The Opel and the MINIs

Beastmaster and Peanut Adventures

Le Tour de Pyrenees 2009

The Plan

A European MINI Adventure organised by Chris and Jax and below is how they promoted their trip. It definitely worked for us, as we are booked up and raring to go and have been since early January. We will update this page with photos and stories from the trip once we have done it.

Drive first, sightsee later… Fri 5th June to Sun 22nd June. Welcome to Le Tour de Pyrenees 2009.

We hope this trip will provide you with some good mini drives, fantastic scenery, fine cuisine and most importantly some great company along the way.
There is no set plan for each day, but hopefully we can take in as much of the area as possible with a balanced mix of sightseeing, exploring, photography, eating and drinking.

Setting Expectations

We will spend a lot of time driving in a loose group on the journey there and back. Please be aware that there is no fixed route and no fixed leader.
If you fall behind don’t expect the whole group to wait for you.
If you want to go faster or slower or take a different route just do it.
If you have to stop for petrol or a break don’t expect the whole group to stop with you
We appreciate that this is your holiday and if you do not wish to come along on certain days, or go off in smaller groups to do your own thing that is fine too.

The Runners and Riders

Chris and Jax (The Red Baron and Joe Cool)
Ady and Chrissie (Beastmaster and Peanut)
Ray and Gail (RVW and Storm)
Andy and Nat (PAA100)

Fri 5th – Overnight crossing from Portsmouth to La Harve

The Ferry
Option 1:
LD Lines Portsmouth to Le Havre Friday 5th June 23.00 hrs overnight crossing

Option 2:
LD Lines Dover to Bologne Saturday 6th June 07.00 hrs morning crossing
Sat 6th – Le Mans

The Hotel ... stination/
A few of you have stopped here before as part of Jaffa's Le Mans trip last year. By popular demand it was suggested that we stop here again!
Despite attempts to book earlier in the year, they now seem open for bookings with plenty of rooms available

Sun 7th – Ile-de-Re

La Flotte-en-Ré is a small village with an attractive port on the northern coast of Ile-de-Ré, overlooking the beaches of the Vendée region. 
The Hotel
The hotel and its restaurant, Le M, have been renovated and they boast a new atmosphere in a new decor. Located opposite Rivedoux's harbour, the Hôtel De La Marée offers panoramic views over the Isle of Ré Bridge.

Mon 8th - Fri 12th Saint-Savin
The Hotel ... ge_uk.html

This is going to be our residence in the Pyrenees for the next five days. Apparently the hotel and resaturant are run by an English couple. We have emailed them and received confirmation that they have plenty of rooms available for the week.
Seeing as the pound is now worthless against the euro and we are all experiencing the credit crunch we were thinking of taking the half board option. This would work out at 96 euros per couple per night.

Sat 13th – Carcassonne

Carcassonne is found in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. It is certainly one of the finest, and most interesting, towns in the region, if not in the whole of France.
The main Cite is a fortress town, with double walls and strong fortifications surrounding the perfect medieval town.

The Hotel
Quite a modern looking hotel but situated only 200 meters form the medieval city of Carcassonne. We had a look through several booking sites and it seems there are plenty of rooms available at the present time.

Sun 14th to Thurs 18th - Port Grimaud & Saint-Tropez

Port Grimaud is part of Grimaud. It is located four miles south-west of Saint-Tropez. This seaside town was created by architect François Spoerry in the 1960s based around the marshes of the river Giscle on the bay of Saint Tropez. Built in a Venetian style, the mainly traffic free town is popular with boat owners as most properties come with their own berth.

The Yotel

Fri 19th – Overnight stop at Annecy

The Hotel
Hotel Beauregard has 45 rooms with, most of them have got a panoramic view of the lake and the mountains. Some have a balcony or a terrace. We have emailed the hotel and got confirmation of at least 5 double rooms available for this date.

Plan B Hotel if the Beauregard remains fully booked :wink:

Sat 20th - Overnight stop at Metz

The Hotel
Jax and I have stopped at this hotel before. Situated in the heart of the city with garage parking. Again plenty of rooms available!
This evening we're hoping to book into the famous local restaurant, Le Bouche a Oreille.
Say CHEESE everyone!

