| Packing for Berlin
Sprite on way east
Autumn through Vosges mountains
Verdun Memorial, opening plaque signed by Francois Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl
War Cemetry at Verdun
Jim and Dave receive their wine bottle pressies
Sprite arrives home.
Tired but still going
Ferrari home in Inverness with Don and Mags, after 4877 miles across Europe.
Montagnes de France - 24 September to 7 October 2015
Dernière Étape - Wissembourg to Reims
Story Jim Paterson.
Photos Jim Paterson, Mags Campbell, Dave Spence, Louise Wall
miles through France, Spain, Andorra and Italy crossing countless
'cols' and driving great roads. This was Montagnes de France 2015.
stay in Wissembourg on Tuesday 6th was the last night we would all be
together. Simon and Rachel would be heading east the next day taking
the Sprite to Berlin for an extended tour. Our hosts at our hotel
Moulin de la Walk, on the outskirts of the town, put on a great meal
for our celebration together.
The morning of Wednesday
7th had us check over the cars, with the Sprite being topped up with
oil and other fluids to see it over the next 1000 extra miles to Berlin
and back to Amsterdam. Until I planned the Berlin route for Simon I
didn't realise just how far it was away from us, near the eastern
border with Poland.
Wissembourg to Reims
farewells complete the rest of us set off for Reims, with Maureen and
Dave leading in the Rover 75. A slight error by navigator
Dave on the satnav sent us all heading toward Germany, oops. Fine
for Simon and Rachel, but wrong way for us!
At 225 miles today
would be quite a long but fairly straight run west to Reims. We
traveled through the Vosges du Nord, at the northern end of the Vosges
mountains. Driving through the forest regions on the northern edge of
the Vosges Parc Naturel we reached, Bitche, and true to its
name was a bit of b""" to drive round. Much easier was the
section to Sarreguemines on the German border. Many of the towns in
this region were part of Germany, prior to the first World War, after
which they transferred to France. Pressing on we bypassed Metz on our
way to Verdun.
Our cars lineup at the Verdun MemorialMost
people have heard about Verdun from WW1 history. The Battle of Verdun
between the French and the Germans was one of the longest and costliest
battles in human history. Lasting 303 days from 21 February to 18
December 1918, some 70000 casualties a month with a total of 976,000
have been estimated. Verdun casualties from 1914 to 1918 are estimated
at 1.25 million, such was the strategic importance of the area.
took time out to visit the Verdun Memorial, a short detour from our
route. Like our trip along the Western Front to the start of our tour
in Reims, it was a sombre moment when confronted with these huge
cemeteries and the carnage that took place in this area.
were on the home stretch to Reims, being pursued by French trucks, one
of which was keen to overtake Don and Mags in their Ferrari. He must
have been in a hurry to get home as he also overtook me in the MX5.
Thankfully he took a different turn further on leaving us to enjoy the
last run into Reims.
Our Gala dinner at the end of our tour in Reims. At
our final Gala dinner both Dave Spence and myself were presented with
two bottles of wine, from the local area, as sourced by our now
'French residents' in the group, Ranald Bruce and Louise Wall. We
enjoyed a champagne toast to the success of the event, and to the next
Everyone had enjoyed the tour, even though we were
all exhausted. Tomorrow would start our separate route home to the
UK, some heading to the Channel Tunnel, others to Amsterdam ferry to
Newcastle, and the rest to Zebrugge to Hull. Ranald and Louise in the
Fiat Barchetta were only a couple of hours from their home in France.
We hope to see them again in 2017.
The question on everyone's
lips was Continental Tour 2017, where will we go then? All will be
revealed in due course. Much fettling will be required on some of the
cars before then, after this marathon trip.
Updated 4 November