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Old 16th March 2011, 19:07   #1
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Cool 1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France

Hello All,

This is my first travelogue on TBHP and I hope I fulfill your expectations.
the purpose of the trip was to experience France with varied climatic conditions and also to drive on RHD roads. We penned down two destinations.
- Andorra
- Narbonne & Perpignan

These places are not too far from where I am staying (Toulouse, France) and being a LHD driver, I didn't want to drive too far and indulge into extra adventure.

About the places, Andorra is a very small country sandwiched between France and Spain. It has more of a Spanish culture and is a very popular skiing destination in Europe. Rest can be read at Andorra. Narbonne and Perpignan are beautiful cities situated on the south-eastern coast of France with the Mediterranean Sea.

The plan was to start early at 6am on Saturday 12th Mar from Toulouse and reach Andorra by 10am. Roam around, shop, skii, play in the snow and come back to Toulouse on the same day. Andorra is also a tax-haven like Switzerland and also famous for duty free goods. This can make your shopping experience more mesmerizing. We avoided overnight stay in Andorra and yes, the cost of staying in Andorra was lot more than the fuel+toll expenses of coming back to Toulouse.

Here is the map:
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We rented a car from a popular company SixT, and we were alloted Ford Fiesta MkVI with 1.25L DuraTec 82ps engine. Since we were going to snowy region, we hired snow chains that costed a lot when compared to car rental charges. The car rent was 80 and snow chains for 25!!! But, snowchains are really essential to have a safe drive with black snow on the road. Another important equipment required was the GPS. More on the usefulness of GPS later. The petrol (Sans Plomb 95) cost is ~1.6 per liter. Some extra euros for car insurance and with the total charges of 132, we got the vehicle for the entire weekend to travel across the length and breadth of France.

Before starting the journey, I had theory classes from my French colleague and he asked me to keep one thing in mind. At a round-about, go from the right (counter-clockwise) and look at your left. Vehicle coming from left should be given priority. Other thing I kept in mind was to maintain right side after taking turns. So, I programmed my mind to think as if I am driving on the wrong side in India

We collected the vehicle on 11th Mar, Friday evening and now starts the fun. I was behind the steering on left and was about to get on the roads during the rush hours of Toulouse traffic. Toulouse is an industrial hub of France and features lot many narrow roads in the city center The traffic jams are nasty here and can eat up lot of time. So, the new driver should be totally aware of the rules and lane discipline. I set the GPS to go to the hotel and came out of the parking. After that, It was a constant struggle to understand different legends marked on the road. After several re-routing done by the GPS, we somehow managed to reach the hotel without any incidences but got honks at several occasions. The traffic is really quite here and getting a honk means I have pi**ed off the drivers behind me.

Next day morning, I checked the weather report and forecast was of heavy snow in the mountains. We started at around 6:30am and GPS helped a lot to get out of Toulouse and hit the motorway.

to be continued...
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Old 17th March 2011, 02:16   #2
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Default Re: 1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France

instead of writing essays, let the pictures speak thousands words.

just at the climb to andorra. the front and rear defogger was constantly "on" as the outside temperature was around 0degC. The a/c in the car kept warm inside, so the snow will melt after falling on windshield.
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-a1.jpg

views while driving:
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-a2.jpg
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-a3.jpg

This was the place where snow became unbearable and other travellers had stopped to put on the snow chains. we also started putting them on. there was initial struggle to find english instructions in the owners manual. Since this was the first experience with the snow chains, it took 0.5hrs to put them.
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-a4.jpg

while we were putting the chains, the car was getting frozen.
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-a5.jpg

work in progress:
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-a6.jpg

just a pose?
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-a7.jpg
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-a8.jpg

car geared up to take the slippery road ahead:
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-a9.jpg

since, everybody was stopping and putting the snowchain, huge traffic built up. this ate a lot of time. we travelled 180km in around 2hrs and then these remaining 30kms took 4hrs!!!
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-a10.jpg
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-a12.jpg
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-a13.jpg

some random shots:
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-a14.jpg
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-a15.jpg
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-a17.jpg

Altitude (height above sea level in meters)
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-a20.jpg

1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-a21.jpg
Attached Thumbnails
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-a11.jpg  

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Old 17th March 2011, 13:28   #3
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Default Re: 1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France

Fabulous pics! Keep posting.

Did you find any difference in the tyre sound/ road noise after putting those snow chains on? Was handling affected?

Do post some more pics of the car and also a review---it is the new model that is coming to India soon., and would benefit a lot of us.
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Old 17th March 2011, 13:52   #4
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Default Re: 1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France

Superb Pics, Awesome Casio, Lovely Fiesta. I love this travelogue.

Keep up updated.

Rated: 5 Stars
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Old 17th March 2011, 14:13   #5
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Default Re: 1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France

Awesome stuff!

