This post first appeared on Sharing Travel Experiences just before this year’s Sucata Split. As August and this year’s Sucata Run are approaching, I thought it was worth a repost here to try and encourage more teams to register.
The 2010 Sucata Run registration form is here.
Bank holiday weekends are traditionally opportunities to get away and take a break from normal life. If I told you there was a reasonably cheap way you could use your bank holiday weekend to see some of best cities in Europe, meet some great people and raise a stack of cash for charity you might give it a second thought?
Over the last couple of years I’ve been lucky enough to do this twice. The educational charity Gemin-i.org organise two events each year that make the best possible use of a bank holiday weekend. Sucata Split in May and Sucata Run in August are charity banger rallies across Europe that require to you get a car from less that £250 get sponsored to make it to the finish.
The organises also help out arranging cheap hostel accomodation along the routes so each run can be done with a relatively small budget.
Below are a selection of images from the two excellent weekends I spent in our much beloved bangers. You can read a full account of both runs on the team blog.
Sucata Run are still accepting new teams for this year. See if this can tempt you. ( Sucata Split next May ).
August Bank Holiday – Sucata Run
This time we’re heading as far west as you can go on mainland Europe, leaving Rouen, taking in France and Spain and heading for Cabo da Roca.
Like Bruges, Rouen is a gorgeous place to start and to scare the locals with your team fancy dress. Not compulsory, but well worth it! The must see is the spectacular Notre Dame cathedral and would definitely recommend a meal in one of the many restauraunts in the Place du Vieux Marché with a view of the modern church of Saint Joan of Arc.
Leaving Rouen, you head for La Rochelle. If you’re even a fraction of a petrol head you might not want to miss out on a spin along with Mulsanne straight at Le Mans in a 20 year old Volvo. There is very little to match it! A large part of the circuit is public road so you can wake yourself up riding the curbs of the chicanes.
You end the day on the Atlantic in the lovely port of La Rochelle. Restaurants and bars surround the historic old harbour and form the base for a fine soiree. It’s advisable to make a decision on who is driving first in the morning early in the evening!
Heading south, you can stop for spectacular lunch in Bordeaux and end the day in the Basque town on San Sebastian. Its old town has a myriad of small streets and bars where you can enjoy the local pinchos. Each bar is very small and the locals move between bars in a constantly circulating promenade.
I can think of very little to rival a Saturday night in Salamanca. Just spend the whole night in the spectacular Plaza Mayor. You won’t be disappointed. The locals don’t really get going until midnight when you will see families out eating their main meals. If you arrive early enough, also worth seeing the cathedral, you get a great view of the whole city from the roof and you can even sit in on the regular flow of weddings.
On the last day of the Sucata Run you head into Portugal, skirt Lisbon and end up and Cabo da Roca, the most westerly point on the European mainland. To get over the exertions, you can relax the next day on the beach at Cascais watch other people be energetic while you relax with a beer.
May Bank Holiday – Sucata Split
The first run of the year takes you from the beautiful city of Bruges, via Strasbourg and Munich to finish in the lovely Croatian city of Split.
Bruges is an excellent start to any trans-European adventure. Its gorgeous historic centre is World Heritage Site and is a must for chocolate and beer lovers alike. You meet your fellow competitors here the night before departure. Well worth arriving early the day before you can take in some of the sights of Bruges. Climbing the clock tower is recommded, but tiring.
The first day’s driving takes you across Luxembourg and down to Strasbourg on the German border. Again, another beautiful city that succeeds in mixes the best of French and German culture. Take some time to get down to the canals and waterways and enjoy the Alsatian cuisines. The cathedral is also very impressive and well worth a look.
The next day’s run gets you down to Munich. There is a direct route but we took the opportunity to visit an amazing six countries in one day : lunch in 30 degree heat in the financial centre of Liechtenstein and hour later being high in the Alps in deep snow on the Flüela Pass. If you get luckier than we did, you can also route over Stelvio. Our ancient old Citroen coped very well with it all! You end the days run with a blast up the unlimited autobahn into Munich.
Your reward for your long day driving is the excellent Hofbräuhaus in Munich. All the teams meet up at the end of each day to share their adventures and the wide expanses of the Hofbräuhaus are ideal for this. The large amounts of beer and sausage on offer don’t do any harm either. Worth spending some time to explore Munich the next morning, it’s historic centre and market are ideal for a peaceful stroll to work off the rigours of the night before.
Leaving Germany, you then head south east toward Slovenia and the next night in Ljubljana. The highlight of this day is certainly to spend as long as you can relaxing by the shores of the spectacular Lake Bled. Llubjana at night is very busy with lots of bars and nightlife.
The finish line is by the Adriatic in the lovely old Croatian town of Split. You can go straight down to the beach and into the sea before heading for a well deserved finish line drink in the old town. Built on what remains of the Roman Emperor Diocletian’s palace, the old town’s narrow streets have plenty of atmosphere.
Depending on how you decide to go home, you can also spend the day after, like we did, enjoying the particular delights of Dubrovnik. Fitting to end where we started in a World Heritage site. Stroll up and down the Stradun before sitting outside a bar chilling in the warm Adriatic air.
And with that you head home, amazed at how much you crammed into a single long weekend!
There you have it. Two weekends, great cities, great places, great people. Have you signed up yet?