Trip to Yugoslavia in a One-Litre Metro.
The British Leyland Austin Metro was a roomier
more refined relative of the Mini. Introduced in 1980 and made for eleven
years with a production total of 1.5 million, with a one litre or 1.3 litre
engine and transmission it shared with the Mini.
The aim was a two-week holiday with one
week in the middle spent at rest in Porec on the coast of Istra on the
Adriatic. This was in the summer of 1982.The route was across the English
Channel by ferry Belgium then overnight in Liege. The trip to Liege went
smoothly, but getting to the hotel the Holiday Inn, was not without difficulty.
The hotel was on an island that didn't seem to have a road on to it, as
we circled the hotel in vain. Finally we found the way in and at the hotel
met the others on the same tour. They were surprised at us undertaking
the journey with three people in such a small car.
The next stage of the trip was to Munich
for our overnight stop, which was again trouble free. The final day required
us to drive from Germany across the Austrian Tyrol to northern Italy via
the Tauern tunnel. Then to enter Yugoslavia at a border post near Trieste.
Apart from getting a bit lost in southern Austria the day went well, although
finding the Yugoslav border post wasn't helped by the Italians reluctance
to signpost the way. The entry into Yugoslavia was a bit nerve racking,
remember this was in cold war times. The border guards looked very severe.
From the border it was a relatively short run to Porec over indifferent
roads. Needless to say the car ran perfectly all the way.
As to the stay in Yugoslavia the least said
the better. We had runs in the car exploring the coast and countryside.
At one time passing a bullock cart making its way along the road.
We made our way back via Venice, which was
a revelation after Yugoslavia, staying a day and exploring a little of
the city. After that it was up through Italy and over the Alps into Switzerland
via the St Gotthard Pass. The motorway was still under construction and
looked very spectacular.
After a stop overnight near Luzern we made
our way to Basle and into France. Crossing the Vosges region on the way
to the coast, then the ferry back to England. The car didn't falter, the
scenery was magnificent and we arrived home with a list of places to visit
in the future, but not Yugoslavia.
A couple of "MG" versions of the Metro were
produced, both with the 1.3 litre engine, one with a high compression engine
and the other turbo charged. At a later date I owned one of the former
and used it for eight years with a few trips to Germany, but that's another