Alfaventure from Lisbon to Milan
By Thiago Oom
The Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint from 1959 was bought by my father – Frederico Oom – 32 years ago, already as a Classic. My father loved classic cars and in special Alfa Romeo's. When he died (14th of October 2009 - exactly 10 years ago, and in the day I visited the museum, by coincidence) he owned 4 Alfa Romeos: a GTV6 from 1983, an Alfetta from 1980, a replica of a GTA of 1966 and the Giulietta. By economics reasons we sell all the others, except the Giulietta that was my passion.The car was in good shape when my father bought it, and very original. Even so, my father was a perfectionist and restored the car from A to Z, but leave all the original parts that were in good or medium shape. And until today the car still running with the some restoration.
I keep with the car, about 13 years ago, and I said to my father that one day I will drive the car from Lisbon, were we live,to Milan – Arese, where the car was born. My first idea was to do it in the 50th years of the car, but it was the year that my father died, so a keep saying, when the car had 60th years I will go, and that dream come true.When we thought of the trip to Arese we had no doubts it would have to be done through roads that would be a match to the Guilietta Sprint's agile and sportive character.
We have a group of classic cars enthusiasts in Lisbon called "Amigos do Clássicos" (rough translation to "Friends of Classics") who gather more or less every two months for a morning drive through small, tight and beautiful country roads around Lisbon. Off course we love to see each one's cars, but the main focus of the group is to enjoy the ride! The morning always ends with a lunch where we share that morning's driving experiences, the perfect curves, that perfect overtaking manoeuvre, the magnificent landscape, the sound of the engine of one particular car and so on.
That spirit was the main inspiration for the route design between Lisboa and Arese. It wasn't about the visiting points, but about the adventure of proving the 60 year old Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint (and its companion the 2000 Berlina) was still up to the challenge of making it to Arese in roads that already existed when it was "born". We also felt that this adventure would need a symbol to emphasize the spirit of the journey. That's when we thought of the "door number" for both cars. In the centre you have the Alfa Romeo logo, on top you have the adventure origin and destination as well as the dates and at the bottom you can find the "door number", in this case the "year of the car"
1st day – 8th October 2019 – Lisbon – Elvas – 209 km
We leave at 5,30 PM from Lisbon – Monumento das Descobertas – Discovery Monument – It is a monument built in 1958 by the architecture Cottellinni Telmo, and is a Monument in honor to the Portuguese that leave from Tagus River to discover the world ! We arrive to Elvas (Portuguese border) at 7,30 pm
This day the purpose was just to pass Portugal, so we went by highroad , and arrive just in time to have dinner in the most famous restaurant in the region.
2nd day – 9th October 2019 – Elvas - Logroño – 676 km – 10h driving
We leave at 8,30 AM from Elvas and pass the border to Spain at 9 AM. The road was the national road, and quite good. We went in direction of Caceres, Placensia and very near of Segovia, that we arrived at about 2 pm, and have a quick lunch at Avila. After lunch we keep rolling in direction of north of Spain and arrived at Logroño about 7 pm. It was a nice trip, and the cars still in good shape.
3th day – 10th October 2019 – Logroño – Saint Girons – 496 km – 9h driving
Our expectations for this day were very high, we finally arrived to very nice and challenging roads, once we are about to get to mountain roads. We leave at 9am, after checking the oil and water levels of the cars. Giuletta still amazing good, with the perfect levels. We went by Pamplona and drive in amazing secondary roads, in the middle of the mountains. We arrived to the France border in a place call "El Portalet" on Spain and enter in "Parc National des Pyrenees" in France at 11,30 and it was a really an emotion, we already pass Portugal and Spain, and the cars still rolling ! Now we starting to drive along the Pyrenees in direction of the sea.
Driving in Pyrenees is one of the best thinks to do with a classic car, and special with an Alfa Romeo. We have to contains ourselves a lot to go slow, once Alfa all the time was saying "please just one curve more faster, please…" At lunch time we arrived to a beautiful and typical place in the middle of the mountain calls Laruns, it was 1,10 pm. Once we chose a small restaurant with a beautiful terrace, we stop the cars and in the village everybody watch, take photos and comment the cars. After lunch we go back to the road, and continue to pass in amazing and unique roads. We arrived at Saint Girons about 7,30 pm, but before that we decide to go Lourdes, to go to see the important and imponent church were a huge number of Catholics go every time of the year and we went to dinner at the small village of Saint Girons.
4th day – 11h October 2019 – Saint Girons – La Ciotat – 511 km – 11h driving
Once again we check the levels, and leave the hotel at 8,30 am. We went to a garage, once the Giuleitta's friend, the Berlina 2000 from 1973 of Miguel Carrasco start doing some noise in the transmission, after checking, the transmission crosspieces were not in a very good shape, but its an Alfa Romeo, so there's only a way to do it, it's go ahead !
The road still very very good, and we are on our way to the sea ! All the morning we drive on mountain roads, but after the lunch we decide to go by a highroad, once the Berlina still complain with pain in the transmission.
