising later we found a quiet street in the middle of town and parked up for our first night’s sleep in Gladys’s arms. After my airbed deflated faster than a silicone implant and I spent the rest of the night trying (and failing) to make bed slat’s feel less like a cattle stop than what my back was telling me, we awoke to an old school town that looked like it hid our breakfast somewhere within its many winding alleyways and side streets.
A quick stop at the tourist information and a local bakery revealed two things, 1.) Italian Pizza bread is many steps above NZ Pizza bread and is classed as fine dining after eating Pate sandwiches and Bananas for 550km. 2.) Castles seem to be pretty much the only tourist attraction in the entire continent. Not to worry though because we had some time to kill so we went and had a look at one of the local monuments built to honour a local hero who was killed in the second world war, pretty impressive but I was more stoked on catching a lizard on the walk up (Cue Steve Irwin joke).
After running a 10 second quarter mile out of Trento it was only a short 50km jaunt up to our current location in Val di Sole, we arrived and wandered over to the bottom of the track and met up with a couple of the other kiwi’s who are racing over here on the big factory teams, pretty impressive setup’s to say the least, I will try and get a couple of photos tomorrow after walking the track to show you just how much money goes into a sport like this. Caio!