The real challenge for coach and driver, however, follows on the last seven kilometres up to the Sil riverbank, where the passengers climb onto a catamaran at the jetty to enjoy the view of the steep hillsides of the Sil gorge and the 2,000-year-old terraced vineyards from the water.
The landscape becomes increasingly steep and full of bends. The LU-903 snakes through the vineyards descending more than 400 metres in altitude. A road sign warns: up to nine per cent gradient. Only a knee-high wall separates the coach from the abyss to the right of the road. The countless bends are tight and offer no view ahead. The dark clouds and wisps of damp mist, which rise from the terraced vineyards today, reinforce the drama of this bizarre landscape, whilst our coach rolls further down the gorge bend after bend. Chauffeur Angel has driven this route many times already. “You have to know the road precisely,” he says. On the narrow roads and on the bends, which barely leave room for the 12.30-metre-long coach, it is a matter of trusting the driver’s skills as well as the coach’s brake and chassis technology.