This last week I've been planning my itinerary for my upcoming trip to Africa which got me reminiscing about the greatest travel tradition of all – the humble road trip. Road trips of course aren't merely about the destination. Their appeal, as is often noted, lies in the journey itself. For me it's the people you meet, the dinky little one-horse towns you stay in and the experiences you have along the way which makes them so memorable. So as I prepare to hit the road again I thought I'd share a few of my all time favourite journeys (all tried and tested of course!):
Route 66, USA
Route 66 is arguably the most famous highway in the world. No other stretch of asphalt has been eulogised so frequently and fervently by movies, songs, books and television shows. In fact, Route 66 has been mentioned in so many songs it’s earned the nicknamed the 'Rock 'n Roll Highway'. Starting in Chicago in Illinois, America’s 'Mother Road' crosses the country through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona before ending at the beaches of Santa Monica in Los Angeles, California.
Trans-Fagarasan Highway, Romania
Said to be one of the highest roads in Europe, the Trans-Fagarasan Highway charges up and over the crest of Romania's Fagaras Mountains. Climbing up to 2000m, the dizzying road twists and turns its way between the jagged peaks of the country's highest mountains - the Moldoveanu (2,543m) and Negoiu (2,535m) - and passes through its longest tunnel (887m). If that’s not enough, you also can stop at the castle of Vlad the Impaler, the revered prince from the Middle Ages who inspired Bram Stoker's Dracula.
Great Ocean Road, Australia
Recognised as one of the world’s most scenic drives, the Great Ocean Road hugs the rugged south-eastern coast of Victoria. Starting in Torquay, it stretches westward past the windswept limestone pillars of the Twelve Apostles, to the historic seafaring village of Warrnambool. Built as a memorial to the 'Diggers' of World War I, the rough-hewn road winds along cliff tops, up breathtaking headlands, down to the edge of beaches, across river estuaries and through lush rainforests offering panoramic views at every turn.
Route 62, South Africa
I have to admit I have a real soft spot for this road trip. Often overlooked by motorists who tear up South Africa's N2, Route 62 is a stunning inland alternative to the much-hyped coastal Garden Route. Showcasing some of the country's most magnificent scenery, the road, starting just outside Cape Town and running to Port Elizabeth, meanders through scenic spa towns, past vineyards and fruit farms and over breathtaking mountain passes. It's also reputedly the longest wine route in the world with 69 wine farms dotting its path...I'll drink to that!