With the pain of the Berlina, we decide to don't go by national road and get the highway. To compensate ourselves, and before go to the hotel, we decide to go to see the famous Hippodrome of Marseille. We complete forget that was a Friday, and it was 6pm, so in a moment we are in a middle of a huge traffic jam. Giulietta start's saying "I hate traffic jam's, so please get me out of here quickly !". At about 6,30 pm Giuletta stars the lose all the water she have it, and immediately we stop the car after Miguel and Nuno shout out "Tiago turn off the car immediately !". My friends Miguel Carrasco and Nuno França that come in the Berlina 2000, make a incredible duo ! In a moment both of them are hard working in the car, one under the car and the other over the motor. So they discover what was the problem, a pipe that broke up ! I think to myself, no…no I cant believe that was gone be the end of a dream journey, for the stupid and simple pipe broken…But, the amazing duo Miguel & Nuno in the middle of a traffic jam, with cars passing by the left and by the right about 1 meter from the car, repair the pipe, bring radiator liquid that was in the luggage compartment of the Berlina (actually, in the Berlina luggage compartment there was a mini car repair shop !), and less then 30m, Giuletta was running again ! It's seems a pit stop of a formula 1 race. Thank you Miguel and Nuno !!!
Then finally we arrive to a quiet and nice hotel in La Ciotat, and after the amazing actuation of the duo, they wash their hands we went to dinner in a beautiful restaurant over the Mediterranean sea. It was really a stress and tuff day, but finish the best way.
5th day – 12h October 2019 – La Ciotat – Monaco - 264 km – 9h driving
As usual we take our breakfast at 8 am, and Miguel and Nuno were really worried about the transmission crosspieces of the Berlina, so we decide to go to the road, but try to find a place were they can see beyond the car. After checking and see that the transmission were worst, the amazing duo Miguel & Nuno decide to go directly to Milan by high road very slowly, in order to achieve the big target, getting into Arese Museum. It was a 8h driving, and they do it, the Alfa Romeo Berlina 2000 from 1973 arrived by is own to Milan ! they do it, so one of the Alfa is already there
We maintain the road planed, and start to go by the extraordinary Cote d'Azur, all the time seeing the see. That is really a "must do" road with all the charme and glamour that we all see in the movies !
We stop at St Tropez and lunch there. There was a Porsche Parade, I think that was more than 200 Porches, but the Alfa didn't go unnoticed, some applauses, photos and comments were the constant ! We had a kind lunch there, and after lunch we keep rolling next to the see, where we stopped to have a coffee in Cannes. As usual Cannas was full of people, and a lot of thinks passed at the sometime, it's really a very nice place.
As its already about 5 pm, we decide to go directly to Monaco, and was really a nice and very good experience. We start to stop in the door of the Heritage Hotel and take some photos of the car, but we are not the only ones, a lot of "paparazzis" where there too, and take a lot of photos. After that we went to the Casino, and in the middle of Ferraris, Porsches, Rolls Royce, Lamborghini and some more great machines, there was a Alfa Romeo Giuletta from 1959 shining more that all the other modern cars. It was a unique moment, that I will never forget. After the photos we do 3 times the Formula One Circuit witch is really a very nice and exciting think to do: Monaco is a magical place for cars, and we deep fell that magical environment.
It was, again another amazing day, with a lot of emotion. We arrange a very nice and cheap hotel in Monaco, and went to have dinner in a small and familiar restaurant, the we eat very well
6th day – 13h October 2019 – Monaco – Milan - 457 km – 8h driving
And here we are in the last day of the trip. As usual we had breakfast at 8am, see the levels of the car (the oil continue ok) and start rolling to the iconic road of the Italian Alps, it will be the last day of true driving, we had the "créme de la créme" reserved. The magnificent Col the Turini route so famously known as the most challenging Monte Carlo Rally stage. Off course the rhythm was different, but the beauty of the road is breath-taking and the infinite sequence of sharp turns a delight for those who really love to drive. We drive from Monte Carlo to Isola and headed for the Italian border on the other side of the Alpes. The journey back down from the Alpes was made through the amazing and very narrow SP255. They reached Milan at the end of the day after a glorious 457 kms drive, and a unique sensation of "YES !!! we do it !!!"
We find our friend from Berlina, and all went to dinner, and take some arrest, because we are really tired !
7th day – 14h October 2019 – Visiting Arese Historical Museum of Alfa Romeo
We finally get to the target ! After 2.807 kms we reach the place we so much wont, and believe me, it worth it ! We had an unforgettable day. Starting with a lot and very good photos of the cars, then we went to the museum track, visiting the museum witch is really interesting, had a very kind lunch in the museum, with birthday cake to celebrate the 60th years of Giuletta. After lunch we went to Villa Litta Borromeo in Lainate, a very beautiful place to take some more nice and good photos.
Its was really a very nice day
8th day – 15h October 2019 – Visiting Heritage Hub of FCA in Torino
It's a huge space with classic and unique cars from FCA group, but mainly Fiat's and Lancia. Its very nice and we love it.
As it easy to understand it was an epic journey that I will never forget. But is was possible to do it, with the huge contribution of:
- The Alfa Romeo Museum staff
- Sara Bravo – From FCA Portugal that was unbeatable in all the help she gave
- Francisco Vasconcelos – That do all the roadtrips, find hotels, and gave a lot of incentive and enthusiasm to do the trip
- João Clara – My big and great friend that was my co-pilot and very patient
- Miguel Carrasco – That is the owner of Berlina 2000 and really friend always very positive
- Nuno França – That a huge company and understand a lot of the mechanical
Photo collection can be found on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pg/museoalfaromeo/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2125471507761425