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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My new (sort of) cabrio was iching for a roadtrip. It turned out that I have to do some work in Berlin (Germany) and Szczecin (Poland) in the middle of my holiday. I live in Espoo (Finland) so this would form a nice roadtrip that I could also partially invoice on my job. The woman living in my house wanted to join so we took this as our joint 100 years birthday trip.

Before the trip I did all kinds of preparations;
  1. Got paperwork and insurance greencard
  2. Fixed more leg room for passenger
  3. Clipped my nails
  4. Updated maps (to latest Feb 2019 maps)
  5. Bought Connected Services for the navigation (for 88,36 EUR!!!)
  6. Reserved hotels for my working dates in Berlin and Szczecin. Otherwise we will book based on feeling and weather map.
I know one can hammer it from Tallinn to Berlin in two overnights but with a wife and will to sight see we booked five nights for the trip down.

Pic of us waiting to board the ship in Helsinki:


This story in Finnish and with all larger images under https://luupilotti.blogspot.com/2019/07/itameren-ympariajo-fiat-124-spider.html
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Espoo to Riga

The boat from Helsinki (next to Espoo) to Tallinn takes about two hours. Our first day trip looks like this:


First day drive was from Tallinn (capital of Estonia) to Riga (capital of Latvia). The drive is only about four hours if you don't stop. On the way we stopped at Pärnu to eat and have some sightseeing.

The Via Baltica road (that goes through Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) was in super good condition.

The Here maps navigation in Spider was working ok but honestly there is very little to navigate on this stretch. The speedlimits on navigator were sometimes off from actual limits but other than that it was ok.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Riga (Latvia) to Vilnius (capital ot Lithuania)

Before taking off from Riga we had more sightseeing and lunch.




Again the roads turned out to be perfect and local roadmanners good. The traffic flows generally +10 to +15kmh above the speed limits but all slow down on traffic cameras. There are plenty of those in all of these countries, must be a good business, eh?

I had motorcycling experiences on roads and traffic culture from last century and early 2000, and in those days the roads were from bad to horrible and traffic culture felt downright lethal. Poland being worst of all but also Baltics a bit hairy. Now I must say those days are far gone.

For weather this was our second topless day. And on the highway the Spider is the king, bypassing is a joy.

We also had one false positive tire pressure alarm. I have had few of those in Finland, thus in the ~half year as daily car this feels a bit much. Was not feeling good about this but luckily there we no more of these after this.

I could not trust the speed limits indicated by the Here Maps, they were too often totally wrong. Also, at Vilnius the Here navigation failed us by steering to what felt like a totally wrong direction (and it was), and then later asking us to turn to a one way street, the wrong way. We had Android phone with Google Maps as failsafe and it worked just fine. Turned out this is just the beginning of Here fails...

I had to back up a narrow corridor in the hotel in Vilnius old town gates. When leaving a crowd of tourists applauded at me for clearing a narrow passage. Days of the hero!
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Vilnius (Lithuania) to Gdansk (Poland)

The third day of driving we had no other plan but to hit next day the Malbork castle and for that reason head towards that general direction. Only during the day it turned out that we can actually reach Gdansk for the night. This was about 570 km (350 miles) day and weather was getting hot, about +25 to +30c (77 to 86F).



Most of the way in Lithuania was motorway and we concluded, that true 120kmh (75mph) that is set as 124kmh in the cruise control is maximum comfortable long haul speed top down. On higher speeds the noise gets to you if you do it for, lets say hour or more.



On Polish side of the border we moved from motorways to smaller roads. Turned out those are the best roads in Europe; All brand new, super good condition and highway culture and driving code has cleaned up tremendously. No more three trucks side by side coming at you while bypassing a donkey! Nope. All normal clean expectable traffic!

We stopped in Suwalki, Poland for a lunch. If you ever go there don't miss the U Alika tatar restaurant. It is really easy to dismiss by looks but the food was super good (and cheap).



In Poland the Here Maps and Connected Services gave a total fit. It steered us for roads that did not exist, it indicated that we drive in a forrest, it gave us traffic and roadwork warnings while there was no traffic or road works, the speed limits were totally off etc. It also gave us a full hour longer drive estimations than Google Maps on an Android phone. All this with the paid connected services. I felt like totally cheated and would like to demand my money back. We lost any trust on the built in navigation and started following the Google Maps that was up-to-date, had the correct traffic and road work data and was accurate on estimating remaining drive time to five minutes already several hours before destination.





