At leisure

Today we were at leisure each doing what they wanted to do
Geoff and Roz visited a local market



Judy & I went to the Cité du Vin in Bordeaux only opened since 1st June.


It is very impressive and interactive with lots of videos etc


Even smellovision


Finished off with a glass of wine in the belvedere at the top of the museum



Then in the evening our last night dinner.
Speeches from Val


And Mogens, with his rendition of ‘My Way’


Bev looking worried that he has not booked the Grand Gathering


And finally some piano playing from Mogens- is there no end to his talents?


A fond farewell to those who are going separate ways in the morning as we make our way back home. Particular thanks to Val, Colin and Julie for their organisation helping to make a great holiday.

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Returning to England


Sunday 3 July

The train arrived on time to a much cooler Holland. Unloading much quicker than Italy

Lined up at the station

The sharp eyed among you may spot a black Morgan in the line- how did that kit car get there? On the train were Richard and Candice in their Austin Healey who had also travelled down with us, so we adopted them as temporary honorary Pantherists we got on so well (we were also trying to persuade them to get a Panther as well!) and they were in the middle of our convoy to the Hook of Holland. The North Sea was like a millpond, we had one last lunch together then the rigours of the trip caught up with some of us:

A nap after lunch

We arrived on time at 8pm, this time no breathalysers off the ship! I had a 220 mile drive to Stockport and arrived home at 1am a little tired. It was a great trip, thanks to all that came along, particularly Val and Steve for organising it and the excellent Hotel Miramonti and Villa Rosa. Where next year?

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What a send off!

Saturday 2 July Back to the station

We left the hotel about 10.30 to set off back to the motorail station. 

Leaving Rota

It seemed like the whole village had come out to wave us off, (ok they were probably there anyway) and we had a police escort,

Following the police escort

who kept shooing other cars away to maintain our convoy,

Holding up the traffic for us

then stopped all the traffic at the difficult junction back onto the main road to wave us through! It was absolutely wonderful the way so many waved and cheered, felt really special and the perfect send off. Perhaps the policeman just wanted to make sure we did leave…

Anyway a quick flog down the autostrada, just before our turn off for the railway, 3 cars carried on to Genoa to catch the ferry to Barcelona.

Back to the station

The train is much quieter on the way back, I think many people catch the train down then drive home- and not many Italians want to go to Holland!

Long train

Good dinner on the train as we travelled into Switzerland. 2 extra locomotives were added to haul the train up the mountains.

Up in the mountains


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Trip to Lake Como

Friday 1 July

Trip to Lake Como

We set off for Lake Como:

3 cars just filled up waiting for the others

 Then the others came down the hill

Panthers down the hill

Shortly after we set off, I heard a clattering which was my horn falling off! Fortunately Sue & John following picked it up (and Mogen’s hat that had blown off!).  Super mountain hairpin bend drive up to a pass.

Panthers at the top of the pass

Then down to Lake Como. Drove up the side of the lake to Varenna.

From the ferry out over the lake

A different view of the lake, out over the mountains

 Filled the ferry:

On the ferry

The ferry went to Bellagio which is a beautiful little town. Lunch then back down the west side of Lake Como to Rota d’Imagina.

Road down side of Lake Como

More examples of crazy Italian driving on the way- overtaking in tunnels, a motorcyclist riding single handed who then hit a pothole and we thought would end up under our wheels until he recovered it etc. But all arrived back unscathed, well physically anyway.  I found that my horn still worked, albeit somewhat battered, so lashed it up to somewhere near the engine using cable ties and a piece of old 2 core mains cable that Phil found in his car.

Cava among the Panthers

We had some speeches in the car park toasted with Cava. 

Mogens speech

Mogens gave a good speech, as always.  Part way through dinner, we heard Elwyn was coming so had a reception group waiting for him and his rebuilt car!


Elwyn's return


It turned out the garage could not get any replacement valves, but there was a retired valve expert nearby, who straightened them out- amazing in this day and age.  And everything else that could have caused the cam belt to break was replaced, such as the water pump. Surprisingly for the first time we had all 12 cars in one place

12 Panthers together

Then a team photo:

Team Panther Italia

Val had awards at dinner, everyone got something, be it a teddy or a badge.  The team spirit on this trip has been really good, everyone has helped each other

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Day at leisure in the villages

Thursday 30 June

Balcony view over valley

Sunny day but hot, around 30 degrees. Impressive view from my balcony.

