There are times when car journeys are memorable for their novelty value. Take our recent trip for example, which saw us drive through four different countries in a little under six hours (it was possibly five, but I am not sure if we went through Liechtenstein!)
There are times when car journeys are memorable thanks to the amazing scenery – majestic and Alpine in this instance, (only this was to contain a lot more Alpine than expected…)! It started off fairly relaxed as we made our way down through Bavaria, and crossed the border into Austria. From there we made our way through Switzerland (a first time for all of us, we will be back!), before arriving in Italy where our final destination was Lake Como.
In Switzerland all of us began looking forward to the relatively easy mountain pass ahead, the Small People happy and quiet in the back with hours of Harry Potter CD’s to listen to. At this point, the journey became all the more memorable for us, thanks to the stupid GPS deciding to take us on a different route, meaning that instead of the gentle and leisurely Saint Bernardino Mountain Pass, we ended up on something I later discovered is featured on various websites listing the most Dangerous Roads in the World – The Splugen Pass… Forget appreciating Alpine scenery when the road ahead looks like this:
It might have been this journey that brought me to the conclusion that the more religious countries have the craziest drivers, because they don’t perhaps worry so much about dying prematurely – particularly one Italian driver, inches away from the back of our car screaming and gesticulating wildly at us to hurry up. A little impossible on certain sections of the Splugen Pass where even a Formula One Driver with no oncoming traffic would struggle to manage the suggested 80mph, and we weren’t driving all that slowly either! Anyway, Mr Impatient behind soon discovered that when necessary I do a pretty good line in gesticulating wildly and screaming back, and decided to give us a little more room for manoeuvre, which was very generous of him!
Meanwhile, my happy Harry Potter listening children were now turning various shades of green in the back thanks to the hair pin bends. Soon enough the inevitable happened. I congratulated myself on passing The Seven Year Old an empty paper coffee cup just in time, only to then have to balance it like a ship’s compass for what seemed like forever (as a further warning, it’s not easy to either stop or turn back on this route!). Soon enough The Five Year old began to feel unwell too, but this time I wasn’t so fast, and there weren’t any more containers. Some ten minutes later, his talented father managed to find a probably highly illegal (but safe) spot to park, whereupon all occupants were turfed out of the car and into an adjoining feild so we could deal with the obvious. I did appreciate the (mostly) sympathetic stares of the much older camper van drivers as they passed our sorry sight, with looks ranging from “been there done that”, “poor children, poor parents”, to “stupid mother why didn’t she give them travel sickness tablets, you’ll never get rid of that smell you know” and the most obvious “why on earth did they come this way?”. I may have wished a puking grandchild or two upon a couple of them.
Swiftly remembering the actions of or own parents once upon a time, we tipped bottles of water over the Small People and the inside of the car, stripped car seats, and raided suitcases for new clothes, and then continued along the road from Hell with windows open wide. On the other side of the Pass we found a super-market where we bought air-freshener, washing powder, and most importantly travel sickness tablets! All of which will remain in the car for future journeys. As will a decent selection of Maps. Real ones.
I am not sure it gets awarded the position of Worst Car Journey of My Life, that still goes to a taxi ride in Vietnam a few years ago, but believe me this car journey is up there with those we won’t forget in a hurry!
To be continued.
Jen aka The Mad House says
Oh that so reminds me of a trip me and the man did in South Africa down something called the swartzburgh pass in a little Nissan. I really feared that we would fall off the edge and no one would know ehere we were a dn that we were dead. It was the first time I was truley afriad!
We look back on it nad laugh a nd I hoppe you will be able to aswell
Thanks Jen. I have heard about that pass… :O Glad you made it through safely! Yes, I am sure we will. In fact we already are! :D
Oh dear, that sounds rather traumatic. Having a son who is prone to projectile vomiting with little or no warning when subjected to too many bends I can fully empathize with you. We don’t have a gps and I must say I’m a little wary of them as the only people (2 lots) who have ever gotten lost on the way to our house are those who followed their gps and not our directions!