While I was praising all the good traffic further above on the motorway before Gdansk we spoted one big fender bender on oncoming lane, we were bypassed by two smoke machine cars leaving such a heavy black cloud that I had to slow down to see, and at worst there was a suicidal small black car that was radically leaking diesel oil covering my Spider all over. Thank god we had the top up at that time. For this last incident I needed to find a car wash...
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Gdansk (Poland) to Poznan (Poland)

The day started with a frantic car wash search. I needed a brushless wash, self wash or a hand wash car-spa service. None could be located, or all that were open were already busy. But we had an interesting sightseeing around the Gdansk and e.g docs:


We left Gdansk disappointed and in diesel smelly car and headed to Malbork castle. It is the largest mideaval brick castle and if you are ever around don't miss it. The audio tour in the castle takes from two to three hours.



The day turned out to be a hot one. When leaving Malbork the car outside temp indicated +41c that in reality is +39c (102 Fahrenheit). We had yet another topless day with air conditioning pushing cold at our toes!



After Malbork there was the only 10km (6 miles) of the original horrible Polish roads as I remembered them (or motorway as police once told me in '90s). Also this road was now under construction so on my next visit it will also be gone.



The heat evaporated all diesel fumes and by late afternoon we could no longer smell it. But the car was dirty and covered in insects. I used the traditional biker trick to get rid of insects on my windscreen; Cover window with paper, soak it wet with soap water, wait (refuell, pay, eat and ince cream), collect paper off and all insects are gone.

By this time we also hardly bothered tapping in the car navigation as it was more difficult to use than a phone and if we did that, it gave us pretty sporadic navigation advices that were ok, or randomly totally off. Too bad the built in USB port is not giving enough of power to keep up the phone display the whole day....

Poznan turned out to be a vibrant student town. The night was good +35c (95F) and local fashion was accordingly adjusted to mere shoestrings and fishnets. Very nice. Food was good, too.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Poznan (Poland) to Berlin (Germany)



I set the navigation to avoid motorways so that we could stick on those smaller, tastier roads. The small highways in Europe go through towns and villages. They have frequent low speed limits due to this, but you get much better sensation of local life by using the smaller roads, stopping time to time if you see something nice (and if you have the time).

The first thing I saw when leaving Poznan was a self service car was!!! With just a few Szlotys I could was my heart out on Spider!



This day turned out to be the hottest day on the road. The roadside temp meters were off the scale and some indicating +41c (105 Fahrenheit) for air and +58c (136 Fahrenheit) for road surface. We could last in this top down for three hours by drinking 1,5 litres (0,4 gallons) of water each, but then had to give up and put the top up and air condition on full cold.

Just before Berlin I drove in to a gatso that flashed on me. I was doing maybe about 60kmh in a 50kmh speed limit zone. Waiting to see if I ever get a ticket snailmailed to Finland, I heard they do that...



At Berlin we realized, that the hotel we pre-booked did not have an air conditioning... Bummer. That meant three showers to get through the night. Good news was that the day of our arrival was the last day of the heat wave, the next few days the temps dropped to be reasonable.

This is when I checked my oil consumption on Spider the first time. Turned out there was no visible consumption at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Berlin (Germany) to Szczecin (Poland)

After few days of work (and wifey shopping) we headed back to Poland. Much of the way is motorway and in Germany that means also sections without any speed limits. It was going to be a top up test drive day.



Turns out my Spider gets to top speed effortlessly and fast. Could not measure acceleration as there was other traffic. At over 180kmh (112mph) speeds one would love to have a spoiler wing for better stability. The top speed on speedometer is over 220kmh and on GPS actual top speed is 211kmh (131mph). The RPM was about 5500 and I felt there is reserve, but Lusso is limited.

It was on moderate hills (not flat) and moderate curved motorway (not straight) with over +25c (77F) temp. I could not record the consumption but we did top speed for several kilometers and could do fast driving (100+mph) for about 40km (25m). I can tell you that I started from Berlin with excess of fuel and indicated remaining distance, and I had to stop in Szczecin for petrol. So it was slurping it faster than ever.



