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madalaa
Fuji


Joined: 13 Mar 2008
Posts: 9451
Location: West London

2009 Porsche Boxster 987

PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fabulous ........ just fabulous ...... I am loving this ....... Smile
 
  
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markturner1960
Monza


Joined: 26 Nov 2016
Posts: 215
Location: London UK

2003 Porsche 996 GT3 Mk2

PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apologies for the absence from finishing the next installment, it takes a fair bit of time sorting and editing videos, pictures and writing it all up, its been pretty busy work wise and another holiday squeezed in as well, a Bookatrack iberian adventure, 3 trackdays in a week in Spain & Portugal. ....

Day 5 the plan was to head into France via the Bielsa tunnel just a few miles up the road from the Parador, then down into the foothills and then into the passes and cols of the french side as we worked our way back easterly across the Pic du midi then south back into Spain towards the next nights stop at Sos Del Rey Catolico. The roads we followed were:

Leaving the valley of the Parador, onto the A138 North into France.

From the border the D173 south to Arreau - another lovely mountain road, pretty well surfaced, medium speed winding through some lovely countryside and small towns and villages as it got lower and we reached the lower valleys and plains.

From Arreau the D918, which snakes back into the mountains part of the tour de France route, not far from Arreua you hit the first of the famous cols, the Col D'Aspin.



This was about 12 km of switchbacks and hairpins with some wider corners, pretty narrow in places, that winds up over the first pass and then back down, with the obligatory amazing views everywhere as the sun beat down from a clear blue sky....It then doubled back up into the mountains for the Col De Tourmalet. These are ski towns in the winter with lifts and chalets but in the summer, its cyclists and fellow driving enthusiast who fill the roads. 2 weeks before the tour de France, the roads were busy with cyclists pounding up the mountain, many of them over our age and going like the clappers, amazing.....unlike in England we did not seem to get held up unduly and the car was in its element snarling up and down the gearbox and attacking the corners gleefully. It was pretty hard work, so we stopped to admire the view and have a coffee in Tourmalet.




I had come this way on the motorbikes around 14 years previously and it was just as good then.

From Tourmalet, more of the D918 and another col as we headed up again to the Col D'Aubisque... yet more staggering views, however, here, we hit some low cloud right up high and the road became quite scary at times, with some sheer drops and lots of places with no barriers to the valley floor several hundred feet below. If you got it wrong here, it would be messy for sure......



So I knocked it back a few notches and took it a little easier. We headed down towards laruns then picked up the D934 south back towards Spain. This was a really lovely bit of fast road sweeping up the mountain, through avalanche shelters with colunnaded sides, the exhaust booming off the walls the out into the sunshine again as we raced upwards.

This turns into the A-136 at the border and runs due south to pick up the N 260 in the foothills of the Pyrenees, from which it was a shortish drive to Jaca and then back along the N 240 in the opposite direction we had come a few days earlier and interesting to drive the other way.

We had a bit of an "interesting" end to the days driving when I decided to turn off the main road and cut across country towards Sos Del Rey on the A -1601. The road started off great, with approx 5K of freshly laid tarmac then abruptly became extremely bumpy, in fact so bumpy, I could only drive at approx 15mph maximum. We kept thinking we would come to another section of well paved road, but oh no.....on and on it went, and it really was completely deserted and really lovely, with some great countryside. We passed an amazing old abandoned castle where we stopped for a rest and some pictures.




Then pressed on towards Sos Del Rey. After approx 45 minutes of this, we came out on a decent road and could see Sos on top of the hill not far away. It was a relief to pull in to the car park in front of the Parador and check in, after a long hard day of driving.



We washed and got changed and headed out for a well deserved cold beer and a walk around the lovely old town, perched on top of the hill overlooking the surrounding plains, it had some great views. We ate in the Parador that evening, tomorrow we were headed North again back into the mountains.




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Last edited by markturner1960 on Wed Oct 17, 2018 4:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
 
  
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markturner1960
Monza


Joined: 26 Nov 2016
Posts: 215
Location: London UK

2003 Porsche 996 GT3 Mk2

PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So now we come to day 6 of the tour, which saw us leave Sos del Rey, to head once more northwards back into the mountains, in search of more mountain passes and spectacular scenery. The weather was gorgeous again, blue skies and the sun shining fiercely.

