GTROC European Tour – Day 5

by iansmith
6 years ago

Destination Gorge Verdon

After breakfast, we all looked round the Basilica and even I was blown away by the architecture and after taking appropriate snaps:

we left for the Gorge Verdon.

As seemed to becoming a habit, confusion reigned over the car park exit and 10 mins later we all did u-turns and exited the car park from where we had entered and off onto motorways and A-roads…but only for a short while…

I had considered the wine tasting to be the highlight of the tour, so far – it was great fun and very relaxing.  However, that would change – weather was lovely and sunny and after a fuel stop we set out on what I then decided to be the highlight of the tour so far – totally awesome driving roads – lots of twisties and hairpins with steep inclines.  Some lovely countryside, but I could hardly take it in as I needed to concentrate as we weaved round and round the bends, then every so often, for a few miles, easy going flat A-roads – perfect for a GTR.

There were a couple of close shaves, for some, with oncoming traffic thankfully avoided by help from tour participants (you really MUST be sure there is no on coming traffic before trying to overtake other GTRs).

However, highlight of the tour turned to worst part!!  The bad luck of “the northern contingent” came back with a vengeance.  Maybe it was because when questioned about the need for my track tyres, I vehemently defended it as a safety option to allow wheel changes in the event of a problem – none of these fancy run flats like the R35 boys… but 10 miles form the Gorge, while leading the pack I did not see a rock (well, there may have been 5 or 6 and I just missed one) – as I swerved to avoid them, one of them must have popped up and smashed the inside of my drivers side rear wheel, buckling the rim and ripping the tyre…arghh!!  Luckily we were on a straight between two bends when it happened…..phewwwww!!!!

Everyone stopped to check if we were OK, but with roads being narrow, Sue and I decided to send everyone on to the Gorge and we got our yellow jackets and red triangles out (and the full pit toolkit) and changed the wheels for one of my semi slick R34 originals – not prefect on a 4wd car, but good enough for the journey.

We caught everyone up at the Gorge, took snaps, stopped for lunch and then proceeded to our next destination – Monte Carlo!

Monte Carlo OR and bust

The journey to Monte Carlo was long and as a couple of the party had some medical issues/the need for a rest, 3 cars made their own way direct to hotel, while the rest of us travelled the pre-planned route.  Beautiful scenery and long winding roads that skimmed the French coastline and mountainsides, passing Nice & Cannes, refuelling regularly we finally arrived in Monte Carlo, at 6pm, tired.

The Hotel Metropole was outstanding.  You sometimes feel a little overwhelmed with all the (clearly) rich people staying there…or may be people do not want to show their shock at the prices, but room quality and fixtures are very opulent.

When we got out of our cars and had our luggage collected and taken to the rooms, the valet’s offered to park out cars – a couple of the valet’s were a bit confused as to why they weren’t allowed to park my R34 (they would scrape the splitter and rear diffuser due to fierce inclines in the hotel’s garage) and Shaun’s R34; due to it’s HKS sequential gear box – “very easy to brake” explained Shaun to the valet who couldn’t understand why Shaun would not release his keys to him for in case they had to move the car.

A visit to the bar and a quick browse of the hotel menu, gave me the idea for the title of this leg! Bust is the right word – €19 for a gin & tonic and €33 for just a burger (no chips).  However, thanks to Fuggs & Geetak, we did dine at a nice Italian “Il Terrazzino” with wine provided for a “Monte Carlo reasonable” €50 a head!  Unfortunately John, Helen and Geetak could not make dinner – but we all enjoyed great food, free flowing wine and good conversation, then off to bed.

No, of course not – you can’t come to Monte Carlo and not visit the casino can you?

Free entry with the Hotel Metropole passes and on the way some lovely classic cars (several > £4m each!).

After losing the cost of my shirt (there was one winner in our group…but I won’t name them to stop the begging letters for money – especially as the croupiers winked for their tips!”) it was finally time for bed…tomorrow would be the F1 circuit, so up early to avoid rush hour.