I think my current GPS is possessed. It is being punished by being locked in the glove compartment. I am not talking to it! :D
Oh this is the sort of travel blog post I usually have to write haha! GPS cock-ups and driving nightmares. This would freak me out as I am hopeless at gauging the width of my car. I’d be over the side, for sure!
Honestly, we can laugh about it now, but that GPS nearly flew out of the window!! :D
Madge @ The View From Right Here says
Wow, what a trip! That ‘snakey’ road is amazing, I’ll bet it was fun to see and drive. The little guy playing peek-a-boo with the pretzel is sweet… thank you for coming over to visit, you are always welcome and… Thank you for sharing on Weekly Top Shot #45!
Thanks so much for commenting! Some of the photographs on your site are fantastic :)
Oh no! The trip sounds both amazing and nightmarish! It reminds me of a Funtrek trip I did back in the ’80’s….but we didn’t do the 4/5 counties in one day! And being a fellow travel-sick-passanger with a 12 yo son going the same way I feel your pain ;-)
Thanks Jazzy! So glad to hear it’s not just me this kind of thing happens to! :) xx
memorable but awful!
I think that road was on Top Gear. It didn’t seem to have the same effect on Jeremy Clarkson (shame).
Yep, awful and memorable! Shame indeed! I might actually have watched that episode of Top Gear, or possibly not!! :D
Oh, it sounds nightmarish – but this is the stuff of which parental memories are made! MrL and I still get a laugh out of a certain horror trip we took through the mountain passes and ‘hollers’ of West VA en route to the E Coast (it looked shorter on the map, we swear) when the boys were quite small. One was sick to his stomach and the other (still in diapers) was ill from the other end. He was strapped into a carseat and filthy all the way up his back (up and out of the collar of his little onesie, right into his hair…) We finally ended up in a parking lot of a truck stop and had to pretty much take everything (including the carseats) out of the car and hose them (as well as the kids) down before going on. As it turned out, most of the long-haul truckers were fathers and grandfathers themselves and we got a good deal of sympathy along with the knowing smiles. At the time, it was awful, but 14 years later we get a good laugh out of imagining our much-younger selves hurtling down hairpin curves in a reeking car with two shrieking, exploding children….
Oh my goodness that sounds even worse than our experience! I am beginning to think it may be a right of passage as a parent though, and definitely the stuff of which parental memories are made! :)
Emma @mummymummymum says
That looks like a very scary road! My 3 year old gets very car sick…..its most unpleasant, I feel for you. xx
It was interesting to say the least! Thanks Emma :) xx
Erica Price says
That’s sounds like the sort of road only a maniac would knowingly take on. It sounds horrid.
Yes, exactly! Or perhaps someone in a car without children! :D Thanks Erica!
Wow you did not tell me it was that bad – good job I was not driving I would still be up there! x
As car journeys go, it was quite bad yes… :D
oh poor yous. Sounds rotten. Me and OH would have had a major barney thrpughout the stress too, hope you both stayed calm. I’ll give you a top tip for car sickness too: 2 supermarket carrier bags, one inside the other with 2 pieces of quality kitchen roll inside. folded carefully and pushed under your passenger seat. You grab a folded one and open it up, as you thrust it at child. Sick hits the kitchen roll, so no splash back and immediately starts to soak it up, when full enough (!) pass new one to child, tie off first carrier bag handle and then the piece-de-la-resistance, tie the second outside bag handles. Sick is generally soaked up by kitchen roll and smell has to penetrate two bags – tadaaaaa. I’ve always got a few ready to go, folded flat under the seats, they are even better than the ‘borrowed’ sick bags from ferry!
That is a fantastic tip… I am going to pre-prepare some for the next long journey, although I am not planning on going that way again! :D PS. We were surprisingly calm, not a cross word was said against the other but that could possibly because one of us was so busy concentrating on the road, and the other on catching sick!