31 January 2011

La Turbie

La Turbie
The village of La Turbie is one of those places which you only visit if you happen to be passing through it. Positioned on the high road just east of Monaco, it is a lovely little village with a rich Roman history.

In our part of the country La Turbie is never out of the news however, as when the single-lane road heading down into Monaco is closed because of the volume of vehicles, all the motorway traffic is routed through the village, hence it makes the radio traffic bulletins  seemingly on a daily basis!

I had to go to La Turbie twice last week, firstly, to negotiate the purchase (successful I’m pleased to say) of a car I quite liked the look of and secondly on the Friday, to pick the car up and bring it home, which was an adventure in itself given that its brakes were shot!

On the day I was to view the car I got to La Turbie an hour early. Sitting on a very slow moving motorway beside Nice Airport, an overhead gantry sign said I would be in La Turbie in 15 minutes which was scarcely believable. ‘They’ve got this one wrong’, I said but 15 minutes later I was parking in the village!

With an hour to spend, I walked around looking at it’s small area of shops and restaurants, the views down to Cap Ferrat and the quaint alleyways, most of which led up to La TropheĆ© des Alpes which was constructed in 5BC in honour of the emperor Augustus to commemorate the conquest of the Alps and the submission of 44 Ligurian tribes during Augustus' campaigns in 25, 16 and 15 BC.  An inscription dedicates the ‘temple’ to the son of Ceasar thus:


The picture to the left shows the building as it was when it was constructed some 2,016 years ago. The picture above shows it as it is today.

But that’s enough of La Turbie, now the car.

Even since Guy and Kitty have outgrown the miniscule rear compartment in the Alfa, I’ve been looking for a 4-seater convertible. I’d always fancied a BMW, an Audi or a Saab and it was the other evening when I spotted an advert for a 1996 BMW 328i convertible (yes – in Angloinfo) that my pulse started racing. Despite being almost 15 years old, having 90,000 miles on the clock and having a few bashes and scrapes, I was sold – or rather it was. And when I test drove it and put my foot on the throttle rather too firmly and the car shot off (with Cindy its owner and her two young kids covering their eyes), I was determined to have it.

A quick negotiation, a shake of the hands and it was mine. A gleaming (parts of it!) BMW which is so quick it frightens me. Cindy, informed me that she’d already had a call that morning from a guy who was prepared to drive over with his cheque book and pay her the full price on the spot, so the fact that I got a decent reduction can only be put down to the fact that her kids loved the ‘scary’ ride I gave them!

It’ll be off the road for a few weeks whilst I completely replace the braking system (hubs and all) but then it’ll be ready for the spring and summer months. I can’t wait.

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