TODAY: Trip planning in the Alps, trying to include all the major mountain passes in one straightforward route… Aston Martin stars at the Nurburgring 24 Hours. First details of the new, improved French Ecotaxe system emerge.
GIBRALTAR FRONTIER WATCH: no queues all day then up to 45min in the mid-evening.
TRIP PLANNING: A TALL ORDER
150 mountain passes in 10 days.
Over 150 named, major passes in an arc of mountains around 750 miles long and up to 120 miles wide isn’t going to be easy cover in ten days.
Discerning the most efficient route through that lot is far beyond us. Instead we’ve selected four bases around which the most important roads are clustered.
They are Briancon, Andermatt, Bormio and Tamsweg, we think.
True to form this trip isn’t as well planned as it might be (beyond plotting all 153 roads on our PassFinder). The added complications are that we are both terrified of heights and have an equally strong aversion to crowded roads.
Having said that, we have driven a few mountain roads in our time, mainly in Switzerland and Italy, as well as free driving around the Pyrenees and the Croatian Dinaric Alps so we’re not completely averse.
The key is to start off gently hence we’re heading for the hills and squiggly roads of northern Luxembourg first. Hopefully after a day or two on relatively tame switchbacks we’ll be thirsting for more.
FRANCE. Ahead of an announcement this week, the first details of the revamped Ecotaxe truck toll system have been leaked to a French newspaper. The tolls were postponed after widespread protests. It’s now called ‘transit truck toll’, a GPS-based system applying to 4,000km of national roads (compared to 15,000km previously) and all vehicles 3.5t+. It starts on 1 January 2015 at a rate, we’ve heard subsequently, of 0.13c per km.