At those speeds you need to focus on other drivers really carefully. Even though you have the right of way on left lane many drivers don't use their mirrors enough. I topped it only when we had no traffic, and slowed down to about 160kmh (100mph) when bypassing someone. Even with this there was a van about to kill us, but I found a hole to brake in to.

Wind noise with top up in speeds above 160kmh (100mph) is very loud, if you have to do longer periods it is not comfortable. And you cannot really do very long periods as you will run out of fuel.

After the speeding I checked the engine fluids again. No visible changes.

Hotel in Szczecin:
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Szczecin (Poland) to Faxe (Denmark)

I had few more working days in Szczecin while my wife was shopping and sightseeing. The last eve we had arguments should we go back east (almost the way we came south) or west (through Germany, Denmark and Sweden) thus around the Baltic sea. The round-the-sea route won due to better antique flea market opprtunities (don't ask).

We started from Szczecin (Poland) by heading to Peenemunde (Germany).



Peenemunde was my choice for historical value (home and origin of all rocket technology, V1 and V2 development site etc) and the fact that I may not be around this neighborhood on my own car for a while. If you are interested in military and technology history this is your destination. Or really fine sand beaches by Baltic sea.

While driving there we tried to figure out which ferry to take to Denmark or Sweden. As a conclusion I'd state that the usability in information provided by all ferry companies failed. We took the safe and known route with boat every two hours from Rostock (Germany) to Gedser (Denmark).

Here are few random pics from Denmark:











...and finally, our B&B in Faxe Ladeplats (Denmark) that my co-driver found in the magical world of Internet while driving at that general direction:
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Faxe (Denmark) to Trelleborg (Sweden)

This was a Saturday morning and Saturdays are the days of flea and antique markets. My significant partner had scouted her destination in Copenhagen so we had an early morning to hit the markets in time.

After Baltics and Germany the speed limits in Denmark feel <ahem> very very safety oriented. That was frustrating.



It was a semi rainy (top up), semi shiny (top down) day. On the outdoor venues there was some action, but not really much. So we headed to indoors locations. To my total horror she found two antique, glass lamps one foot diameter each that 'we' just had to have. The joys of traveling with... you know.

So we headed to local post to send some laundry, extra shoes and earlier purchases on snailmail back home. Lets see if they will ever arrive. Anyway this operation cleared enough space so that we could fit those wonderfully precious (and expensive) lamps on the trunk. It made using of the trunk little more difficult as nothing could be removed or added without carefully removing those expensive and fragile (darn) lamps.

After shopping and packing magic we headed to Öresund bridge. First there is a long tunnel and then there is one of the largest and longest bridges in the world. Then you hit Sweden.





On Swedish side we run in to a huge rain fall, so much that the traffic on motorway slowed down to crawling. And after that it was bright blue sky (note the bridge on background):


We tried to find a night venue in Falsterbo but all places turned out to be full. So we headed to Trelleborg that should have yet another antique market the next day, Sunday.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Trelleborg (Sweden) to Kalmar (Sweden)

Trelleborg was a disappointment for my wife (nothing purchased) and success for me (nothing purchased). So we headed towards Kalmar. The day turned out to be similar to yesterday, shine and rain mixed in random. Good day for cloud spotting, too.



We started out by following small coastline road towards Ystad. From then on we moved on main roads. On Sweden those often have cable rails on both sides and few miles long passing lanes every few miles.



This reminds me why I hate driving in Sweden. Locals accelerates very slow, often drive well below speed limit (yes I now, that is the intent) and on those highways, when there is a passing lane all of a sudden also the slow ones find a gas pedal. Super annoying. Or it is just me.

Few more pics from this stretch:


Beware of pigs on road:






and our hotel at Kalmar:
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Kalmar to Öland to Södertälje (all in Sweden)



We always had discussed about visiting Öland so this was our opportunity. We went sightseeing around the island for quite some time. While I was sipping some coffee at a farm house terraces my wife bought two full sheep skins that I now had to spell in to the trunk. I took it as an engineering challenge and eventually won. The lid closed and locked, too.

Here are few sceneries from Öland:










The road from Kalmar to North is boring. There is hardly anything on the way and it is all the way that annoying cable guarded road. Speed limits are mostly decent 90kmh (55mph) and 100kmh (62mph), though. To my joy there was almost no other traffic at all, I had the road to myself and my accompaning roadside speed limit cameras almost all the way.

