Home2Rome 2010 done, dusted and complete

31 07 2010

WiFi connection problems prevented me from doing a blog update on Friday, our final day. So here it is.

After the events of Thursday night myself and Russ didn’t get to bed until nearly 4am in the morning and were up again at 8am. We must have eaten something strange on Thursday because for some strange reason we both had quite sore heads and didn’t fancy any breakfast. 😉

Our destination for the day was Rome. The final stop on the rally. We were all to meet at Cafe Bernina in Piazza Navona at 7pm. The hotel at Sottomarina was the last place all the cars were together in one place as there is no way you can park in Central Rome. We set the Sat Nav to our hotel which was beside the Colosseum and headed off.

Our challenge for the day was to present five photographs of damaged cars which were still driving on the roads. Italians tend to have a more relaxed way of driving shall we say, and tend to simply live with the consequences quite happily. So, we had to find cars that had damage to either one, two, three or more panels or even a car with a wheel missing.

The drive to Rome was pretty uneventful as it was all motorways. Triff and Edd did the first two driving stints. I slept for the first four hours of the trip, but woke up when we stopped for lunch somewhere in Tuscany. I then took over the driving and took us through Unbria and Lazio and on into central Rome.

As I mentioned earlier, our hotel was just down the road from the Colosseum, but I was still very pleasantly surprised with the view from my bedroom window. It was even more impressive from the roof pool!

Arriving at the hotel was greeted with a big smile from all of us but there was also a hint of sadness as the reality of scrapping the car the next day dawned on us. There was more than one comment along the lines of “we should drive it back”. But, the flights were already booked and no one could take more time off from work to get it home. Besides where would we store it and what would we do with it!

A quick shower and change into our team t-shirts and we were ready for the meal, speeches and prize giving in Piazza Navona. We did the half-hour walk to the Piazza to do some sight-seeing on the way. Having only seen the Colosseum on TV before I didn’t appreciate the scale of the place. It is simply amazing. Just behind it is the Palatine, where Julius Caesar lived. The relatively modern building of the central museum is immense and stunning in it’s architecture and scale.

We grabbed a table under the umbrellas at the restaurant as the sky was turning very grey. We were glad we did because the thunder and lightning soon started and the rain came down like stair rods. We couldn’t face getting soaked for a second day!

We didn’t win any prizes, but that’s not why we took part. It was a fantastic experience and I would definitely do it again. The first prize went to the Mad Hatters in their VW Passat estate because they got the most points in all of the tasks. Second place went to Last Fast & Flaming Hit in their D-Reg Volvo estate, and third was Speyside Stig in a VW Golf.
Special awards for Most Misery went to JSM.com in their Reliant Robin because they had the most breakdowns. Thankfully for them they are all recovery mechanics and worked miracles along with their co-team It’s Tow Joke in the Isuzu Trooper to keep both of them going. A seized engine on the Robin and several broken injector pipes on the Trooper made sure they were kept busy all the way along. At one stage the Trooper was towing the Robin on a rigid bar, while the guys in the Robin took out the fibreglass access panel to the engine and changed the distributor…while being towed at 70mph. That’s hard core!

The prize for Best Bodge went to Beauty And The Beast in their 1985 Citroën Visa convertible. Their clutch cable snapped on late on day 2, and they ends up putting a hole in the passenger footwell and grabbing hold of the remainder of the clutch cable. With that end of the cable tied to a hammer the driver would shout when they needed to change gear and the passenger would pull the cable by hand. They did that for 200 miles!

Our car gave us no problems whatsoever. Although people did comment that it was often used as a guide on the roads as the florescent yellow stripes could be seen for miles. All week we played a game of seeing who could get the best wheel-spin away from the toll booths. By the end of the week it was getting quite asthmatic so the wheel-spins turned into squeaks!

Triff and I are flying back home on Saturday while Edd and Russ are coming home on Sunday as their wives flew out to Rome on Thursday to have a long weekend there.
Edd and Russ took the car off to the scrapyard this morning and filled in all the paperwork. That allowed me and Triff to do the tourist thing so we did a guided tour of the Colosseum i would have loved to go to The Vatican but time constraints meant we could only do the one thing before grabbing some lunch and heading for the airport. The car has done a fantastic job of transporting 4 grown men and all of their luggage a total of 1,960 miles from Southampton to Rome. I videoed the car leaving the hotel, but when Edd and Russ get back to the UK I will be able to upload a picture of the car in it’s final resting place.

The guys in the scrapyard were a bit bemused ad to why it was being scrapped apparently but were happy to pose for photos and even called a taxi for Edd and Russ.

We will all be sharing our photographs from our cameras and I shall put lots more on this blog over the next week or so. During the week all of the photos and all of the typing has been done on my iPhone so I apologise if there have been weird spelling mistakes or silly errors as it’s not that easy to write these essays on such a small keyboard. I am writing this on the plane back to Heathrow and will upload it as soon as I get a decent (and free) 3G network back home.

We have met some fantastic people on this trip and have had a whale of a time doing it. It has been a very long week, but it has gone so quickly at the same time. Thanks to StreetSafari for running a very well organised event. It was a blast.

Would we do it again?
YES!
Will we do it again?
Only wives will tell.

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