After the wonderful few days we had spent in Cortina, we were very sad to be leaving but we had to begin our return journey. Most of the group took the easy, relatively flat route….
…..but some headed for the Stelvio Pass. Rob Sargent reports:
For me the highlight of the trip has to be the reception and stay in Cortina. But then there’s absolutely no comparison with the other stays we had along the way. As for the driving, the highlight has to be driving the mountain passes, particularly the Stelvio Pass which was simply awesome and definitely has no comparisons! Our convoy for the day consisted of Steve and Rob Weston’s red MK1, Richard Sloman’s green MK1, Graham Brown’s MK5 XR6 and of course my MkII Savage!
We had already driven various passes, the pass we drove getting to the Stelvio was in itself breath taking and demanding both on us as drivers and on our cars too. If my memory serves me correctly, I believe it was called the Zernen Often Pass? This pass was very pretty with trees and forestation all around, stopping off in a lay-by half way up for the obligatory photo shoot of the cars with snow capped mountains that towered above us.
It was quite a long drive before we actually got to see the all empowering and magnificent sight of 49 – 180 degree hairpin bends starring down from the sky, almost inviting us to come and conquer its mountain face!! Here, we had the first drizzle of rain of the trip, not bad considering we had driven many hundreds of miles already!
The first thing I became aware of whilst approaching the Stelvio was how busy it was with traffic coming down towards us. Cars, motor bikes and the odd motor home took precedence when it came to tuning left or right, where we had to stop and wait our turn. These turns were truly 180 degree hair pins and we could look through the driver’s window or sun roof to see the road directly above us!
The scenery was this time very different. It was rather grey and dull mostly sheer rock faces, stone and sometimes concrete support walls that held the road in place with only low level concrete blocks and stick like post and tape that kept us from dropping over the edge, scary stuff at times. About half way up, we pulled in to a very welcoming parking area that gave us stunning views of the road way we had just driven up, giving our cars a well earned rest too! Above us were another 27 hair pin bends to negotiate till we reached the summit.
Once at the top we were surrounded again with fabulous mountain ranges as far as the eye could see. The parking and viewing areas were full but we had to carry on, another destination to reach! The downward trip was equally as awesome as going up, the scenery simply stunning.
I would like to end by saying a very big thank you to Rob Weston for his brilliant navigation and map reading skills who got us to where we needed to be and for getting us to all the fantastic places that were not on the main route, that gave us the best driving experience ever!!
The hotel car park at Davos
All photos © Cortina MkII Owners Club LTD