Starting Small with Our Dream Mini Honeymoon
Photographer: Helen Simpson
Our wedding was fantastic and the Mini looked lovely outside the church. Oh, and so did my bride and childhood sweetheart, Helen.
The following day we set off on our honeymoon, driving first back to London and then jumping on the Euro Tunnel the next day, destined for Epernay, Northern France. Just south of Reims, we had our first mechanical trouble after tussling with a modern 911 when we damaged a rear suspension trumpet by hitting an unseen pothole. We hobbled on to Epernay and ordered the necessary parts the next day from a UK supplier, who sent them to me in time for croissants the following morning – not that we would have complained about more time in the Champagne region. With a quick repair, though, we were on our way in no time at all, destined for Basel, Switzerland.
We arrived in Basel and settled into a traditional wooden Swiss house for the night. The following morning, we set out toward Davos, climbing higher into the mountains. After numerous overheating problems, we were apprehensive about the higher sections of mountain roads beyond Davos – itself at nearly 5,000 feet elevation – so we figured we would rest there for the night and then tackle the higher alpine roads in the cooler morning air the next day.
We were up at the crack of dawn, skipping breakfast in an effort to make it up Passo dello Stelvio before the warm weather crept in and threatened trouble. The drive was exhilarating, with twisty alpine roads constantly doubling backing on themselves like spaghetti. The months-long shakedown we had given the car before leaving home paid off and the car performed flawlessly, reaching the 9,000-foot summit without problems. After some strudel and a few photos, we dropped down the other side of the mountain and settled in on the shores of Lake Garda for a few days. The Mini was still prone to overheating, so I stripped everything down only to find that the radiator fan was backwards. What a rookie mistake!
With the engine reassembled and properly sorted, we set out toward Brescia, our final destination before making the trip home. Once in Brescia, we squeezed in a quick trip to the Museo Mille Miglia, a few glasses of wine, and a stroll around the historical city center, including the famous Piazza della Loggia.
All too soon, it was time to turn around and head back. However, this wasn’t without its own adventures: a spirited drive through Bormio with some Liege-Rome-Liege competitors; a landslide in the Italian mountains; and a trip to the expansive Schlumpf collection completed our time in mainland Europe. We capped off the adventure with a stop at the Goodwood Revival in Sussex.
All in all, not a bad way to begin our life together.
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