Ferrari Drive

The day arrived that I would finally and with tightly crossed fingers that I would finally get to drive a Ferrari. An early drive meant that I was walking to the beach front at 9am. I was early and at the same time eager. I had a morning coffee on the beach front on a damp and overcast morning, not exactly awe inspiring.

As I waited for the car to arrive, I wondered about the whereabouts of my travelling friend. He had not yet arrived. I took some time to reflect on my trip so far. I had gone through so many cities. Seen so many sights, as if trying to fill every moment to capacity. I was becoming tired of travel and living out of a backpack. I was happy to know that I had only lost two pairs of thongs (flip flops). I had enjoyed travelling but maybe the time had come to head to London.

Inward reflection out of the way I looked at my watch and realised that there was only 5 mins to our drive and it was then that my compatriot arrived. Nearly out of breath, with a grin across his face. Obviously excited, I soon learned something else. His disappointment at not getting to drive in Monaco led him to a late night on the drink. He already mentioned to me that his licence in Ausralia was  suspended, I started to wonder if he was going to be able to drive at all.

A Ferrari 360 Modena arrived at the Raoul Casino. After a round of scissors, paper, rock I settled for taking the second drive. And yes the thought that the car wouldn’t return certainly entered my mind. I was happy to the car’s safe return after the first drive.

Although the style of Ferrari’s have moved on quite a bit since the release of the 360, this one had all the soul you expect from a Ferrari. You can tell that the interior is had crafted with hints of subtle imperfections. It wasn’t exactly built for my 6″2′ body, but I was comfortable enough once I got in, but getting in wasn’t exactly graceful. The machine finished gear slots and dials make you feel that you are getting into car that was built to excite the racing soul, not to pamper.

The pedals are snugly placed to the left of the foot well, quite close together, mind you being in France, the steering wheel is on the left. Is this a good time to mention that I had not driven a left hand drive car before? The group of on lookers with their cameras out added to the experience. They were not disappointed when I turned the key and the engine awoke with a rumble. A quick stab on the accelerator started my heart racing.

As I took off I could tell that the car had a racing clutch, very little room for play. a lapse in concentration would certainly make for an embarrassing stall. I put the car into first and started to take off. I cautiously waited for the traffic to pass before taking off. The all encompassing sound of the 3.6 litre V8 was like a symphony playing behind me… As you can probably tell I was completely taken by the car. So much so that I ran a red light and nearly veered into the lane beside me.

I continued cautiously until the drive instructor said “You know, this is a Ferrari, its made to be driven.” I needed no more encouragement than that. I dropped the car into second gear and felt the immediate push and roar of the engine. The tail end of the car stepped out slightly. My grin was obvious proof of the thrill I got. I allowed the tail to come back tipped into third and all of a sudden I was certain I was going much faster than I should be on a public road.. In a foreign country… on the wrong side of the road… in a car that was originally priced at $180,ooo. I reigned in my speed and just enjoyed the rest of the drive along the Nice beach front.

This would be an experience that I would never forget. It was also the experience that made for a wonderful conclusion to an amazing journey that took me through Europe.

For the Ferrari Drive Experience, Visit drivingexperience.livenup.fr.

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Nice and Monaco Pt. 2

We walked up the hill towards the Casino, and through the tunnel below the Fairmont hotel. My personal passion for fast cars had me in heaven as we saw super car after super car drive through the tunnel trying to make as much noise as possible. Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Mazarati. The throaty bellowing of a Lamborghini Mercialago just about made my day. Continue reading

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Nice and Monaco

So back on the Busabout bus we made our way from La Spezia to another country and that meant another language. From Bonjourno to Bonjour, Grazie to Merci, it was just a good thing that most people in both places spoke english. While on the bus we had an impromptu language lesson, the basic terms that would help us along were covered. You would think that I had it nailed. Not so much. Continue reading

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La Spezia – Cinque Terre

The last stop in Italy on my tour was Cinque Terre, La Spezia. As you may have already deduced, Cinque Terre translates to Five Lands. Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. Probably best known for its National Park and also being home to one of the best walking trails in the world, the Sentiero Azzurro.

The Sentiero Azzuro connects the five towns. Through Busabout, I booked a room in Riomaggiore, the south most town in Cinque Terre, also the closest of the five to La Spezia. Riomaggiore is, like all of the towns, built on a steep hillside. If you need to go anywhere, be prepared for stairs. Luckily the budget accommodation I was staying in was at the bottom of the hill and close to the access tunnel for the railway and the Sentiero Azzurro.

I look back on my trip there and wish I had spent more time there. The vivid colour and the unique atmosphere really made for an amazing location. It was reminiscent of the Amalfi Coast, well without the road running through its heart.

Of the three sections of the coastal walk, the first section northbound from Riomaggiore is The Lovers Path. It is an easy 30 minute walk along a paved coastal pathway. This is by far the easiest walk you will do. In fact, you may exert more energy going from your accommodation to the walk, yes it’s that easy.

The second section was closed so I caught a train from Manarola to Corniglia. It was from this point on that the walk got serious. I am not going to go into details about the walk but it was equally challenging and rewarding. The views are spectacular. Make sure you have plenty of water and fill up as often as you can.

Sadly in October last year Cinque Terre was all but wiped out by flooding. Torrential rain battered the coast that lead to a terrible disaster. I am thankful that I got to see this beautiful area before it was struck by such tragedy. Telegraph Report by Nick Squires

The good news is that many restaurants and business will be open this coming summer in Vernazza and Monterosso. Perhaps now is a great time to get discounted travel to this absolute gem of a location. I know it will certainly help the local economy and family owned establishments bounce back.

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New Items in Store

As you know, I have my work available on Red Bubble for purchase, I have recently added some new work and would love your feedback. If you haven’t had a look at Llewellyndesign.com then you may not have been aware that I have an ongoing promotion. Each week I will select one of my works to be offered at a sale price. All formats will be discounted. Maybe it will be your favorite piece? The catch being that I will not say which one it is, you will have to hunt for the bargain.

I would like to thank everyone for your ongoing support and encouragement, and my trip so far has been a blast. Stay posted for my update to Llewellyn Abroad for my time in Cinque Terra which was since devastated by torrential flooding, I will find out how the towns have recovered. Following that I will post about Nice and Monaco.

Until then, Happy Hunting!

Llewellyn.

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Pisa

Traveling through Italy on Busabout is a great experience, You get to meet interesting people, see amazing places and pretty much have an awesome time. You will do some of the more Touristy stops though. Sure they have to be done, but you cant help but feel like a camera toting tourist at Pisa. Continue reading

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Florence, Italy – Day Two

Today was all about going to the Michelangelo Square. This meant crossing the famous Ponte’ Vecchio. Before any of that though, a thorough breakfast would be essential!

I was told by one of the other travelers about a small cafe that did a decent breakfast. overlooking the Piazza Dell’Indepenzia, on the corner of Via 27 Aprile, is Cafe Delixee’. They certainly did a decent bacon and eggs and didn’t mind me swapping the toast for pancakes and maple syrup. Continue reading

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