Day 4 – Emilia Romagna 2011

Planner • Traveller • Blogger

Today is to going to be a RED day folks.

As we all know, Italy is renowned for many things; The Piscina’s, Pasta, beautiful men women, and of course Ferrari! As Marranello and Fiorana are just ‘up the road’ from Modena, you could bet your bottom-dollar that we’d pay a visit to such a special place.

The closer we get, the more Ferrari’s we see (as you’d expect). This massively heightens my sense of excitement but none more so than when we can hear over the car audio a thunderous roar which in an instant takes me make to Barcelona this year where we watched the F1 cars. Through the trees you are easily able to catch glimpses of an F1 car hooning around Ferrari’s private test track next to their factory. Maybe it was Alonso? Could it have been Massa? I’ll never know…

Here I am outside one of the many entrance to the Ferrari factory.

Did you know that you can actually visit the factory – on the proviso that you actually own a Ferrari!!! I had read up that they are fairly relentless on their check-ups of a pre-requested factory visit. Basically you can’t just hire a Fezza for the day and expect to walk on in.

There is, however, an official museum next door.

For 13 Euros each it was a no brainer so in we went and oh my, were we to be blown away….

All, please enjoy the batch of photos that follow which I have cut down in quantity as you’d imagine.

The time was roughly 1.00pm, perfect timing to where we were next heading which was a further couple of hours away. Somewhere that was going to again blow Kate’s mind in terms of its calm and natural beauty. I had envisaged a 3.00pm arrival at **** *****.

Any guesses?

However this didn’t exactly go to plan as we arrived more closely to 5.00pm and here is why…

‘You ready?’ – as Beyonce once sang…

Ummmm, we were about to drive a Ferrari!!! Not some old 15 year old bangor either, a Ferrari California.

Bizarrely, this is the car I’m stood in front of in Monaco from Trip Europe 2009 blog. We purchased a drive a Ferrari experience. I don’t mean one of these vouchers you can get back home allowing you 3 laps on a track in excess of £150. We tailored a package to our liking and feel, comparatively; we actually got a good deal.

We paid 130 Euros (115/120 GBP?) for a red /Ferrari California, (roof off!), 20 minutes around the flat, fast roads of Maranello but with a video of the drive included and wait for it, we split the 20 minutes in half. Yes all, Madam drove too. It was hard work getting her to do it which is completely understandable considering a whole host of factors. I am not joking when I say her hand was shaking when she went to signal (indicate) to enter the road.

Fair play Katie, seriously impressive.

Anyway, here is the car itself:

Later on, I momentarily crack-up with laughter when she says,
“Since I’ve known you, I can’t remember how many cars I’ve driven!”.

Anyway, how to describe it? Hmmm…? Fast. And the noise, the noise!!! Cliché but just one of those things which you have to experience to best describe.

Still somewhat stunned, overwhelmed and nauseated by the last couple of hours, we head back in to our family wagon. I instantly feel resentment towards the diesel of doom but after a few minutes, we’re okay with each other and back on talking terms, expect it’s me doing the talking. It just says nothing. (Clearly still livid that I had cheated on it with some chick called ‘California’).

As we approach more mountains, some signs posts give a hint as to where we’re heading…

Lago di Garda (Lake Garda for any confused people). Italy’s largest lake.

It soon becomes apparent, particularly when we’re on the coastal road that this place is something special. I’ve seen many beautiful mountain ranges and lakes in Europe but this surpasses all.

We arrive at our pre-booked destination and after a tour to our room and of the building, we realise we have booked into a very special little place, one that we would definitely recommend for any future visitors of the lake. There is a little light left so we chill for a while in blissful, peaceful surroundings before talking on the evening.

As if this day couldn’t have got any better, we sit by the lake several rounds of sipping cocktails. As you’d imagine, there is no shortage of places to eat and drink.

Time to eat, although still a tiny winy bit tipsy after those sneaky cocktails. We happen to stumble upon a tavern restaurant that leads to an outside dining area. Fast forward a couple of hours and several sea food courses later, I admit to Kate that this is the best dining experience I’ve had. (Okay, joint with an evening on top of the Stratosphere, Las Vegas with the guys in 2010). By best, I don’t just mean the food, the ambiance, the waiters, the wine, the company- it was all superb.

A day that we will individually and collectively never, ever forget.

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