Clementine's Garage
Clementine the Cat
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Yellow R4
Réparateur d'automobiles

GTL from Portugal

Day 4 - Varenna to Venice

So we set off on a elatively short 3.5 hour drive, slipstreaming juggernauts on the Autostrada so we could maximise our time at our destination.

At a fuel stop near Verona I noticed a different tyre had lost pressure. Another one? Tried to reinflate it using the garage air line, but this prompted a massive leak from the tyre valve - doh.

No choice but to jack it up and put the spare on - my first wheel change in the wild with this car. The pump attendant kindly insisted on helping -


Now I had checked the pressure of the spare before the trip, which was fine. However it came with the car and I hadn’t taken it out of its cradle before. In the Italian sunlight I could now see how ancient and glossy hard it was :doh:

We drove very gingerly indeed to the nearest tyre shop, where we waited for them to re-open after lunch... then had a new inner tube fitted to the flat tyre -


Inner tube? I thought all car tyres were tubeless but seems I missed something.,,

We arrived in Venice at 4pm and left João at the most expected parking yet.

What to show your partner of Venice in one evening? We took a Vaporetto down the Grand Canal passing under the Rialto, dumped bags at our hotel in Dorsoduro, then walked to S Maria de la Salute -




Then headed to Piazza San Marco, did a brief walking tour, then (my treat) flopped down at Cafe Florian for chilled rose and live music :D



Venice had certainly lost none of its magic, and was blessedly un-crowded this early in the season. If only we had longer - but we had a boat to catch in the morning...

Best wishes, Simon.
Day 5 & 6 - Venice to Athens

Hello @angel - yes it was great to meet, promise I’ll get to that bit soon :)

Day 5 was the start of the second phase of our trip, with less driving and a lot of sitting on boats!

The voyage to Patras on a large and mostly-empty Anek Lines cruise ferry took a pleasant 32 hours. Nothing to do except eat, drink, check out the billiard-table flat Adriatic, and watch TV in our cabin.

More trucks than cars in this route

Safely tucked up well below the waterline

Under way

Plain sailing

Onboard catering was hearty and reasonably-priced :)

The only hitch was that the boat left Venice nearly four hours late, so instead of 9pm we disembarked at 1am - with a 3.5 hour drive through the night to Athens.

The highway from Patras was however great and (barring a few trucks) completely empty. Nevertheless we were frazzled when we dropped into bed at 5am.

2am fuel stop, no one around but at least open!

Best wishes, Simon.
Day 7 - Athens to the Greek Islands

So we had one afternoon to spend in Athens before boarding our teatime ferry at Piraeus. It was a little more eventful than we planned.

We know the city well, so had no tourist agenda, but had an important rendezvous we'd set up ahead of time to meet a certain @angel well known to this forum :)

Arriving back at the car with our cases it was immediately obvious that the first tyre which had lost pressure, all the way back in Switzerland, was half flat again :doh:

So we limped to a tyre shop a few blocks away. By this point I was really wishing I'd just bitten the bullet and replaced the whole set the car came with back in London, but (spare tyre excepted) they did at least look in good condition and with plenty of tread, even if they were a budget brand. Another leaking inner tube was diagnosed and replaced for a reasonable 15 Euros, and we continued our journey.

Another day, another tyre shop

Then, in dense Saturday afternoon downtown traffic, Joao suddenly cut out again, as he had at the Gotthard Tunnel. This time I couldn't get him restarted. Oops.

We phoned Angel to see if he knew who we could ask to help get us going again, so we could at least make our ferry. Minutes later Angel himself arrived, on a lovely classic Honda C90, with a rucksack full of tools and parts. Minutes after that he'd diagnosed fuel pump failure, then set about grafting an electric fuel pump he'd brought into the system to get the car running again :clapping:

We then followed him back to his workshop for a bit of further fettling, and to meet his R4 for a photo as originally planned...

Angel's Bat Cave, full of interesting stuff including his delightful R4 with oxblood vinyl interior and lots of interesting bits


Sadly by the time this was all done we were already out of time, so had to make early goodbyes and head off for the ferry port. I can't express enough our gratitude to Angel for getting our wheels turning again, so we could finish our adventure with no major disruption.

At least goodbye was au revoir, not adieu: Joao will definitely be making a return trip soon, and we're looking forward to getting to know Angel better when he does :D

With no further hitches we made the port of Piraeus in good time for our sailing, and joined the throng of vehicles waiting to embark -


(last pics to follow, my phone has stopped talking to my PC...)
Day 8 - arrival in Rhodes

Journey’s end: after a sound sleep we rolled off the ferry in the town of Rhodes mid morning. Our last drive was a mere ten minutes to our apartment where, amazingly, there was a parking space right outside our building :D

Unloading the kitchen sink we brought from Athens

Joao, meet your new home

The trip had taken us 7 days, 3 hours. We’d driven just over 1,000 miles, and I was delighted to discover João had returned a journey average of 51mpg!

Two days later we did the reverse - by air - in 3.5 hours. Not the same deal at all...

Best wishes, Simon.
Hello all,

I haven't been around much lately and have some catching up to do. Meanwhile, as I'm sat at my work PC...

After a long summer of doing other things, I finally got to visit Rhodes last week - and have an emotional reunion with Joao, whom I hadn't seen since Easter :D

A local friend has kindly been keeping him off the street and under cover at a lock-up, to which he took me on arrival at the island...


The same friend couldn't bear the sight of Joao's goat scoop, and had arranged to have him fixed by his daughter's boyfriend's motor repair workshop. They did a great job - pulling/ beating the damaged panels 95% straight before repainting the whole front of the car up to the A-pillars. Sorry, I have no process pics of this!

The colour match is spot-on and the shine puts the rest of the car to shame. Just a faint memory of goat in the slightly wavy front panel - perfect :laughing:

After this Joao accompanied us pottering round doing normal stuff on a Greek island - buying watermelon from the melon man...


Visiting friends...


Getting stuff for the beach...


And of course trips to the beach...


During the week we made a few small tweaks, tracking a loose bulb connection, adjusting door striker plates, and finding the source of a pesky rattle in the boot.

As always the car got a lot of attention from passerby, with various waves, toots, questions and selfies :)


Laarbeek The Netherlands
Good to see other classic cars still driving, and in my opinion the retro models of the original classics are not it!
I hope they never make a retro out of the R4.