The sightseeing around Öland made this our longest one day trip, both in time and distance, almost 600km (370 miles). We wanted to get close to Stockholm for the next day to have more time on shopping.

Before the trip I was a bit weary on the cup seat on Spider for longer hauls. I am no longer the slim young guy I think I am. But it turned out to be super comfortable, though sometimes hot, also on longer stretches. For example we stopped between Kalmar and Södertälje once for drinks and little walk. I need to do that on my MB, too.

Only this evening we started booking boats to Finland. It turned out to be too late. There was only one expensive option left. Due to stuff back home we did not want to delay for another day, so I booked the pricey boat.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Södertälje to Kappelkskär (all in Sweden)

This turned out to be the coldest and wettest day, all day +13c and drift of raining. This was the only day in the whole trip we did not drive topless (even though I really tried to convince her).



We actually did not go in to Stockholm (it is the second largest city of Finland by population of Finns, local joke) but shopped around it. We were looking to buy a glass terrace for our home (no, not to pack in to trunk but order one) and then went on a big mall north of Stockholm.

While I was not looking (I was having a shave and a hair cut) she bought some glass ware and other stuff that eventually did no longer fit in to the trunk no matter what. So she had to use the spacious leg room in Spider to carry those remaining items home.

On the way to home we stopped at Norrtälje, a picturesque old town. This is where I found this poster:

I think this forum admins should order or print these and send to all members. Just saying.

The boat from Kappelskär (Sweden) to Naantali (Finland) left in the evening, and arrived in the early morning. In between it was dark and quiet.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Naantali to home and Summary

From Naantali harbour it is 167km (about 100 miles) back to home in Espoo. Turku-Helsinki is motorway and speed limit in Finland is 120kmh (75mph). There are no speed cameras on motorway (that I know of).

Our total distance around the Baltic Sea was about 4000km (2485 miles) and we did it in two weeks. We were not in hurry but I would recommend a week more to have more time in major attractions. Our hotels costed from 45 EUR (59USD) to 160 EUR (180 USD) per night.

Couple of observations for Spider on a roadtrip not covered above in earlier posts:

Clima control

The air conditioning needs constant fiddling, and often there is a feeling of draft. It works but it is not as automatic as advertized. Shine, clouds, rain all need tuning on the clima. Unless you drive top down and can close the whole thing.

Navigation and separately annually sold Connected Services

Hate to say it but it feels like a total rip off and hoax cheat charging, at least for this region. I had not noticed this while driving around the capital area of Finland, small area where it sort of works and I know my way around anyway.

Invest this same money on a good phone and a phone holder and use Google Maps over cellular data (that you will need for the connected services anyway).

Fuel consumption

Hey it is a sports car. I did not pay attention on this. Had I done it my driving would have been more civilized but less fun. I assume it was about 7 to 8 litres per 100 km.

Luggage space

After motorcycling for 30 years my wife was super happy about the big space we had. It is about the perspective. Plus no need for rain gear, leathers or helmets. We could fit in amazing amount of stuff in the trunk and still close the lid. For next longer trip I am considering a luggage rack. Also, if you do not have the Bose subwoofer clear room for passanger legs!

Cruise control

Someone in Japan had a usability brain fart by placing the OFF, MODE, SET (-) and RES (+) buttons next to each other and with buttons that feel the same on a finger. Several times (also before this trip) I pushed the wrong button and then had to take my focus off from traffic to fiddle the cruise. I have seen much better usability solutions for this same use case on other cars. I know it can be done better.

Somewhere, while annoyed by this, I remembered this forum discussion about the MX5 AT model flappy pads that should fit in Spider... Was thinking of acquiring some of those and moving the SET and RES functions to the pads, as I have manual trans...

Oh why are the numbers off?

The outside temp meter is slow (takes up to 20min to adapt) and optimistic about temp by 2 to 3c. The cruise control speed setting is off by 3 to 10kmh (depending on speed you are driving). Annoying little things. I heard there may be a software for both issues, though.

Did not spot other Spiders on road

During that round trip we did not spot a single other Spider. We did see few NG MX5 but no Spiders... ;-(

All in all still super happy Spiderian

With those few negative remarks I am still super happy Spider owner and driver.