By the way, How did you find the snow chains in the car? Did you look it up in the car manual or something?
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Old 17th March 2011, 15:48   #6
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Default Re: 1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France

Fantastic. Yup, the snow-chains are must. We once rented without it, and regretted a lot. Unfortunately, it was a smart car and hence the person renting it out below the hills was also not having. So, we parked the car in a garage and took a bus :(

Keep it going. Should have been a great fun to drive on those "white" roads
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Old 17th March 2011, 15:51   #7
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Default Re: 1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France

Thanks all for the good response and appreciation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
Did you find any difference in the tyre sound/ road noise after putting those snow chains on? Was handling affected?
I was observing other drivers who didn't have snow-chains and the car was not at all responding to the driver's commands. With the weight of vehicles, the snow will form a layer of ice on the road and you have a super slippery surface. I could see the front wheels alignment and car movement not agreeing with each other. And also the braking was really bad for them. typical speed was around 20kmph in which ABS won't kick in and their car was skidding.

Dont know how, but SUVs of BMWs and AUDIs managed to cross this stretch with ease without any external aide like snow-chain!!

Snow chains are to be put on the powered wheels. On the buses, chains were on the rear wheel. Don't know about 4WDs. I would put it on front wheels for improved handling. or may be they don't need it. 4x4 experts may comments on this.

On my car, after putting on the snow-chains, the handling improved a lot. I could really feel grip on the road, improved steering and braking with vehicle still in control. The ride comfort and noise did not deteriorate much on the snowy patch.
But I know, you would want to remove the snow chains as soon as the road is normal. First thing is that one can not go at higher speed or else it would burst the tires. Secondly, the tires will make noise, steering will feel rigid and the loads of extra traction will demand more torque/power from the engine.

Please give me some time to write the review on car and driving experience. I will have to do it once I reach my apartment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by planet_rocker View Post
Superb Pics, Awesome Casio, Lovely Fiesta. I love this travelogue.
Rated: 5 Stars
Yup, my protrek has helped me many times to find my way while trekking in unknown forests. It has got compass, barometer, temperature sensor and altitude meter. It also helps in predicting bad weather for next few hours.

And also, this type of pic is one of my personal favourite. I do it at every place I go.

Quote:
Originally Posted by misguidedmisile View Post
Awesome stuff!

By the way, How did you find the snow chains in the car? Did you look it up in the car manual or something?
Snow chain is not a standard accessory along with the car. We had to rent it separately. others buy it.
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Old 18th March 2011, 04:03   #8
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Default Re: 1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France

Adding more pictures:
very heavy defogging required. if you notice, the defogger vents are only of the width of the audio system.
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-a1.jpg

I took very few pictures of the car. because "maine is car ko us najar se dekha nahi". Here is one of them:
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-a2.jpg

For the Hyundai fans, spotted an i30:
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-a3.jpg

cars covered in snow, wonder how they will come out:
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-a4.jpg
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-a5.jpg
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-a7.jpg
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-a8.jpg

random shots:
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-a6.jpg
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-a9.jpg
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-a10.jpg
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Old 22nd March 2011, 12:56   #9
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Default Re: 1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France

Yoohoo Unicorn_120---why the lull? Please update this thread!!!
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Old 26th March 2011, 01:11   #10
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Default Day 2, replan and drive to western coast

continued...

After having a fun filled experience of skiing and driving in the snow, we headed back to Toulouse. While we were in Andorra, it snowed heavily the whole day and the the main motorway was closed. We had to take a detour and get onto toll-free roads. It was fun to enjoy beautiful countryside on these narrower roads.

Next day, we checked the weather in Narbonne and Perpignan. But to our bad luck, it was predicted rain entire day. we thought of cancelling the long ride and go to a nearby castle in Carcossone. But then suddenly my friend suggested going to western coast where weather was predicted to be clear the entire day. we quickly searched for nice beaches and found a city called "Bayonne" which has a beautiful coast line in "Biarittz". But the to and fro distance was more than 600kms. For a moment, we thought, should we really go this far. but then, the petrolhead inside me got excited and we started for Bayonne the very next moment.
Here is location on map:
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I was pretty confident in driving today and was cruising on the motorways. I drove on the speed limit of 130kmph throughout and covered this distance in exactly 3hrs 9kept a track of time during a detour) as suggested by Google maps. Some pictures.

Yes! I am not speeding, I am following speed limit:
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-b1.jpg
ok, may be a little exceedance while overtaking:
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-b2.jpg
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-b4.jpg

In between, we took a detour and decided to get into some village to refuel our car. After a bit of struggle at the self operated fuel station, we somehow managed to get the tank full. we took some time to roam in this village.
some pictures.

Serenity defined:
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-b5.jpg
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-b6.jpg
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-b7.jpg
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Old 26th March 2011, 04:31   #11
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Default Re: 1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France

long road ahead:
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-b21.jpg
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-b22.jpg
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-b23.jpg

glimpses of Bayonne:
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-b24.jpg
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-b26.jpg
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-b27.jpg
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-b28.jpg

spotted a Porsche carrera 911
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-b40.jpg
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-b41.jpg

Atlantic ocean and surfers:
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-b25.jpg
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-b8.jpg
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-b9.jpg
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-b10.jpg
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-b11.jpg
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-b12.jpg
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-b13.jpg
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-b14.jpg
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-b15.jpg

Somebody injured:
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-b16.jpg

glimpses of biarritz:
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-b17.jpg
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-b18.jpg
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-b19.jpg
1000km, 2days, Ford Fiesta, across France-b20.jpg
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