Sun 21st – Ferry home, Calais to Dover

Route Map

The Photos

Invasion Report - reproduced with the approval and courtesy of Scream51

On the 6th June 1944, the Allies invaded Europe with the D-Day landings in Normandy. On the 6th June 2009, a MINI force was sent once more to  invade Europe. Beachheads were established at Le Havre, Dunkirk, Boulogne and Santander.

This is the story of the force from Santander...

"We were sent a dispatch that a mini convoy was heading into danger in occupied France, intelligence suggested that they were only surviving on sea slugs, and the locals were taking advantage trying to extract 98 Euros per bottle of wine. It was only a matter of time before capture and the dreaded Le Yotel camp...

Known for it's mosquitoes, tight Speedos in the swimming pool area and no naked flames, without a bucket of water being thrown at you, we decided to help in anyway we could.

Our plan was to catch a fast boat to Spain and help the convoy achieve it’s mission, unfortunately the boat hit a gale force storms and we were delayed. On landing in Spain we made our way into the Pyrenees but due to the short notice, our equipment was unchecked and showing warning signs that maybe it wasn't up to the job. Still we pressed on, high into the mountains taking in spectacular views and the highest waterfall in Europe.

We found the convoy at a local watering hole in the French town of St Savin, where the local resistance had been feeding them well. The following day the team was mounting a daring raid on the local town of Lourdes, to capture it tacky souvenirs and take a few reconnaissance photos.

route and by next morning put their plan into action. Shortly after the aerial bombardment started and I was hit on several occasions, although I did overhear the codenames Pigeon and Magpie during the attack.

In the confusion the remaining group made a break for it, and we made it as far as the pedaloes on Lac de St Croix before being returned to camp. However, the next day was to be more successful as we managed our own escape to Monte Carlo, still carrying my air raid wounds, and after stepping in a fresh igloo, my disguise was almost complete. An orange moustache, made from dried icelolly was enough to blag our way into a hotel on the harbour side.

From there we were to make our way over the Alps into Italy via Col d Brouis, Col de Tende, back into France over Col Agnel, Col d izoard, Italy again via Col de Montgenevre, and France via Col du Mt Cenis, Col de l’iseran, to regroup 12hrs latter at Annecy. The Germany motorbike search teams were unable to match our speed and we were first to arrive.

However, the following day we unfortunately made a wrong turn and found ourselves separated from the main group and in Switzerland where we headed north along the shore of Lake Geneva. It’s then we decided to make a run for it through Germany back across the border to Metz. We managed to shave 15 mins off our scheduled arrival time in 30 mins by shadowing a Commandant in his Porsche through Germany. Another spot of tiffin was in order whilst hiding from a german patrol boat on the river Rhein. This delayed our arrival in Metz, where the remainder of the group had narrowly avoided an ambush at the local cheese restaurant, which had been left gutted in the attack.

Finally, we had a boat waiting to travel back to blighty and a dash through Luxembourg and Belgium was all that now stood in our way. However, we were to find this simple journey fraught with danger; chased in the first part, we were then spotted by the dreaded Gatso. Later, vehicles littered our path and only quick reactions avoided our untimely demise, as we were witness to two Belgium resistance vehicles, who bought it directly in front of our position.

On reaching Calais we managed to get further supplies to aid our journey home, waiting in the poppy fields to the east of Boulogne Sur Mer, we caught sight of our boat; all that remained was to pass the border patrol and we were home free. However, news had got out of our escape and the border was almost at a standstill, luckily though we managed to get through.

We landed back in blighty at 1700hrs and were home for 2300 hrs where another spot of tiffin was in order.

A special mention should be made to Lieutenant-colonel Chris Keighley aka The Red Baron and Major General Joe Cool for planning such a daring raid deep in enemy territory. Captain RVW and Private Storm for travelling so far on so little, Lieutenant PAA100 & Special Agent Nat for courage under fire (or bucket of water), Lieutenant Beastmaster and 2nd Lieutenant Peanut for making it up Puerto de Serrablo and their defiance at Spanish tapas waiters. And finally Private Pixie, who suffered so much yet never wavered - her linguistic skills were top notch.

I submit my reconnaissance photos for your review.

Major Scream" ... 2e07c0fc76 ... b27475b1e2