Old and NewAfter last years Staples2Naples banger rally last year I was very surprised to find that my brother and sister-in-law were contemplating another. My nephew, Geoff, took a small Volvo to Casablanca but sadly,'did not complete' due to logistical difficulties with the ferry from Spain.

Full details of the effort and fundraising are at

Those who followed last years event will know that the little red Rover gave trouble in Naples but was otherwise a faultless performer. Sadly however it has developed an intermittent 'cough' so has been replaced with Geoff's Volvo.

Anyway we set off his morning for Calais.
Add a comment
Le Chateau de Cocove Despite a good journey down the M25 motor-way we were one person to many to get on the 12:15 ferry and had to wait an extra 45 minutes for the 1pm sailing. It was all a bit odd but apart from a rather sad sandwich, not completely unexpected.

After last years experience at the Etap hotel (just don't) Stephen booked us into Le Chateau de Cocove on a special internet Channel tunnel deal. Don't miss this, it's it truly terrific and the dinner is very, very good. (see picture)

Despite all our prognostications, Justin (the rally organizer) seemed to have got the check in right. Within 25 minutes of arrival we were out the door complete with T shirt and a drink inside us. So different to last year which was hours!. Most impressive. Just a word of warning, don't stay at the Holiday Inn, it's clearly crap!

Anyway we need to get to the Holiday in (about 25 mins north) for the start in the morning. 580 miles tomorrow so that should be interesting if nothing else! Add a comment
Some contestants take it seriouslyA very seriously long way today. Calais to Interlaken in Switzerland, some 600 miles. The 9am start had us leave the hotel at 8:15 and we finally arrived at Interlaken at just before 8pm, you do the sums.

The day was spent taking pictures of various french number plates and playing a convoluted game of scrabble. I have no idea how we did and care still less.

Dinner and the hotel are good but too late to really enjoy either. So to bed! Add a comment
Lake ComoA hugely better day. After a satisfactory breakfast we readily found the starting point, got a good cup of coffee and and were on the road by ten past nine or so. The major events for the day were to be the Grimsel Pass and then on to the Simplon Pass.

Czechwrecks provided another challenge where we had to identify, and photograph,  some  locations they had already photographed but they only provided small sections of the photos. This (as last year) proved very hard and led too some very sudden stops in the middle of the road. We collected a few, perhaps half of the required photos which may or may not be enough.

None of this distracted from the passes which are truly spectacular however once done we were free to consider the remainder of the route for the day. Justin, the organiser, had arranged for us to skirt Milan and then head up via Como to Bormia. This is a very, very, long way.

By the time we got down the pass into Italy the weather had improved to warmer than you might think comfortable in the the non air conditioned Volvo. Windows open on the autostratse is way too noisy but closed is really not an option you can live with.

Add a comment

Read more: Over the Top

Meet the MayorAn easy start to the day with a 10am send off by the Mayor of Bormio (Elizabetha?) who was a great sport and you can see with her assistant in the photo. It was pirate day and we all dressed appropriately, well sort of, and as expected a serious water fight ensued. Kind of fun if you didn't get too soaked.

Once though this we were off in convoy on the Stelvio Pass, a more serious pass than we have seen before, you can't actually get two cars around the bends in opposite directions at the same time. This makes for very slow going! Several crossings into Austria and Germany made the day with the Austrian border guards taking an unhealthy interest in us, luckily we have a native German speaker on board!

Todays challenge was simple for those of us with a computer, however otherwise this would be a a mathematical problem. Again more photos of number plates were required and an equation calculated with a specific target result required.

Add a comment

Read more: We Meet the Mayor

The FamilyThe last day was a bit of a struggle with the car. The battery charge light stayed fixed on and rather than leave Salzberg, Gerlinde and Stephen tried to find a way to fix it first.

The various Volvo dealers were keen to assist but none of them had a new alternator in stock and suggested that 2-3 days would be required to get a replacement, hardly useful in the circumstances. In the end we agreed to buy a rather expensive battery from Volvo and take our chances on the autobahn through Germany.

Another short detour and we acquired a battery charger and a small socket to extract the existing battery so a complete failure would not leave us stranded..

Add a comment

Read more: Flat as your Hat


Powder TowerNot having to sit in a car is a real joy. I think we have all had enough of that for the moment.

The plan today was to follow one of the Lonely Planet guide book walking tours of Prague, the Royal Way. Unfortunately the map is a little too small a scale for make that really possible however we gave it a valiant attempt and saw most of the sights.

Even despite the cold (yes cold  in early september) the route is awash with tourists which is another distraction from the sights. The Tyn Church (Church of Our Lady Before Tyn) was for me the highlight although the Charles Bridge and Prague Castle are pretty good.

Overall we did a lot of walking even though we had bought a three day metro 'all you can eat' pass for a very reasonable price (about £5.50 or $NZ 15.50)

Dinner at La Provence in Stupartska was excellent albeit a bit expensive by Czech standards..

Add a comment

Read more: Prague

Stephen writes:

Overall Czech Wrecks is a good event. The format is sound and gives a sense of adventure as well as pride in doing something for charity. The Mayor of Bormio was a star and 400 people taking part in a water fight there is quite an experience. It’s not cheap but then there is nothing quite like it and we wouldn’t ever exchange it for a package holiday. The organisers had also acted to fix some of the administrative issues that were there in 2006 and it was a lot slicker.

Add a comment

Read more: Afterword