Panthers in the car park

Quiet day today, no driving for most of us, we just walked an hour downhill to the nearby town where they had a market. 

Kay leading the way

7 of us decided to walk back up the hill, which was hard work, the rest were picked up by the hotel minibus. 

Mogens serving cherries

The hotel has a spa and supplies hooded towelling coats.

Monks of the grand order of Panthers

So here are the monks of the Panther Car Club, ready to worship. Then into the swimming pool/ spa for the afternoon and see how many more buttons there were in the swimming pool, it seems to have about 5 different Jacuzzi sections in it.

So the only Panther related thing was car cleaning following last night’s thunderstorm which has left dust residue on the cars from the rain exciting eh?

Lets all do the car wash

Steve was still in his robe for car washing:

Steves version of car washing, Irene inspecting

After dinner we had cheese tasting- 6 different cheeses- we live the high life….

The cheeseman demonstrating his wares

And the cheese tasters:

Say "Cheese"

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Desenzano to the mountains

Wednesday 29 June

Left Desenzano to drive up to Rota d’Imagina which is in the mountains near Bergamo. Unfortunately Elwyn’s car is not ready yet, the garage have not got the replacement bent valves, so he joined us in a hire car. One of Clive’s replacement  coils has ended up in Leipzig, so he has made do with the secondhand one from the garage which seems to be working ok. Clive found out at the last minute about the replacement, so instead of travelling separately later on he decided to set off with the rest of the group- which meant packing very quickly.  Half of us set off following John, although there was a sharp turning he took after a tunnel, and the rest of us missed-

Lost outside the tunnel

here deciding what to do next. Then the rest of the group passed us, ie we all went wrong except John.

In the tunnels one of our group, who shall be nameless, said, “These tunnnells arr a bit darrrk” so her husband said, “Why don’t you take your sunglasses off then?” Ah, good idea…

Pleasant snack lunch in Lovere, John & Sue caught up with us. 

By the lake in Lovere
Some decided to have a paddle in the lake.

Irene & Sue paddling in the lake

Then we drove up to Rota d’Imagina.  Went up this winding pass which was good fun but the cars (and drivers) were getting quite hot which was very tiring. 
Resting at the top

Mobile phoine mast disguised as a tree

The tree on the left is actually a mobile phone mast

Occasional shade on the run down
Eventually arrived in Rota, the hotel is very friendly and family run.  Has impressive views over the valley which I will post when it’s a bit less hazy. It has an unusual swimming pool- an inside and outside section, separated by a sliding electric door
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Lake Garda, Day at leisure


Tuesday 28 June

We are staying in the Villa Rosa Hotel in Desenzano on Lake Garda which is impressive all round. 

Hotel View

One of the little things is that it has an orange juice machine at breakfast- what this does is to take whole oranges in the top, then squeezes them to produce fresh orange- but all the mechanism is open, has to be seen, especially for a geek like me. (Although the waiter is not so impressed about the amount of cleaning it needs)

Overall a quiet day today, everyone going off and doing their own thing.  In my case I just decided to wander round Desenzano, big market on today.

Desenzano Market

  Did go for a swim in Lake Garda not too bad, but then retreated to the swimming pool

Some went to Verona by train to see the sights there.

Johann Annette being romantic in the tomb

Johann was getting carried away with Annette with the romance of the location.  

Irene & Steve

Looks like Irene’s proposing to Steve, who wants to take a picture.

Italian buffet in the evening for everyone which was sort of a ‘halfway last night dinner’-

Clive's speech

Clive gave a speech in appreciation of the team spirit in the club which was nice and our chairman Val was ever ready with a response including instructions on the time to be ready tomorrow- ‘Yes, Val’ (don’t argue…).

And update on the car repairs- Clive found it is his coil, he has a secondhand one on and 2 others being dispatched (belt & braces), while Elwyn’s car has been promised for Wednesday which for the repair of 2 bent valves is pretty good to be dropped on them at short notice. So hopefully by tomorrow evening we will be back to full strength. Oh and John filled up with petrol…

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