Poland and return by Barchetta – a marathon

Chris Rocker from Bournemouth has recently returned from a โ€œmarathonโ€ car run to Poland which he obviously loved.  Despite this trip Chris joined us only a little while later for our international meeting.  He and his car seem to have passed the endurance test. Thanks for sharing your experience Chris.

Martin Garrad


Why a marathon?

Well it went like this…. I crossed the channel with Yellow Bird from Poole to Cherbourg with my boys who were cycling down through France. Our plan a good night’s sleep then depart in our different directions, well we had not counted on the world’s loudest snorer next to us so when we came off the ferry we were rather sleep deprived, oh and it was wet!

So my plan was to drive to Metz, then Prague then up into Poland to see my partner who had flown over to spend time and do some legal stuff with her family. So off I set via Paris, now dry and sunny and headed east. The going was good and the miles rolled by, I could see Metz was going to be easy and if I could manage Prague in one day then I would have a lovely whole day there. So to aid my thoughts I booked a hotel room in Prague, so now I had to do it. 

Yellow Bird was purring the kilometres away so I just kept going and going, seventy five to eighty mph, hour after hour. Germany and unrestricted speeds were very interesting, seeing cars coming up behind at double my speed certainly kept me focused when pulling into the fast lane!  Things move so quickly, I was even passed by a horse box and horses doing well over 90mph!!!!!

Finally after thirteen hours with stops only for fuel and 925 miles later I arrived at a lovely hotel in Prague. Great underground car park to keep her safe was worth the extortionate ยฃ20 per night.  Spent a great day in Prague and loved it, boy was it busy but being on my own I managed to weave my way between all the guides with umbrellas leading their little groups hither and thither.

Next day a slow drive north to Wroclaw in Poland, should have stuck to my plan of small roads through the hills, instead flogged along an old slow main road with village after village all at 30mph.  

Poland was great, I really like the country and touring around, driving was easy and as long as I stayed clear of trams all was good. I really enjoyed creating a stir with my exotic car. The yellow really stood out in a mass of more ordinary colours. 

We then visited castles, palaces, lovely towns and the largest POW camp in Europe. The “low light” being the mass grave of 40,000 Russians either executed, starved to death or just worked to death. Their conditions were truly brutal and the death toll shows this.  The British prisoners, although they had to work, (against the Geneva Convention) had a much easier time.

Overall loved Poland, the people, the food and everything.

So then it was time to return, left at 09:30 with the Shuttle booked for 18:30 the next day. I just kept driving and driving, again stopping only for fuel with Yellow Bird purring along I saw no need to stop. I had a flexi ticket (great service and well worth the money) I knew I could catch the shuttle whenever I wanted and that is exactly what I did, checked in at 22:30 the same day and after a wait for the next train, closed motorway in Kent and road-works everywhere,  I arrived home 19 hours and 1,035 miles later. 

Surely this must be a one day record for a B? Certainly was a record for me in any car. 

Total mileage in all 2,535 and absolutely trouble free, she used no oil and the oil was still clear. All I need to do now is recover from a very burnt forehead as apart from the first few miles from Cherbourg it was all top down joy.

So a trip round 6 countries in Europe? the answer has to be the truly brilliant Fiat Barchetta!!!!