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I Sold my Porsche for a Hippy Bus – Here’s What Happened

Beatrice Lessi

Too fast for Switzerland

It is actually my husband, who had the chance to buy a Porsche 911 Turbo S from a friend, who first realised having such a powerful car, in Switzerland, might mean going to prison.

It’s like sleeping with a wonderful naked woman, but you’re not allowed to touch her, he said, frustrated by the Swiss speed limits.

For sure, 560 horsepower can’t really be fully used in the city of Zurich, or on a Swiss motorway, for that matter. Where we live, the limit in the whole village is 30 km per hour. Sooner or later I’ll make a mistake, he continued.

Then he saw The Baltic Sea Circle Rally and decided to do it.  To the great stupor of our neighbours, who couldn’t understand how one could swap a Posche for THAT, he got a Volkswagen T4 Caravelle.

Only one problem: I wanted an adventurous roadtrip too.

The bus

The family

A Romantic Roadtrip Through Europe

So after my hubby was done with the Baltic, I convinced our three teenage daugthers to join us for a European Tour. My arguments?

  • It’s environmentally friendlier than flying
  • one can see many different places in a short time
  • we get wi-fi in the car

Done!

The lavender fields in Valsole, France

 

The Itinerary

In two weeks, we were in 12 different countries.  We started from Switzerland, went to Germany, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, London (well, the UK), Wales, Ireland, France, Spain, Andorra, Cote D’Azur and Italy.

And I feel we didn’t rush! Traveling on the ferry was actually quite slow.

Highlights

Among the different highlights, we saw the Dior exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum,  the delicious medieval village on Le Mont St. Michel, the most famous library in the world, at Trinity College, the modern architectural gem by Zaha Hadid, the Zaha Hadid Port House in Antwerp, the dreamy Magritte Museum in Brussels, the lively and surprising  Andorra, the fragrant lavender fields in France, the elegant Cognac and Champagne regions, the glamorous Biarritz, fit for a Hollywood movie . We also experienced the n.1 restaurant in the world (yes, we had booked it 5 months in advance, because it’s so hard to get in), Mirazur, we bought discounted lingerie and space cakes in the red light district in Amsterdam (my husband wasn’t there – it was a girls affair), and above all….we saw the final day of the bus.

A chateaux fit for a king…or for a wine lover

The Bus is Dead

In Menton, a black smoke announced the death of the engine. We blocked the whole village in the very centre, under a scorching sun that made everybody more nervous. While I tried to excuse myself to the cars behind us – that were quickly forming a queue and whose drivers didn’t look pleased – I waited for the tow truck, dressed up like I was going to a disco party. Let’s say this wasn’t the best day. Convincing a car rental company to give us a car to go to Italy and, instead of bringing it back to France, to end up in Switzerland also wan’t the most straightforward task.

We ended the journey in Italy, my second home (my country of origin, where all my family is). It was nice going to mamma after all these adventures, and to relax at the sea.

Final destination: Punta Ala, Italy

Fly Less, Drive More

I’m not saying I’m going to stop flying. But maybe limiting my carbon print a bit isn’t a bad idea after all. Boats, trains, public transport, a bus with 5 people can be a fantastic alternative you would’t have thought of, in the past. I enjoyed it fully – I hope some of these places might inspire you or make you dream for a moment.

Happy holidays!

 

The Zaha Hadid Port House in Antwerp

Lunch at Mirazur, the n.1 restaurant in the world according to San Pellegrino (and with 3 Michelin stars)

Bruges

The view at Coppa Club, London

Sunset on the Côte d’Azur