I had looked at the map the night before and worked out a route that should deliver. No pre printed routes this time, so I will list it for you:

Sos del Rey to Sanguesa, then after a quick few miles on the motorway, we turn off to pick up the NA178. This bit of road is another gem, in fact there is a circular route you can do which involves heading north on the NA178 until nearly the border, then going back south on the NA137, west on the NA124 until you pick up the NA178 going north....I can see why you would, as it was perfect Porsche roads, fast sweeping sections flowing through beautiful forested countryside, with plenty of elevation changes and very little traffic, as well as the almost obligatory great tarmac. Alas time dictated we should instead leave the 178 and turn off onto the NA 2011. This snakes up into the mountains to Larrau and at the border turns into the D26.

The Col De Larrau was a stunner, breathtaking views at the summit in all directions, we could see our road down the other side twisting sinuously along the side of the mountain as it dove away into the valley. A few pictures and we were off again.





From here, it was the D19 downhill, twisting through the green country side, a decent fast descent, with plenty of faster corners as well as hairpins. After approx 5 miles we came to a junction and turned onto the D18 towards Iraty and over the Col D'Haritzcurutche. Downhill again towards the foothills and more open valleys , we headed to St Jean pied de Port for a some lunch at a charming little restaurant in the town square.

Feeling rested and refreshed, it was the D15 heading west and back up into the mountains then, at St Ettiene de Baigorry we turned off onto the D949 for the Col D'Izpegi. These roads were not so open and could be narrow in places, but you pretty much see well ahead most places making it easy to anticipate getting past an oncoming car. I could get into a nice rhythm of the driving, just using third and occasionally second, modulating the speed on the throttle. For me, roads like this where you working the gearbox, leaning on the front tyre grip and feeling the feedback through the narrow alcantara lined cup steering wheel are where the real enjoyment of the car peaks, sure, the faster stuff is good, but this feels so involved, there were some stretches on the D19 / D18, where the car and I were really dancing together, it was fantastic......

That was the last of the proper mountain passes, from there, we got onto the N121 heading downhill west and north towards the Atlantic coast. This was another of those great fast Spanish N roads, but quite busy with traffic, however, we had had a pretty intense day of blasting up and down the passes, so I relaxed into it and we looked forwards eagerly to the Parador awaiting us in Hondarribia. This was an old castle right in the town centre and we had some trouble navigating there through some very narrow streets and tight corners, finally resulting in my front spoiler crying enough ( There are often some pretty savage speedbumps at the entrance to the centre of many towns that despite crawling over at a dead slow pace, would still scrape the front lip) and coming loose, necessitating a hasty repair with gaffer tape ( always carry some...) before we pulled up at the hotel.

Once I had spent some time repairing it properly ( I mean gaffer taping it securely on...) we were able to freshen up and hit the town for some well deserved drinks and food. The shops and bars area was lovely and full of locals enjoying the last of the days sun. We had some lovely Tapas in a little bar, several V&T's and headed back to the hotel for some brandies on the terrace while the sun went down.......Magic.....









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Last edited by markturner1960 on Wed Oct 17, 2018 4:24 pm; edited 4 times in total
 
  
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Zingari
Donnington
Donnington


Joined: 25 Oct 2009
Posts: 12830
Location: Cheshire

1993 Porsche 964 Anniversary

PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Question Food for thought as I need to plan a trip home from Costa Blanca region to Bilbao ferry after the 911uk Monte jolly in May.
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The game's afoot. It's time to put a bit of (Colini) stick about......
 
  
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markturner1960
Monza


Joined: 26 Nov 2016
Posts: 215
Location: London UK

2003 Porsche 996 GT3 Mk2

PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You wont regret a single minute my friend, amazing country to travel through and such fantastic roads......

Although, I did another trip after this one, to Venice via the Dolomites, which I have to say maybe edged the Pyrenees into second place on my list......

But that's another story, stay tuned.....
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James M-S
Suzuka


Joined: 11 Apr 2017
Posts: 1028
Location: Derbyshire

2009 Porsche 997 Carrera 2

PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great reading, thanks for taking the time.

