We went to the UK first and visited Highwoodalfa. This time, Stina and I drove through Denmark and to take the ferry from Esbjerg to Harwich. As usual, when I feel very comfortable listening to the twin-cam engine revving, there is always something coming up. This time, Stina spotted some water underneath the engine just as we were taking off. It turned out to be the hose between the manifold and the heater. The hose is slightly vulcanized and after more than 30 years, it had started to crack. Oh no, the ferry wouldn't wait for us so I cut the hose and put two thick studs and blocked the system temporarily.
Anyway, since this was the hottest day this summer we drove through Denmark in 26 degrees and did not bother with the heater. This excellent weather followed us to England. We had a nice time on the ferry which left Denmark in the evening. We had the usual dinner and spent quite a while at the bar before we turned in. Isn't it funny how good you sleep on a ship?
The next day at noon we started our 1967 Spider Veloce on the left side of the British roads. We had two lovely weeks and drove through Cambridge, Oxford, Cirenchester, Wales, Cornwall and Land's End, over the Dart moor, Shaftsbury and via Dover - Calais we arrived in Belgium.
In the U.K. we only saw a very small number of classic Alfa Romeo cars. In fact, we hardly spotted any Alfas at all. In Cirenchester however, we stumbled over this GTV and had a nice chat with the owner. Oh, yes of course, Chris Sweetapple showed us his two 156 models and took us for a very fast drive in the Selespeed. I had the opportunity to browse the Highwood Motor Co too. What an amazing line of parts for the classic Alfa Romeo. Thanx.
Through Cornwall wee drove on pure Spider roads. I am not that keen on heights, perhaps the fact that I am close to two meters tall, I am kind of tired of seeing everything from the top. Stina on the other hand likes to stand close to the cliff looking down. I prefer to just stay close to the Spider like here, some miles north of Bude in Cornwall.
I must admit I enjoyed every minute in the U.K. Driving on the left side of the road is no problem and as we have a deal with the Spider only to go on local roads, the Spider was stretching and revving out and we even got a tan in the sun. Yes of course, the British weather gave us a hard time occasionally with heavy showers, but who cares, we are Scandinavian Vikings. Speaking of Scandinavia, one of our characteristics is the longing for an open, free and abandoned landscape.
We found this spot at the Dart moor. It was a real Charles Dickens revival. If you close your eyes and lean back in the Spider, pictures and images of a rainy night with thunder, howling wolfs and a gun shot from the prison indicating an innocent murderer had escaped, well, the lot will come over you. I do recommend you to drive across this amazing moor. There are a lot of sheep and wild! ponies there. What? Yes of course, we found a cozy Pub there, the Dart moor Inn where we sat in the sun enjoying the food and beverage and the view. Plus the Spider of course.
Finally after two weeks we took the ferry from Dover to Calais and drove through France and Belgium to Leuven. We spent two days in Leuven and watched the football match between Holland and Italy one evening in an Italian restaurant. That was real fun. I must admit I did not know what nation to support. Well, Italy makes the Spider and Holland arranges the Limburg weekends, so I had quite a dilemma there.
We arrived in Valkenburg at lunchtime and were welcomed by Erwin. We all missed Mr. Carl Timmer and Spiderman and we think they missed us and the rest of the gang too
Jaan Spaan was sitting, actually he took a nap, in his Kamm-tailed Spider under the umbrella. At this moment, we were all using them to get some protection from the sun. At a quiet moment like this in total peace and calm, it was hard to image what he was expecting later. A few moments after this photo, the sky was wide open and the rain came pouring down. Lucky Jaan got this moment resting. The Spaan's are the real Alfa family. They have a lot of Spiders at home and they even bring the dog along in the back seat. I think it is a Welch Corgi
Yepp, Cees Badoux explains the hood mechanism to the interested spectators. His Spider Veloce got an award the last day, congratulations. It is always good to meet new friends with a mutual interest. Plus, could there be a better subject to discuss than a round-tail Spider? Jan Groen was as always there to explain everything for the novices. What Jan does not know about the Spider, is not worth knowing.
You will always get lots of positive comments and advice. That comes hand in hand with the Alfa spirit. Wherever you park your Spider, someone is bound to comment and talk to you. Especially older people often say that they once had an Alfa Romeo many years ago and had a lot of fun with it. So do I.
Toni Borgioni, left, is having a good time entertaining our US guests, Richard Kowalski plus some other people. Richard is originally from San Francisco and he drove a Belgian Kamm-tail, imported from the States and he lives in Germany. Quite international. It goes without saying that we all had a good time socializing in the garden of Hotel Vue des Montagnes. Imagine the decibels when we all got together. No mufflers here, oh no. Just rev up your mind and open your mouth and join the gang. Everybody felt most welcome. Many of us had been attending the Limburg Spider Weekend before and it is always good to have a talk about previous events.
No worries, a pint of beer, nice people and close to the parking lot, that's the Spider spirit. Whenever we heard the sound of an Alfa engine, we all kept quiet and listened. But only for a few moments, then we started chatting again. Sometimes we were interrupted by the sound of cast iron, the Morgan Club had a meeting at the same hotel as we, but this did not bother us. Forza Alfa. think that a lot of the Morgan Club were very interested in our Webers and alloy engines, at least some of them spent a while at the parking lot.
The only time we here in Sweden use body language spontaneously is when we flails our arms to drive away wasps from pour summer picnics. Sometimes we fend off a mosquito in the forest. But, to a true Alfista, you salute and wave your hand and flash the beams when you meet another Alfa Romeo. That's the true way of greeting a Spider like we do in Limburg.
Another peculiar Swedish preoccupation is what to do with our hands. At dinner table we normally use the popular habit of twirling the stem of a wineglass or like some hold a cigarette. Since smoking is not a habit of mine and drinking has gone out of fashion. Oh, how I miss my removable steering wheel.
Conference junkies in Sweden are often sent away to public speaking seminars partly to learn what to do with the limbs. Crossing one's arm is out, considered to be too defensive. So is standing with arms akimbo, too aggressive or concealing one's hands in trouser pockets, too suggestive. Those of us who finally get the picture accompany our discourse with incongruous contortions more often seen in Indonesian dances.
This is one of the good things that comes hand in hand with the Limburg meetings. I miss my steering wheel but learn quite a lot of other habits and cultures.
This is the road block on Sunday. We all needed a brake and as soon as one Spider stopped in front of a café, soon the rest of us dropped by. And yes, of course we sat so we could enjoy the view of the Spiders. Wouldn't you? Another thing, when we started to drive on Saturday morning, we were driving behind a driving school car. The pupil and teacher in the VW Golf sure made big eyes when we overtook them, it was like a string of pearls, in this case Alfa Romeo Spiders in all various colors. I am sure they were very thrilled and envious by the sighting.
It is mandatory with some culture at our meetings. This time we all went to a wine yard to learn all and everything about Dutch wines. Remember the photo of Jaan Spaan sleeping under the umbrella? Now was the time to use it. Suddenly, the sky was open and those of us who had the top down turned most active and occupied. It was a real mess and we all ran across to get some shelter for the thunder and rain. When they let us into the wine cellar, we all looked like wet cats.
We stayed inside the cellar and made thoughts about the bottles and the wine. We were also thought how to hold the glass when drinking a good wine. It was a hard choice for the drivers, drink wine or drive, but I am sure that the Spider beat the wine.