 

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A brilliant read so far, makes my recent 2,000 mile return trip to Turin (not in the Spider :( ) sound like a trip to the local shops :)
 

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Good trip, but in Poland I stick to motorways, unless I'm heading somewhere when you have to take A or B road. Haven't visited in Spider yet. Driving culture improved in last few years and people don't seem to overtake like crazy.

Regarding cruise control, I also hit wrong buttons or cancelled cruise and I certainly don't have fat fingers. Quite annoying and a lot of fiddling. I noticed that it won't set speed unless my foot is on acceleration pedal. Also some fiddling when resuming and pressing + button. German car makers are better at this.

I'm finishing my euro trip soon and also going to post trip report. All the spiders are in Switzerland and Italy. Spotted 3 on Swiss passes and two by Italian lakes.
 

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Naantali to home and Summary

From Naantali harbour it is 167km (about 100 miles) back to home in Espoo. Turku-Helsinki is motorway and speed limit in Finland is 120kmh (75mph). There are no speed cameras on motorway (that I know of).

Our total distance around the Baltic Sea was about 4000km (2485 miles) and we did it in two weeks. We were not in hurry but I would recommend a week more to have more time in major attractions. Our hotels costed from 45 EUR (59USD) to 160 EUR (180 USD) per night.

Couple of observations for Spider on a roadtrip not covered above in earlier posts:

Clima control

The air conditioning needs constant fiddling, and often there is a feeling of draft. It works but it is not as automatic as advertized. Shine, clouds, rain all need tuning on the clima. Unless you drive top down and can close the whole thing.

Navigation and separately annually sold Connected Services

Hate to say it but it feels like a total rip off and hoax cheat charging, at least for this region. I had not noticed this while driving around the capital area of Finland, small area where it sort of works and I know my way around anyway.

Invest this same money on a good phone and a phone holder and use Google Maps over cellular data (that you will need for the connected services anyway).

Fuel consumption

Hey it is a sports car. I did not pay attention on this. Had I done it my driving would have been more civilized but less fun. I assume it was about 7 to 8 litres per 100 km.

Luggage space

After motorcycling for 30 years my wife was super happy about the big space we had. It is about the perspective. Plus no need for rain gear, leathers or helmets. We could fit in amazing amount of stuff in the trunk and still close the lid. For next longer trip I am considering a luggage rack. Also, if you do not have the Bose subwoofer clear room for passanger legs!

Cruise control

Someone in Japan had a usability brain fart by placing the OFF, MODE, SET (-) and RES (+) buttons next to each other and with buttons that feel the same on a finger. Several times (also before this trip) I pushed the wrong button and then had to take my focus off from traffic to fiddle the cruise. I have seen much better usability solutions for this same use case on other cars. I know it can be done better.

Somewhere, while annoyed by this, I remembered this forum discussion about the MX5 AT model flappy pads that should fit in Spider... Was thinking of acquiring some of those and moving the SET and RES functions to the pads, as I have manual trans...

Oh why are the numbers off?

The outside temp meter is slow (takes up to 20min to adapt) and optimistic about temp by 2 to 3c. The cruise control speed setting is off by 3 to 10kmh (depending on speed you are driving). Annoying little things. I heard there may be a software for both issues, though.

Did not spot other Spiders on road

During that round trip we did not spot a single other Spider. We did see few NG MX5 but no Spiders... ;-(

All in all still super happy Spiderian

With those few negative remarks I am still super happy Spider owner and driver.


Yickes!! I am more tired than you after reading this, lol. fantastic, thanks for sharing. I have one question though,
Is "ust before Berlin I drove in to a gatso that flashed on me " gatso a speed camera?
 

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@Santtu . Excellent photo journal of a fantastic pleasure/business trip. Very well done. I was surprised at the temperatures early in your trip. I wouldn’t expect Northern European temperatures to be that high.

Dan
 

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Yickes!! I am more tired than you after reading this, lol. fantastic, thanks for sharing. I have one question though,
Is "ust before Berlin I drove in to a gatso that flashed on me " gatso a speed camera?
Yes. British vocabulary. And there are certainly some speed cameras around. One when you drive from Poland side, motorways merge before Berlin, and there's speed limit 80 or 100 km/h. Camera flashes even when you go 2 km over speed limit.
 
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