Very well written too.

I wish my wife would be up for such road trips. (She’s the type that tells me to change gear at 3000rpm).

James
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Longers
Approved Trader


Joined: 26 Sep 2015
Posts: 430



PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Mark bye

I hope you're well mate. I cannot believe I missed this topic when you first started it in July! I've read it all this morning - what a superb trip.

Looking forward to seeing you again at the Spa Classic in May if not before Thumb

Cheers,
L'rs
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WORLD CLASS EVENTS AND TOURS

fasttracktours.co.uk

 
  
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New997buyer
Fuji


Joined: 17 Oct 2010
Posts: 9150



PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cracking write up and an epic trip thumbsup

Tempted to make the drive to Madrid at some point next year on the back of this thread Scratch Chin
 
  
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G2
Barcelona


Joined: 26 Oct 2015
Posts: 1440



PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great write up and detailed thread. Plus a Speed Yellow car in some great scenery, top draw.

Prompted me to get on with the detail planning for some 2018 trips. Thumb
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997 Gen2 Turbo S - Speed.
ex 991 C4S - Riviera.
 
  
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infrasilver
Fast & Furious
Fast & Furious


Joined: 04 Oct 2010
Posts: 8314
Location: East Midlands

2001 Porsche 996 Targa

PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

markturner1960 wrote:
Although, I did another trip after this one, to Venice via the Dolomites, which I have to say maybe edged the Pyrenees into second place on my list......


Totally agree, I have done most of the best roads in Europe and while the Pyrenees roads are great the views are lacking (dry and barren) compared to the Alps and the views around the Dolomites are some of the best you will find. I've done Spain and Pyrenees two or three times and I have probably seen enough of them to know I just want the Alps from now on.
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markturner1960
Monza


Joined: 26 Nov 2016
Posts: 215
Location: London UK

2003 Porsche 996 GT3 Mk2

PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, I am glad you all enjoyed reading it, it's nice to have it all committed to print as it were, as the memories fade after time.

I really enjoyed reliving it all when writing it down as well. I have got some more videos of teh last days if you think they would be interesting, however further work required editing, converting and uploading these.....let me know.

Dolomites trip next, although that was in the M3, as we had take along my 13 year old son, so the GT3 was out.....
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M&MD&D
Trainee


Joined: 28 Jul 2015
Posts: 64



PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

markturner1960 wrote:
OK, Day 2.

It was hard work hustling the car around those corners for the last half of the journey and lesley's window of agreeableness was certainly past after approx 4pm, so it was a tired but happy driver and a slightly tetchy missus that rolled into Vic at around 5.30pm This Parador is unusual in that it's not in an old castle of monastery as many are, rather a purpose built hotel in a spectacular location, of which there are a few. It overlooks a lake in a gorge and the views are very beautiful.



Amazing write up !!

This bit in bold is what I struggle with. Whilst I wouldn't be with my OH, he is a terrible backseat driver.

How do others deal with this ?

We have, in the past, talked about the following as a solution:

(1) me driving to Stuttgart
(2) him flying there
(3) do all the museums together
(4) I drive back and he flies back

Is that a daft idea or am I missing something ?
 
  
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markturner1960
Monza


Joined: 26 Nov 2016
Posts: 215
Location: London UK

2003 Porsche 996 GT3 Mk2

PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just noticed I cant see any of the pictures in the thread.....have photobucket got wise to the plug in that enabled you to see them?
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Alex
Le Mans
Le Mans


Joined: 06 Mar 2014
Posts: 16510
Location: The Ribble Valley, Lancashire

2000 Porsche 996 Carrera 4

PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

markturner1960 wrote:
Just noticed I cant see any of the pictures in the thread.....have photobucket got wise to the plug in that enabled you to see them?


No, you're on postimg not photobucket.
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2000 Manual 996 C4 Arctic Silver Convertible


 
  
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markturner1960
Monza


Joined: 26 Nov 2016
Posts: 215
Location: London UK

2003 Porsche 996 GT3 Mk2

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah yes, Embarassed

Googled and found that post image have changed domain hosts, so all entries in the links text need to change the .org to.cc


Hope that helps others who use them......

Pictures should be re instated
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