I just arrived back from Monaco saturday morning at 4am. rather than type out the trip myself as I can't be bothered I have copied the trip as written by the driver of our car so have a good read
In the end, if we include England, it was 10 countries in 5 days pretty much. We departed early Monday morning at around 6:30am aiming to be at Dover for our 1:30pm Ferry, which we managed, checking in at 1:03pm. It had been a pretty easy drive down, one stop for fuel and coffee, and one quick fuel stop so we had a plentiful tank when we hit France, not knowing when we could fill up again. It was a nice gentle crossing, and I even managed a few minutes of power nap whilst leaning on head on my hand
We hit France and disembarked around 3ish, into nice hot sun, somewhere around the 25c mark, set the Sat Nav for the Hotel an der Nordschliefe's address and got under way. We stopped for fuel when necessary, and noted that French service station food was 500% better than the UK, and their petrol was infact more expensive than ours. Brisk progress was made through France, then Belgium (that bit seemed more boring somehow, there was very little to look at), then The Netherlands and into Germany - where we hit what we thought was an unrestricted autobahn after a little while. Not sure if it was but we didn't get stopped so who cares eh! The R27 pulled surprisinly quickly (remember we were 3 up, and none of us are small, with all our luggage/supplies) to around 137 indicated when I had to back off, it was still pulling and I hadn't got to the shift light - sat nav said over 130, but I didn't actually see what it got to as a high point, suspect it was around 134/135 judging by the difference between the speedo and the nav from the rest of the trip - and it had more to give. We got to the hotel around 9ish and bumped into Eddie, the owner, on the stairs in. He was very welcoming, gave us our keys and we checked out our apartment - which was very nice, all new and had 3 single beds, a flat screen TV on the wall, kitchen area, a view of a bit of the track and of course ensuite showerroom with a power shower. We met some other Brits in the cafe next door and they told us how to get to the main entrance, which was handy.
Next day we headed out in the morning to scope out the route, take a few snaps at the entrance and stock up on drinks for the car and snacks. Then back to the hotel to watch a lot of top end motors screaming round the ring - we assumed it was some kind of fast car club that had hired the track - lots of Porsches/M-beemers/AMGs and some other quick stuff - including a Cayenne, that was VERY fast and lapped almost solidly for about 6 hours!
The track opened at 5:45 and we made our way up there just after 5, and bought a 4 lap ticket, whilst checking out all the car porn in the car park. Then the annoucement came over the tannoy that the track was open and we got underway! We were all hugely excited, and also terrified at the same time hehe! I set off as quick as possible, and we dusted a Golf that had been up my ****, and we set off round the track proper. And what an experience - nothing quite like it, it's not like any other race track as you all know, and although you can learn where the corners are on the games NOTHING will prepare you for the cambers and gradients, the hills are so steep and some of the corner cambers are very sharp. After a couple of corners we started getting caught by crowds of really fast stuff, bikes and track prepped Alfa 75s at first, then as we were doing around 110mph down a straight a white 997 Turbo flew past us like we were parked - he was easily over 160, if not 180. The Carussell was simply epic, almost felt like the car would roll over into it if you went too slow, and it was incredibly bumpy, but we committed and flew round the inside line - then some dick in an e30 thought the no overtaking on the right rule didn't apply to him and we very nearly came to grief. After the first 2 laps, the 2nd been a lot quicker than the 1st, both Mark and Chris got out and I did a solo, much, much quicker lap on my own. I caught up to some git in a Polo that really didn't want to let me by, but as soon as the track opened out I blitzed him on the straight, after he'd held me up for a bunch of corners :-@. Then we did a final 4th lap, where I took it easy, stayed well, well out the way and just cruised round so we could all get a good look at the track. Chris took a vague shot at timing lap 3, and reckoned from Bridge to Gantry - the standard timing measurement we reckoned on it been somewhere between 10 and 11 mins - which I was pretty happy with, considering we weren't aiming for a laptime. The Clio felt totally at home though - very glad I didn't take the Vee that would have been well out of it's depth - as would I. The speed the R27 could carry through the corners was amazing, Mark and Chris both commented on how impressive it was - and we also found a few times, fast stuff caught us on the straights, then we got ahead a bit again in the corners - specifically on lap 3 against a 928 that seemed to take an age to get by on the straight as well ha! But it was a truely epic time :-)
Then the next day, we set off early and headed for Davos, passing through Austria and Lichenstien (which we just swung into for the hell of it because it was literally right next to the motorway)in the process of getting into Switzerland. We knew Switzerland required a vignette to be purchased at the border if you wanted to drive on their motorways (just like a sticker that goes in the window) but we didn't know you needed one in Austria till we'd got about 5 miles over the border, including a really long tunnel heh. So we had to get off the motorway and head back out of Austria, then buy the vignette (we got Switzerland as well) and stick that in the window, then head back in.
