From the boy’s own dream holiday rig to the Paris parking squatters, the Pole of Cold crew at fifty below, Yanukovych’s gas station, the great Italian peage race, Gendarmes massing in Normandy, the floating Georgian tipper, James Bond’s stellar role in the Scottish referendum, an emotionally charged Rally of Cyprus – and Casey the Moscow parking mutt – we round up the best Driving in Europe, or not, photos of 2014.
Grainy picture totally forgiven for a snap of the best possible rig imaginable, by Mr Malibu (@MalibuInfo) spotted ‘heading south’ in July. We said at the time it was hard to see this photo being beaten and – on this instance alone in 2014 – we were right. That’s a Porsche Boxster Spyder BTW, a lightweight special instant classic with a flimsy removable roof capable of dealing only with light summer showers. Made for mountain roads. Wow.
Park(ing) Day. A now annual event in France, held in sunny September, when activists transform dully singular and practical parking places into shared, social spaces for everybody to enjoy. Honestly, it’s a government-mandated complete free-for-all. If you happen to be passing just help yourself to a piece of cake, they won’t mind! Photo @Paris
After 20,000km and nearly two months on the road the @PoleofCold2013 team – leader Felicity Aston, photographer Manu Palomeque and engineer Gisli Jonsson – finally arrived in Oymyakon, eastern Russia, the world’s coldest inhabited place, in late January. ‘The Pole of Cold’ has seen temperatures as low as -67.7⁰C but only dipped as far as -58⁰C on this occasion. Seen here heading back into Yakutsk, about 600 miles west of Oymyakon (Siberian mountain roads don’t close for the winter).
Among nude presidential portraits, solid gold loaves of bread and snakeskin sofas in the sauna, arguably the most indulgent feature of the ousted Ukraine leader’s former residence, overlooking the Dnieper north of Kiev, was this rather cool personal filling station. Mind you, considering Victor Yanukovych did also have a vast collection of classic Soviet cars – and a fleet of blacked out German limos and SUVs – maybe it was actually a necessity.
Perhaps the crane accidentally dropped the Nissan Qashqai on this poor, unwitting Opel Astra? Or, more likely – let’s face it – rival drivers raced too hard for that vacant toll booth in Italy in June and came a cropper in the most embarrassing way. Let that be a lesson to all of us. Photo @Marcello_Gatto
The Gendarmerie in a ‘discrète arrivée’ for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in June.
Catastrophic landslides completely cut off the Dariali Gorge in the Caucasus Mountains twice within three months. The second time, in August, saw this tipper truck float clean away. Under the circumstances it was perhaps fortunate that just three people lost their lives. The road – route of the former ‘Georgian Military Road’ – was restored both times within a few weeks. Photo @MFAgovje
By amazing coincidence, the Scottish referendum vote was held on the fiftieth anniversary of the general release of James Bond film Goldfinger, 18 September (Sean Connery seen here on the Furka Pass, Switzerland). Pro-Union politicians flailed around for inspirational examples of Scottish and English intermingling but there he was – as ever – right in the thick of it.
A lack of co-ordination between the organisers, police and the city council saw gridlock when Nicosia’s roads were closed to host a round of the European Rally Championship in September. The event was still judged an enormous success however purely because it was the first to be shared between the two sides in the conflict-torn city. One stage actually ran through the UN-secured buffer zone. Photo @UKinCyprus
Casey the rescue parking dog faithfully patrols her patch around the Garden Ring in Moscow. Launched in October, the idea is that city residents – stubbornly resistant to the new paid parking culture – will be more amenable when confronted with a cute dog. She cannot take payment – or food – but can point punters in the direction of the ticket machines and, particularly, remove – and bin – the objects Muscovite use to obscure their number plates and evade the parking cameras. Photo @Varlamov