When 32 year old Sarah Caines (now Bayliss) suggests to her fiance (now husband) that they take an extended road trip for their honeymoon, I'm not quite sure she knows what she's getting into.
According to Sarah's new husband Chris (age 35), "Sarah came up with the idea of a drive around Europe and taking an extended break". Chris thinks this sounds grand and says, "yes, as long as the transport is a [Porsche] 911".
The fact that neither Chris or Sarah currently own a Porsche didn't seem to matter one bit
Chris has been looking for a classic Porsche (something from the 70's) but is concerned that something so old might not be properly sorted and lead to "many issues" on such a long, extended trip (a properly sorted one would have held up just fine). Instead, he decides that "a 993 is the perfect combination of classic but reliable, [as his classic Porsche] has to be air-cooled."
Having decided on a 993, Chris kicks up his search efforts and finds the perfect Porsche 993 at No. 5 Garage in Chiswick, West London (while Chris spent a lot of time growing up in the US both he and Sarah are from towns just south west of England and currently live in London). With the silver 1994 993 Carrera now in his possession Chris has some custom decals printed and preventative maintenance performed (belts, oil and filters changed, new N rated Continental tires, brake pads and rotors replaced and a new AC condenser). It is now time to start planning the trip.
Planning a Porsche Camping Trip
When I hear about a couple planning a trip of this length in a Porsche 911 my mind automatically thinks of beautiful hotels, gourmet food, champagne, mountainous vistas, etc. Chris and Sarah think the same, with one small exception. They decide to forgo hotels (at least for the most part) and camp using their newly acquired 993 as their platform.
I ask Chris if either he or Sarah have issues with the idea of spending so much time camping out of such a small space as a Porsche 993, he jokingly responds that he "had to promise Sarah she will be able to bring enough clothes and shoes and that the 993 will take it".
Well, the 993 took it and then some
According to Chris, "Before setting out everyone thought we were mad but at each campsite people have come and commented on how they thought we have our priorities right and they can see the full cooking and sleeping equipment that we have managed to fit in (we even have some of our dive gear, wetsuits etc - no flippers or tanks)."
5000 miles through 12 countries in 7 weeks in a Porsche 993
When I ask Chris how he and Sarah came up with the route for their trip they are already 2500 miles into it; he says, "We have a basic route in mind but are making it up as we go along and have changed it almost every day so far."
They leave London and head for the Eurotunnel into Calais. From there, they drive to Epernay, in the Champagne region of France, where they stay in "the top suite of Villa Eugine for the first night as it seems the right thing to do".
Then they head into Germany's Black forest and make a day trip to the Porsche museum in Stuttgart. After this, it's on to Munich for a few days before heading into Innsbruck, Austria. Leaving Austria they take a two day stopover in Venice before departing for Slovinia and Croatia where they drive the coastal roads (stopping briefly at the Plitvice Lakes National Park) and visit various islands in the Adriatic Sea.
I'm tired just from writing all this, but Chis and Sarah are just getting going. After jumping a ferry to Bari (back in Italy) they travel up the Amalfi coast and then through Rome, Pisa, Luca, Florence and various parts of Tuscany. Jump on another ferry to Sardinia and after a couple of days yet another boat to Corsica.
By now you would think there would be no more ferry's left, but they find one more into Monaco where they drive up to Lake Annecy for a few days and then into central France. Just in case they haven't done enough, they make their final stop at Le Mans before getting the final ferry back to England from Le Havre.
About the only rule that Chris and Sarah follow while on their trip is, "to arrange the next destination the day before and stay longer anywhere we are enjoying a lot", says Chris.
The Porsche performs flawlessly. All in all, given the magnitude and length of their trip, Chris and Sarah's problems are few and far between. Besides a broken wiper from a service station attendant, a minor door ding in Sardinia and a missing espresso maker in Croatia, their biggest potential problem came in Austria but is avoided thanks to mother nature and another generous Porsche owner.
When I ask Chris to explain he says, "a storm came in and the owner of the campsite worried about our car if hail came down so [he] made a space for us next to his Porsche. We saw some cars that had been hit by the hails before and they are unbelievable, more like they had been in a war zone so we where very grateful. As we watched the lighting the storm turned down the next valley and all we got was heavy rain. Woke up to a puddle on top of the tent but stayed bone try inside."
The Honeymoon is Over
With the trip in the books, Chris and Sarah return to normal every day life. Their seven week trip is an incredible way to start their life together. They see places "you wouldn't normally go on vacation when flying to a destination" and learn that "remaining flexible helped [them] avoid problems" (as did a buffer budget for the odd hotel here or there). More importantly, since the visit to the Porsche museum Sarah decided she is getting a 356. I can't wait to see what kind of travels they enjoy in that Porsche!