Scariest roads in Europe?

Old Aug 9th, 2008, 03:06 PM
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We still shudder when we recall the drive from Florence to Monterosso. I don't remember the north/south highway number, but it was after we exited it to get to Monterosso (Cinque Terre) that we literally thought we were going to die!

We finally made it there, and my DH asked in every store if there was another way out, surely those big tour buses in the parking area couldn't have made it down the road we had taken.
But no, there was only "one way in, one way out", so we decided to follow behind one of the buses when it left. Of course, it left us behind in the dust very soon, and we were on our own to traverse the blind curves with no shoulder, climbing ever so high above the sea.

The climax came when we were about to round a curve and a huge bus came roaring around the mountain, causing both drivers to come to a halt. The bus driver motioned with his hand for us to back up, and since we were already slipping backwards (straight stick), we tried to abide. It was sheer agony for my husband. We miraculously made it past the bus, past the curves and to the main highway.
When we stopped at the first rest area, I literally had to pry his fingers off the wheel. Now, every time he drives for any period of time, his hands cramp up like claws and he's now deathly afraid of heights.
Needless to say, when we go to Europe now, we ALWAYS take public transportation and avoid the high roads.
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Old Aug 9th, 2008, 03:35 PM
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I'll never forget the "nice yellow and green road" that my husband found on the Michelin map for going from Annecy to Milan via the Grand-St-Bernard pass. At first the road was beautiful, going up through gentle meadows with grazing cows. Gradually the road became steeper, and suddenly we came over the last bend and found ourselves at the top of a valley. The road went down what looked like 10,000 feet to the valley below, and the switchbacks were like those on the Alpe d'Huez.

I have never been so scared in my life, and even my husband, who doesn't mind heights, admitted to a few moments of sheer terror.
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Old Aug 9th, 2008, 05:14 PM
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That road from Rhonda is wide, modern, well-marked and drop-offs have guardrails or rocks - not the tiniest bit scary. (If you thin that's scary you should try the Storm King Highway carved out of cliffs along the Hudson.)

The worst we found was the road (some years ago - it may be better now) from Stresa up into Switzerland. The road is very narrow (buses and trucks are wider than their lane) curving, often has no shoulders and the only thing protecting you from the drop-off (often high) into the lake are some mangy looking shrubs - or in some places driveway reflectors on sticks. (I must admit I spend the entire trip leaning as far as I could into the driver's seat.)
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Old Aug 9th, 2008, 05:49 PM
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Agreeing with BikerScott. Sorrento to Positano with a bus driver who didn't slow down, just hit the horn whenever he approached one of the multitude of hair pin bends!
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Old Aug 9th, 2008, 09:41 PM
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They need to hit the horn because there's no way for a vehicle around the corner to know you're there! My ride was a bit hairy too but so fun
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Old Aug 11th, 2008, 03:03 PM
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Ah yes, the Storm King highway--we went on it at night in a rainstorm after I accidentally slammed the car door on my mother's finger and we had to find an ER (West Point doesn't treat civilians). That too is a scary road, but not nearly as bad as the one I described above.
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Old Aug 11th, 2008, 03:26 PM
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Almost every road that leaves Barga
in Tuscany to reach the hamlets up
in the Apuane Alps.
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Old Aug 12th, 2008, 07:12 AM
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Most roads in Europe don't scare me except one lonely road we took in Croatia. It was a tiny, narrow grid mountain road with sheer drops and no guard rails or anything. It happened to be a logging road and we met a truck and inched to the side - I could swear one of our tires slightly went off the road. Some gravel and rocks fell down the side.

The very worst I've experienced is in the Canadian Rockies (BC). We were on a camping trip and found this tiny lonely mountain road (we are pretty adventurous) so felt compelled to take it. The signs warned "Single lane, two-way traffic, Gravel trucks right of way". We were told that several vehicles had gone over the edge. Of course I was on the side of the mountain with sheer drops the entire 15 km or so. We did meet a truck so we inched backwards (not an easy feat as the road was so incredibly narrow with sharp drops down the mountain on one side and sheer rock on the other. I was practically sitting in my husband's lap the entire way as I wanted to avoid the edge. We were young and brave and perhaps a little stupid!

Driving in Palermo in rush hour isn't my favourite thing in the world to do, either. Funny how red lights are merely a suggestion!
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Old Aug 12th, 2008, 08:31 AM
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Shanti---do they still have the little photo memorials along the side of the road, where a guardrail would be if there were a shoulder to put it on, of Dearly Departeds who apparently didn't make the curve?
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Old Aug 12th, 2008, 08:49 AM
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I wish I could remember the exact name, but the best way I can describe it is the "back way" to the Dingle Penninsula. I know that we left Tralee and just went up and up and up. There were boulders practically blocking the road in places. And while it was scary, it was also absolutely beautiful. Would do it again in a heartbeat.
Old Aug 12th, 2008, 09:07 AM
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"Scariest roads in Europe?"

Any road that has me driving on it.

The only time I even felt a twinge of fear was driving from the Todi area to Spello. The road was only two lanes, but cars (and trucks) were passing going the opposite direction that would have plowed into us had I not taken defensive tactics. I can still see our friend Mary in the rear view mirror saying "Hail Mary's" and covering her eyes.

Needless to say once we reached Spello much vino was consumed by all.

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