Life comes together nicely sometimes.
I met our dear FerrariLifer Vitalone (David) - virtually - on this board in 2007. At the time I was looking for my first Ferrari and I had a weakness for the 550 Maranello ever since I saw one in the flesh in 1997. I was working in Africa at the time but I had bought a house in Holland, in my old home town, the year before. David was a South African but living in Holland, having just moved there from Guernsey (one of the channel islands off the coast of France). I bought my nightblue 550 a couple of months later and David and I met IRL soon after.
We immediately recognised each other as people who appreciate things automotive as well as the other finer things in life, and with a common passion for disliking dispassion. Conventional wisdom, as David always calls it, is for the grey masses. Life is about learning from other people and keeping curious. Thus I was introduced to Porsche through his passion for that brand, and I learnt a lot from his previous experience with Ferraris in South Africa, where his dad had a 365 GT2+2, and he himself owned a 246 Dino and 512BB. I like South Africans - I've lived in their country for many years and I understand them well. Even David, although he does try and make it as difficult as possible to understand him on occasion.
Fast forward a lot of years, and a lot of Ferrari trips (some of which with other FerrariLife friends and some not), and in the meantime I have moved to Jersey, right next to where David used to live in Guernsey. David has become a Netherlands passport holder, moved to Bratislava as soon as he got it (cheeky!), but recently got a job offer in Jersey.
In September 2012 he bought a beautiful blue 550 Maranello - after his drives in my car he realised how well the car's philosophy fit with his own wants. A car that combined the best driving experiences of the past with the best technology to rocket out of the Millenium at 200mph... I've always found it great that my car was delivered in 2000. It's funny, BTW, that I was aware of Vitalone's 550 even before I owned my own - it is a famous car in Holland and has been photographed often.
So when David mentioned he was moving to Jersey using his 200mph delivery van, it was like the previous years all aligned to combine into a great road trip. My brother and I left from our home village to go visit our great friend and Ferrari specialist Alex Jansen, where both Vitalone and I acquired our 550's. After shooting the breeze for a couple of hours, we hit the road, Tubi's rumbling, on the way to France.
I've always seen my 550 as, what the English call, a Q-car. No idea what it means, but I do know what it stands for: a low-key fast machine, that people don't really notice. But this weekend, we got looks everywhere we went. I think most people do a double-take when they see a second blue 550 pass after they've just seen the first one!
We stayed over at a chateau somewhere in the neighbourhood of Amiens. A real rural village, where nothing happens. Just farmers and alcoholics (that's us). Since there was only 1 bar and only 1 place to eat (pretty dismal steak, we have to say), we were immediately identified as the owners of the two Ferraris. In my poor French I managed to raise enough credit for them to give us free wine and beer. I think one of us was elected mayor at the end of the evening, but it is difficult to remember if that was true, nor who it was.... What I do remember was the horrible blue neon light in the bar - what were they thinking???
The next morning we left fairly early, nursing mild hangovers, but although the forecast was for dismal rain all day we managed to have pretty lovely weather. The reason for the early departure was that I wanted to take some photo's of the Mont St. Michel with the 550's in the background. Unfortunately that didn't prove too easy but we did find a spot and I think the results are pretty good.
Then it was off to St. Malo for the obligatory (in this part of Normandy) moules marinières et frites
(mussles in white wine sauce with fries) and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. The ferry crossing to Jersey was in lovely weather but the ferry staff was rather unhelpful and I only narrowly avoided damage to my car. Not too impressive...
But we arrived safely, and so here we are - two Blue Birds with clipped wings, captive on too-small an island with a 40mph speed limit, but satisfied after a phenomenal drive through 4 countries. I thought it was a great trip, if far too short, and a great way to relive the memories of the past 6 years. May we have many more together, and may you enjoy Jersey my friend - bring on 2014!
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