From Hanover to Portugal – A Tour with Challenges

by | Apr 12, 2024 | On the Road, Topstory | 0 comments

Hello everyone, and nice of you to stop by our blog (again). Or: Bom dia – how to say good day in Portuguese. Nice of you to drop by the blog. I’m writing from Lousado in the north of Portugal, a good 2500 kilometers away from Hanover. Continental operates a large tire plant here. It’s the next stop on the #ContiEuropeanRoadshow. The past few days have been pretty stressful for me. But it all started so relaxed…


You need nice colleagues…

One thing at a time. After an internal Continental event in Hanover-Stöcken, I made my way south, allowing for a one-day buffer.

As I told you in my last post, this time I’ve also included coffee from a roastery in Hanover. Also a Continental thermos flask and a mug with the horse logo. The coffee was given to me by my colleague Steffi from Continental. “So that you are always reminded of your hometown, even when you’re far away,” she wrote on a post-it note. Cute, isn’t it?

Great gift, great colleague – coffee from Hanover and Continental cup from Steffi. Photo: Ronny Nittmann


It’s better for truck drivers to avoid Paris

I’ve been to France and Spain several times, so I know my way around. The sat nav recommends the route via Cologne, through Belgium and to Paris. But you can get stuck in traffic jams for hours around the French capital. That’s why I prefer to take the route via Frankfurt and Saarbrücken directly to France, then via Reims and Orleans towards the south of France. It’s 170 kilometers further, but often faster and much more relaxed.


In France, “blind spot” stickers are mandatory

Shortly before the border, I take a break in Homburg, refuel and put on the “blind spot” stickers – “angles morts” in French. These stickers, which warn pedestrians and cyclists not to drive in areas that are difficult to see, have been mandatory in France since 2021. I have my doubts as to whether these little warning signs really do any good. But mandatory is mandatory, and of course I don’t want to risk a fine of 135 euros. And if it prevents even one turning accident, it’s a good thing…

Relaxed, I roll on towards the southwest until I find a parking space for the night near Bordeaux. I’m a day ahead of schedule and tomorrow I only have 200 kilometers to the next stopover: Irun in the Spanish Basque Country. A short stop at the BestDrive outlet is planned there. BestDrive is Continental’s retail organization and workshop chain.

This Portuguese truck driver has solved the problem with the “angles morts” warning stickers in France in exactly the same way as I did. Photo: Ronny Nittmann


Challenges in the Spanish Basque Country

Au revoir France, buen dia Spain. It’s jinxed: as soon as we cross the border, the challenges begin. At our stand in Irun, there are immediate problems with the power supply for the show trailer: The connections don’t supply enough power to start up our systems. Our colleagues from BestDrive order an electrician to connect our cable to the main distribution board. That takes time.

Then the next piece of bad news: the door in the side wall of the trailer no longer opens all the way to the top and hangs on one side, the bracket no longer holds the weight. I guess it’s just wear and tear, the show truck already has a few kilometers on the clock. We won’t be able to avoid a workshop appointment…

For many of the invited customers, the journey to Irun is also somewhat different than planned. The Spanish police carry out a large-scale check at the border and flag down many cars. This causes a huge traffic jam and many of the invited guests only reach the BestDrive branch and our show truck in the late afternoon. At least we have our show truck shining again by then and make a great impression.


Workshop visit in Spain and Sunday driving ban in Portugal

But we can’t continue our relaxed journey on Saturday because we first have to make an appointment at a commercial vehicle workshop. It takes four and a half hours – and I’m not really happy with the result. Unfortunately, the temporary repair has left a few flaws…

The flap door to the show trailer is hanging – the challenges begin in Irun in the Spanish Basque Country. Photo: Ronny Nittmann


So I set off late towards Portugal and have to look for a parking space well before the border. Just like in Germany, there is a ban on driving for heavy trucks on Sundays in Portugal, so I can’t drive on to Lousado until Monday morning. At least there’s not much going on on the highway and I see lots of colleagues taking a close look at our truck from their cabs. Conti yellow just stands out…


Finally on narrow roads in Portugal

As soon as I get off the highway, things get really exciting, because the infrastructure is sometimes much smaller than in Germany. Narrow roads, narrow bridges, narrow traffic circles… If you just rely on your satnav with a 40-ton truck, you’re in a mess.

Eventually, however, I arrive at the factory gate in Lousado. After consulting my Portuguese colleagues, I drive straight to a body shop to have the flap door repaired properly. The Portuguese mechanics identify the dampers on the bracket as the problem. But they can’t simply replace them because there are no spare parts. So we won’t be able to get the repair done properly until we get to Hanover.

The damping mechanism on the flap door bracket is screwed up. The specialist workshop in Hanover has to get to work… Photo: Ronny Nittmann


Continental invites customers and guests to Lousado

For now, we are concentrating on the events in Lousado. Our location here on the Continental site is simply perfect. Our little treasure is gleaming in the warm spring sunshine and the guests are very interested in the exhibition. I might even have time to explore the area a bit. The hotel is 20 minutes away, so I get to see a bit of the country and its people on the transfer.

After a week in Portugal, I’m off to Spain – so I’ll be staying in the sunny south.

Until then – and stay on the road,

Your Ronny


Have you ever been on tour in France, Spain or Portugal? What did you experience? Share it in the comments.


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Ronny Nittmann

Ronny Nittmann

On the road – Ronny pilots the show truck at the Continental Roadshow


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