Once in Davos everything was very expensive, food and drink wise, and I felt sick from the altitude combining with my ailments, so that sucked. We spent the night in, I think it was the Hotel Alpine or something, and the next day aimed for Monaco, via the Stelvio pass! But the route we took to the pass was mental, incredibly twisty, narrow and blind snake up the mountains that included some gravel tracks before we eventually got there, then drove down it, which to be honest wasn't all it was cracked up to be - although as the photos try to show the scenary was amazing. Then we carried on down through Italy on the motorway to Monaco - after the sat nav sending us a ridiculous over mountain route again, including the worst roads I've ever seen - surprised we made it over there to be honest. Monaco itself was a HUGE disappointment, the only nice parts were the bit you see on TV, the rest was a complete dump. We grabbed another hotel and bedded down - deciding to head for home the next day as there was little in Monaco for us after we'd had a good tour round that evening.
We then made the interesting decision to head for home, from Monaco in one journey. So we set off around 9am, and it was all easy motorways and 3 fuel stops (including filling from near empty in Nice just a few miles after we set off) to Calais, which we got to around 8:30pm local time - and managed to get a ferry for 9:30pm. This crossing was much worse than the first one, VERY choppy and we were all of course already very tired. We disembarked and headed for home from Dover, stopping for fuel on the M2 which would be enough to see us home. I didn't really get too sleepy, except for a short stint in the middle, although Chris was on my insurance as a backup anyway (he drove for a short stint of Italian motorway when I was feeling crap). I hit home after dropping my mates off just after 4am local time, so including the time difference it was a 20 hour journey from Monaco to my house near Scarborough in North Yorkshire heh.
The R27 performed admirably, the trip computer shows over 2,600 miles, and was also showing 29mpg+ for the whole trip (including the ring/mountain roads etc - 31 mpg before then, after all the 70/80 mph cruising, and the odd 137 moment hehe), but then after the rather 'brisk' journey home, it now shows 28.3mpg heh - it was 1,113 miles from the hotel just outside Monaco to my house according to the sat nav and the foreign bit was mainly spent cruising at 90mph indicated
One thing to note if you're doing such a trip, plan your route to avoid mountain roads, except the popular ones like Stelvio as some are ridiculous, and really NO fun - don't just trust your sat nav. And also, the tolls in France can be a bit steep, we paid 3 on the way home, 18 euros, 32 euros and 20ish euros - and a couple of 2 or 3 euros one. And make sure you get the ticket and don't just drive through the toll not noticing it - because then when you get the other end and it wants the ticket to charge you - you have to pay 48 euros for losing the ticket... We only know this because our TomTom sent us off the motorway, and straight back on for no reason - and we had to pay it...
All in all, it was very tiring, but we had an awesome time - and I'd really recommend the ring to anyone! It was so much fun, as not as scary as it seems, you'd only crash if you were not watching what was going on around you, or you drove beyond your limits. I was so, so impressed by the abilities of the R27 though, it had the measure of most of the normal stuff in the corners, even with little old me driving. Obviously been 3 up stunted it a bit, the fact it was my first time there, and the fact it needed to get us home hehe! The front tyres were very, very hot after my solo lap, as were the brakes which were also epic, and never once wilted despite the serious abuse they were getting.
All my photos are seeable here -
Some are quite poor, these are just the ones I took on my little pocket point and shoot, and it's surprisingly hard to take photos, whilst driving round a mountain pass hehe
So, 2,600miles +, 28mpg, England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria, Lichenstein, Switzerland, Italy and Monaco.